Pacific Rim Uprising: The Big Twist Was Guillermo Del Toro's Idea

Pacific Rim Uprising spoilers ahead!

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Now Playing: Pacific Rim Uprising Review: A Kaiju-Sized Step Backward

Spoilers for Pacific Rim Uprising below!

If you saw Pacific Rim Uprising over the weekend, there was probably one big twist that stuck with you: Charlie Day's character, the lovable, quirky Dr. Newt Geiszler, turning out to be the movie's main villain.

It turns out Newt's drift with the baby Kaiju--a major subplot in the original Pacific Rim--had a negative effect on him after all, just as multiple characters in that movie said it would. In Uprising, we learn that he's been working against humanity for years, building toward the simultaneous opening of multiple breaches and, very nearly, the destruction of the world.

Given what a major shift it is for the character, you might assume that it came from Steven DeKnight, the sequel's director. But DeKnight confirmed to GameSpot that the idea to make Newt the villain came from del Toro in the first place.

"Charlie Day being a villain is also something that Guillermo had talked to him about when he was still involved, before he had to leave to do Shape of Water," DeKnight said. "And Charlie was very interested in that turn."

Charlie Day himself hinted at the twist in an interview with Crave back in 2013 in the weeks after the original Pacific Rim hit theaters, saying that del Toro "liked the idea of Newt becoming a bit of a villain in the second film," although that was before they'd begun making the first movie. He added that because of the way the character turned out, "I don’t think he would want to turn him into a villain now," so clearly he thought it wasn't going to happen.

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"I didn't realize that [the idea was original del Toro's] until I talked to Charlie," DeKnight said. "When I came on board, there were three completely different versions of three completely different sequels that I read through, and I took a little bit from here and a little bit from there. I think in one of those, at one point, I want to say Burn Gorman was the villain. So there were different possibilities, and for me it just seemed like Newt was the perfect character to go down that path since he was drifting with the brains to start with in the first movie, and Ron Perlman warned him not to."

In yet another version, the villain was the movie's "billionaire industrialist" character--not Jing Tian's character Shao Liwen, but the equivalent character in an early draft. But that was too obvious, and DeKnight thought Newt being the villain was more fun.

The director added that it also gives them more setup for Pacific Rim 3--"if we're so lucky to do it," he said, "we've set up this great thing where you have Charlie Day with things in his head controlling him, but Gottlieb, Burn Gorman['s character], loves him as his best friend, and will do anything to help protect him and save him."

So there may be hope for Charlie yet. Read the rest of our interview with Pacific Rim Uprising director Steven DeKnight here, and don't miss our chat with star Cailee Spaeny, our Pacific Rim kaiju ranking, and our Pacific Rim Uprising review.

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