WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for director Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprising, in theaters now.
In 2013, Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim saw humanity defending itself against a swath of inter-dimensional Kaiju using giant robots called Jaegers. These giant monsters invaded Earth from an alien world called the Anteverse, sent by overlords known as the Precursors. Luckily, the breach was sealed and the monsters that had come through were all killed, and thus Earth was saved.
Or perhaps not.
With Steven S. DeKnight now in the director's seat, Pacific Rim Uprising raises the stakes even more as we learn just how the Precursors adapted for a second crack at invasion. This time, it doesn't involve Kaiju alone, but instead, they lay very intricate plan that ties in human-brainwashing and the sneaky use of a few Jaeger-Kaiju hybrids, all meant to take out the Pan Pacific Defense Corps and their Rangers, and once more open the rift up for bloodthirsty Kaiju to come over.
Thankfully, mankind prevails over the monsters yet again. But amid all this new chaos, we're still left with quite a few big questions regarding the events of the sequel.
Really... Where's Raleigh, Exactly?
Charlie Hunnam's Raleigh Becket helped seal the breach in Pacific Rim, becoming a legend in the process. As a result, fans understandably expected him back for the second chapter. But due to production delays, a scheduling conflict arose with Hunnam’s passion project, Papillon, and he was forced to drop out. This parting with Legendary Pictures was amicable though, and the studio indicated that his character could return for future battles later on in the franchise.
And so, Raleigh is indeed written out of this story as having left the Corps during the peacetime in between films. His absence is quite vague though, because Uprising hints that while many pilots went into the private sector with companies such as Shao Corporation, Raleigh may have actually gone to the United Nations to take up a diplomacy role. DeKnight makes this plot point ambiguous for whatever reason, leaving us truly wondering about the protagonist's exact whereabouts.
With a new wave of Kaiju attacking and Raleigh's co-pilot Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), overseeing the Rangers, a more specific and detailed reason should have been given for his absence, even if there's some hope of him returning for a potential third film.