The scattered forces of humanity and the invading kaiju scourge haven't been sitting on their laurels since the conclusion of Pacific Rim. According to Pacific Rim Uprising star John Boyega, both sides have been hard at work ironing out the kinks in their respective weaknesses.
And weaknesses there were. The Jaegers (mankind's mechanical saviors) in the first film were slow and cumbersome, and the alien invaders' master plan wasn't so masterful (they were nuked using their own interdimensional wormhole). Over the course of the film, both sides rose to meet the challenges set forth by the other, with humanity barely edging out a victory in the end. It sounds like that tradition of slow escalation will resurface in the sequel.
According to Boyega's recent interview with IGN:
"As you know, Pacific Rim 1 ended with Stacker Pentecost [played by Idris Elba] dying, and Raleigh [played by Charlie Hunnam] dying as well, and they feel like they've closed the Breach, but unfortunately the enemy has grown more intelligent and has other ways of doing things, and we are met with a rogue character."
Boyega went on to explain that his character will be returning to Pan Pacific Defense Corps as the prodigal son to Pentecost, but that the rules of engagement between human and the kaiju's masters will have changed in some way. While the aliens first laid siege to humanity through a wormhole in the Marianas Trench, it sounds as though they have learned from their mistakes and have found another clever way to attack Earth.
As for the Jaegers, the piloted mechanical behemoths and Earth's only line of defense against the kaiju, Boyega says the intervening years between the two films have been kind to that particular military program.
"We've got better upgrades," Boyega said. "The robots are moving much more swift. Yeah, we're like ballerinas up in there, it's fantastic."
This should be welcome news for Pacific Rim fans who no doubt recall the fight off the coast of Hong Kong that spelled disaster for two Jaegers, Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha, and nearly saw the end of Striker Eureka and Gipsy Danger. The fight went so poorly because the kaijus, Otachi and Leatherback, boasted better mobility and specialized weaponry suited to deal with their opponents. It sounds like the humans of Pacific Rim learned from their mistakes, too.
Debuting in theaters on March 23, 2018, Pacific Rim Uprising is a production of Legendary Pictures directed by Steven S. DeKnight and starring John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Burn Gorman.