In 2013’s Pacific Rim, the monstrous Kaijus emerged from an interdimensional breach to devastate Earth. However, mankind built enormous piloted robots, called Jaegers, to repel the alien invaders. For a decade, there was no new sign of this threat, but that's about to change. Opening today nationwide, Pacific Rim Uprising brings back the Kaiju to finish what they started. In response, rogue Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) is recruited to lead a new generation of cadets against this otherworldly menace.
Ahead of the premiere of the Legendary Pictures sequel, director and co-writer Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil, Spartacus) spoke with CBR about his feature debut, updating the Jaegers and Kaiju, crafting a killer battle sequence, and the possibility of another chapter of the franchise.
CBR: There are plenty of directions Pacific Rim Uprising could have gone. How did you go about putting your own stamp on the franchise?
Steven S. DeKnight: I’ve been such a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro’s work over the years. I really loved the first movie. But one of the biggest things I knew right away is that it would be a horrible, horrible mistake to try to imitate what he did. It’s like trying to imitate Spielberg. It’s not going to happen.
Thankfully, Guillermo was very supportive. I gave him my take on the story. He gave me some great suggestions and he said, “Go off and make it your own. Don’t try and make my movie. Make your movie.” I’m a kid of the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, with Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark and Goonies and E.T. What I really wanted to do this time around was a bit of a throwback. I wanted a movie that had a clear three-arc structure, that was two hours or under, that was fast and fun with some emotional beats that didn’t drag the movie down. I also grew up loving Ultraman and Space Giants and all the giant-monster movies. I really wanted to take all those elements and see what I could do with them, knowing full well I didn’t want to repeat the first movie. Even if we were successful in repeating the first movie, people would have been disappointed and would have thought it was a retread. I would rather swing for the fences and strike out than bunt in that kind of way.