WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for director Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprising, in theaters now.
Legendary Entertainment redefined monster movies with debut of Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim back in 2013, unleashing a tale that saw mankind utilize giant robots called Jaegers to fight off massive, monstrous aliens known as Kaiju. It was just a year later when Legendary would add another intriguing prospect to the mix via a totally separate, unrelated franchise -- a reignited MonsterVerse.
The MonsterVerse kicked off with Gareth Edwards' Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island (2017). And despite Pacific Rim being a story set way in the future, fans have clamored to see both universes collide, for humans to fight cinema's most iconic monsters instead of inter-dimensional Kaiju. Well, this hope has been reignited once more with Pacific Rim Uprising director Steven S. DeKnight confirming that the possibility of a crossover does indeed exist.
“Look, I think it would be fantastic to have the Pacific Rim universe join Legendary’s Monster Universe, it seems like a natural step," DeKnight said. "And part of the big overall plan after the third movie we’ve talked about is that could happen, it’s always a possibility. It’s by far not a certainty; it’s merely theoretical at this point, but as a fan myself, I would love to see that happen." Given the note that Uprising ends on, this may well be the best direction to head in for a couple reasons.
Firstly, from a business standpoint, it just makes sense. Legendary would be merging two popular cinematic universes, basically doubling up in terms of brand-building. While Uprising hasn't set the box office afire (yet, anyway), it has had a pretty solid opening, dethroning the record-breaking Black Panther in its fifth week of release. (And yes, that's quite a feat considering the Marvel film has been demolishing recourses left and right.) This proves that fans are still into the Pacific Rim franchise, and connecting it directly to the MonsterVerse should, in theory, provide Legendary with a formula to capitalize (and monetize) on both fan bases.
Simply put, if Legendary wants more bank from Pacific Rim movies, the injection of characters like Godzilla and Kong, is the perfect way to virtually guarantee it. Legendary take a note from how Marvel Studios stitched the Marvel Cinematic Universe together, meshing together properties from various superhero genres and, most importantly, from different eras.
From a narrative standpoint, uniting with the MonsterVerse would help the evolution of the Pacific Rim storyline. Uprising ends with the humans proactively looking to invade the Anteverse (the home of the Kaiju and their overlords, Precursors) in order to prevent further invasions. It's safe to assume that the humans will triumph in the threequel, but what happens afterwards? Pitting humanity against those same aliens a fourth time would be boring, but things could be spiced up if they somehow found themselves facing Earth's most famous Kaiju.
The Pan Pacific Defense Corps and its Rangers will need new monsters to fight, and what better than new spins on the likes of Godzilla and Kong -- but this time, in the future. Legendary already has Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) lined up, so rather than risk monster-on-monster fatigue, why not go back to basics and have them fight humans again?
It's a win-win for both universes, especially with Pacific Rim's humans weaponized on a next level. After all, Jaegers are a whole new ballgame compared to old-school machinery like tanks, helicopters, missiles and bombs. Even if Legendary wants to maintain the current modus operandi with the monsters protecting mankind, there's also Pacific Rim technology allowing soldiers to 'drift' and mind-meld with them, which could make the concept of monsters as allies even more intriguing.
If a third Pacific Rim film hits screens by 2020 or 2021, the release of a fourth chapter would sync up perfectly with the MonsterVerse's film slate (which can easily incorporate a time jump). Let's be honest, we've seen these popular monsters fighting in the past and present so many times, it's about time we get them throwing down in the future. Netflix recently showed how this could be done via the Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters animated movie so a template already exists for Legendary to look at in order to give the Jaegers some much-needed competition when they're done with the Anteverse and its Precursors.
In theaters now, director Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprising stars John Boyega, Rinko Kikuchi, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Adria Arjona, Karan Brar, Ivanna Sakhno, Zhang Jin, Zhu Zhu, Burn Gorman and Charlie Day.