Director Steven S. DeKnight took the stage at the Madison Square Garden Theater during New York Comic-Con to finally reveal more details about Pacific Rim Uprising, the sequel to Guillermo del Toro's fan favorite 2013 mech movie Pacific Rim. Given the nature of the film, it was only natural for him to start with what's important: talking about some of the new Jaeger mechs.
The flagship new Jaeger is Gypsy Avenger, successor of the first film's Gypsy Danger. It's piloted by John Boyega's character Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba's character Stacker Pentecost. Its main new ability, according to DeKnight, is the "Gravity Swing," which allows Jake to pick up buildings, cars, and other huge debris and chuck them at Kaiju.
Next up was Bracer Phoenix, which DeKnight called "the real brute force." It's a three pilot rig, which allows the third pilot to operate a pair of massive guns called "Vortex Cannons."
Then there's Saber Athena, "the most advanced Jaeger in the fleet, a little experimental, incredibly swift--and she has a pair of plasma swords," DeKnight described. Titan Redeemer "uses something we like to call the Ball of Death attached to the end of his arm that is pretty damn cool." Guardian Bravo is "another brute force Jaeger that has a really cool [Graphene Whip] weapon that I can't wait for you guys to get a peek at." And lastly, there's Scrapper, a makeshift Jaeger that was "slapped together" with spare parts.
"There are a lot of people who are stealing and pilfering PPCD technology to slap together their own Jaegers," DeKnight teased.
The world of Pacific Rim has changed in the ten years since the first movie's events took place. DeKnight said the new generation of Jaeger pilots "have known nothing but a world of chaos." But the governments of the world have also joined together in the PPCD, "an international fighting force."
"It doesn't matter where you're from. It doesn't matter who your parents are, the color of your skin, your religion, your sexual orientation--it doesn't make a difference. You can be a hero," he said. "It's the human inside the Jaeger that makes a difference."
Cast members Burn Gorman (Dr. Herman Gottlieb), Cailee Spaeny (Amara), Scott Eastwood (Nate Lambert), and Boyega also took the stage to discuss their characters and the themes Pacific Rim Uprising will explore.
"The vision of this movie was not to rewrite what Guillermo did, but to build upon and expand on where the humans are at right now," Boyega, who also produces the movie, said.
He also discussed how he became involved with Uprising after taking a meeting with executives at Legendary Pictures. "I thought it was for a general meeting, and they were like 'We just want to show you a few things.' And I saw myself in a Jaeger suit. And I was just like, 'Oh, crap! This is what you brought me in for!'"
Scott Eastwood plays another new character, Nate Lambert. "He's the tip of the spear. He's a pilot. He's one of the best, but he's nothing, really, without his best friend Jake," Eastwood said. "They've got some issues with this one to work out from the past, which I really liked and I thought that was an interesting piece to explore as an actor."
Spaeny is Amara, a young woman whose family was killed during the events of the first movie. "She's taken it upon herself to dive into the jaeger tech and make sure that when the Kaiju do come back, as she believes they will, that she'll be ready to fight," she said. "She's super badass. I'm not, but she is."
Gorman reprises his role as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb. "Where we find Herman Gottlieb is as a man very much affected by what happened int he first movie," Gorman teased. "So that was a real good starting point for me."
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DeKnight also discussed the future of Pacific Rim as a franchise. "This is hopefully the first step in a bigger Pacific Rim franchise," he said. "We really wanted to explore the universe and look at the first movie and expound on it. There are references to the first movie and what happened in the first movie, and as our people try to understand why the Kaiju attacked, why the aliens sent the Kaiju, we really wanted to honor the first movie while pushing things forward. And going ten years in the future gave us the kind of room to do that."
"To get a chance to play in the world that Guillermo del Toro so beautifully and expertly executed the first time around has just been an honor and a thrill," he said.
"I believe it's everything you want Pacific Rim to be moving forward," Boyega added.
Pacific Rim Uprising hits theaters on March 23, 2018.