With multi-generational and multi-cultural appeal, this is an emotionally charged, visually spectacular film about the battle for our planet and inspiring human heroism on a whole new scale.
The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity in Pacific Rim Uprising.
Building on the incredible visual world that Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth) and Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) created in the first film, Pacific Rim Uprising features a next-generation battleground: new Jaegers and new Kaiju, offering a state-of-the-art spectacle built for the big screen, directed by Steven S. Deknight (Netflix’s Daredevil, STARZ’s Spartacus) from a screenplay by DeKnight & Emily Carmichael (The Adventures of Ledo and Ix), & Kira Snyder (The Handmaid’s Tale) and T.S. NOWLIN (The Maze Runner), based on the characters created by Beacham.
Steven S. Deknight (Directed by/Written by) attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and went on to earn an MFA in playwriting from UCLA. He has written for the groundbreaking Joss Whedon series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and wrote, directed and produced on the series Angel, Smallville and Dollhouse before creating and running the Spartacus series for the premium cable channel Starz. Most recently, he was the executive producer/showrunner for the first season of the Marvel/Netflix series Daredevil.
Emily Carmichael (Written by) is a writer and director of science fiction, fantasy and action movies. Her short films have screened at Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Tribeca and top festivals all around the world. Her recent writing work includes Disney’s reboot of the 1979 sci-fi film The Black Hole. She is currently attached to direct Powerhouse with producers Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow and Simon Kinberg, as well as her own science fiction film Eon.
Kira Snyder (Written by) is a Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu/MGM/Littlefield Co., where she is a writer and currently the co-executive producer. Previously, she was the supervising producer on the CW’s The 100, where she has worked on three seasons of the hit Warner Bros. series. Snyder has also staffed on Starz’s Incursion for Steven S. DeKnight, as well as SyFy’s Alphas and Eureka. She got her start working on CBS’s Moonlight after graduating from the prestigious Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop. She has a background in theater and videogame writing, having worked at Electronic Arts. Her YA mystery book series “Parish Mail” is available through publisher Coliloquy. She was a graduate of the prestigious WGA Showrunner Training Program.
T.S. Nowlin (Written by) is the architect behind Fox’s Maze Runner trilogy. He co-wrote the first film, and went on to write both the sequel The Scorch Trials, and the third installment The Death Cure, which was released in January 2018. Nowlin’s script Our Name Is Adam is set up at Paramount with David Yates directing and Mary Parent producing.
Travis Beacham’s (Based on the Characters Created by) extensive work includes Clash of the Titans, Pacific Rim, Amazon’s anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams and the upcoming fantasy-thriller series Carnival Row. He wrote and directed his own original science fiction short The Curiosity in 2016 and is currently at work on its adaptation into a digital series. He is also working on an original podcast series. He is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and is from Tennessee
In Pacific Rim, a Breach opened at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and through it emerged giant Kaiju, monsters engineered by the alien Precursors to move from dimension to dimension terraforming planets—exterminating the indigenous species and taking full territorial control.
These Kaiju unleashed their fury on coastal cities along the Pacific Rim, and proved virtually unstoppable with conventional weapons. Giant robotic warriors called Jaegers—piloted by humans connected by a neural bridge—were engineered to fight back. Jaeger Gipsy Danger successfully closed the Breach by detonating a nuclear bomb, helped by legendary Jaeger Marshal Stacker Pentecost, who gave his life to ensure the success of the operation.
Pacific Rim Uprising continues the mythology of a richly detailed, wholly original sci-fi universe. With a focus on complex, richly diverse characters, the film is a global adventure—taking the audience from the slums of a future Los Angeles, to China, Tokyo, Australia and deep into the icy reaches of Siberia. With multi-generational and multi-cultural appeal, this is an emotionally charged, visually spectacular film about the battle for our planet and inspiring human heroism on a whole new scale.
It is the year 2035, 10 years after the events of the first film, in which humanity supposedly defeated the threat of the Kaiju. The war is over. The Breach, the gateway beneath the Pacific Ocean that spawned the Kaiju, has been closed, but the fear that these unrelenting beasts from another dimension may somehow rise again is ever-present.
Vigilance has become a way of life, and the PPDC has been reborn as a global force of highly advanced robotic warriors, with a new generation of young pilots at the helm. When an even more deadly Kaiju threat emerges, these young fighters—dubbed the Cadets—are powered by a drive to avenge and to protect what is left of the world they inherited.
Earth has had a chance to repair, but is in a state of heightened tension. In Los Angeles, Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost and a former star Academy pilot, is now a black market scavenger for Jaeger parts. While trying to steal a highly valuable tertiary plasma capacitator, he encounters young Amara, an orphan of the Kaiju War who found out the hard way that the PPDC Jaegers weren’t just going to show up and save her, so she built her own: Scrapper. With a highly gifted engineering mind, she built her mech guardian angel with parts scavenged from the Santa Monica aftermath.
Newly arrested, Jake is given the option—by his estranged adoptive sister and high-ranking PPDC official Mako Mori—of having a long list of charges dropped. One condition: he must agree to help train the young cadet Cadets at the Moyulan Shatterdome in China, alongside his former friend and now rival, Nate Lambert. Two men who were once closer than brothers, their relationship was damaged when Jake walked away from their shared destiny of being great Jaeger pilots.
The PPDC is not only training these Cadets, but building an advanced new breed of Jaegers in case the Kaiju ever return. A rival drone Jaeger program, developed by Liwen Shao and her company Shao Industries is also now in play. It would take the pilots out of the Jaegers and control the machines remotely, causing conflict and resentment for the pilots and cadets.
While the Cadets are training to fight off the Kaiju, a new enemy appears at the 10-year end of war celebrations in Sydney in the form of a sleek and devastating rogue Jaeger, Obsidian Fury—a terrifyingly powerful opponent that Gipsy Danger will be lucky to survive. The new drones turn on their makers, igniting an unexpected Jaeger-versus-Jaeger conflict and sending the PPDC and the Cadets on a quest to find out who or what is giving this new threat a deadly edge that makes it nearly impossible to defeat.
As the Jaegers go to war, a hidden threat like nothing humanity has seen triggers multiple Breaches to open up across the Pacific Rim, and the Kaiju return, more massive and more dangerous than ever. Jake and Lambert must determine how the new otherworldly threat is tied to the rogue mechs before it is too late…as Amara and her fellow recruits must defy youth and inexperience in the battlefield to defend our world.
In approaching the second chapter in the series, Legendary wanted to ensure that they were crafting an innovative vision, one that, while honoring the first film, would present a bold new interpretation of the Pacific Rim universe. Producer Cale Boyter reflects: “Legendary has always had a signature attitude in everything that we do, and this was the opportunity to create a perfect representation of what the brand represents, and how it wants it to evolve.”
It was important to the production team that no film exist without the perfect story. “There’s a lot of cynicism towards sequels,” Boyter admits, “and we were conscious of that. We had to ask ourselves ‘How do we create something that is going to take people by surprise?’”
An important step for producers Mary Parent and Boyter was bringing in Steven S. DeKnight, known for creating and running the hit Starz television series Spartacus, as well as running the first season of the Marvel/Netflix series Daredevil. DeKnight understood Legendary’s commitment to innovative storytelling, and pitched a compelling tale that checked a lot of boxes for the producers.
Within this universe of monsters and mechs was a core human message and compelling emotional story arcs. “Steven is a genre blender,” commends Boyter. “In his concept, the story didn’t function like a simple sequel to Pacific Rim. The big idea that he started with was that anybody can make a difference. Taking that core message, the story focuses around Stacker Pentecost’s troubled son Jake, and the young, orphaned mechanical genius Amara alongside him—two broken people who overcome their situations and their mistakes, and end up making an enormous difference.”
The story would also introduce a new generation of pilots—the cadets nicknamed the Cadets, teenagers who have been intensively training to be Jaeger pilots since they were small kids. It would also create intrigue around the return of the Kaiju, and if this return may have been facilitated by rogue human intervention. Boyter says: “The script we developed has the incredible, big action elements and the human arc around Jake and Amara, but is also a mystery adventure story. It’s 10 or 15 minutes into the picture before you realize you’re in the Pacific Rim world. The tone and the pace would not just be more emotional, but more kinetic.”
Legendary—buoyed by returning fellow producers del Toro, Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni—would team up with Universal Pictures, engaging with the studio early in the creative process. Boyter explains: “We walked Universal through what we were doing. We created a pre-visualization presentation and showed them concepts and key moments from the movie, and they loved it. It made them enthusiastic about what we were embarking on together.”
With production greenlit, one of the next vital questions to answer was who would play the lead role of Jake, wayward son of the legendary war hero Stacker Pentecost? For DeKnight and the film’s producers, one actor immediately rose to the top of the list: John Boyega.
Boyega, the breakout star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, wasn’t simply interested in acting in his next project. He felt that if he would give the time and energy necessary to be on set, then he would want to serve as an on-set producer. He recalls: “I had set up my own production company and went to Hollywood to introduce myself. One of the scheduled meetings was at Legendary, with Mary Parent and Cale Boyter. We talked about various projects, but at one point Mary said ‘We’re looking to do a sequel to Pacific Rim. Would you be interested in taking a look at a few things?’
“I said ‘yes, of course’ and we went into the room next door where they had this incredible concept art on display, depicting me in this incredibly designed suit,” he continues. “It was a fully developed pitch with Cale showing me all the amazing new elements for the film, featuring me.” He laughs, “They cornered me, I have to say!”
Pacific Rim had made a big impression on Boyega, in the days before he broke out as a star. “Seeing Idris Elba in the first film was very important to me. At the time I was involved in acting on a small scale in drama clubs, and in 2013 I saw a print ad while I was on the bus—Idris Elba as Stacker in an all-black Jaeger suit. The image, and what it represented, immediately struck me and motivated me.”
Pacific Rim Uprising features a diverse blend of favorite characters and exciting new faces, to reward both fans and new audiences alike. The focus in character and casting was on diversity. Humanity unites in the film, ignoring religion, race or background, and director DeKnight and the producers wanted to reflect that ethos in the cast of the film.
“The global aspect of this story is what drew me to doing it,” says DeKnight. “The Pacific Rim touches so many different countries, and we wanted to reflect that. We didn’t want it to feel forced; it’s very organic that the world comes together to fight this global threat, that encourages everyone to put aside their differences, which is a fantastic message for this day and age.”
Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (The Fate of the Furious’ Scott Eastwood), as well as the courageous and conflicted Jules Reyes (Adria Arjona of Emerald City) and 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny), as the heroes of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) become the only family he has left. Rising up to become the most powerful defense force to ever walk the earth, they will set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.
Also reprising their roles from Pacific Rim are Burn Gorman and Charlie Day as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb and Dr. Newt Geiszler, two of the most brilliant scientists the world has ever seen…now both on the frontlines of Kaiju defense as part of the original team that closed the Breach. Additional newcomers to the series include Jing Tian (The Great Wall) as Shao Liwen, CEO of Shao industries and a believer in an unmanned drone Jaeger corps, and Chinese superstar Max Zhang as Marshal Quan, the team’s laser-focused supervisor.
The majority of production took place at Fox Studios in Australia, with exteriors lensed in multiple places around Sydney and Brisbane. Additionally, scenes were captured on the sound stages at Wanda Studios in Qingdao, China; those were followed by location work at Mount Fuji in Japan, in Seoul and Busan in South Korea…as well as at waterfalls and glaciers in Iceland. The pure scale of the undertaking would be a challenge for the producers, with a crew of 500 on set at Wanda Studios alone.