Pacific Rim 2 is on the way, but with some surprising changes. Instead of Guillermo Del Toro, Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight will be taking the reins in his feature film debut, and instead of Travis Beacham, Jon Spaihts will be writing the screenplay. The change in creative team begs a question: Is this a straight follow-up, or an expansion to the story?
Either way, there’s an enormous amount of talent, here. DeKnight, in addition to his Marvel job, did extensive work as a writer and producer on Angel, Spartacus, Smallville, and Dollhouse. Spaihts, meanwhile, wrote Prometheus and Doctor Strange, as well as the script that first got him noticed, Passengers, which is currently in production thanks to Chris Pratt. Del Toro and Beacham have left the franchise in excellent hands.
But it does raise the question if anybody at all is coming back. Currently only Charlie Hunnam, who played one of the heroes from the first movie, and Ron Perlman, a relatively minor if memorable character, are rumored to be coming back. Similarly, the film’s tumultuous production history, where a sequel was considered before being reported as shelved in favor of King Kong and Godzilla movies, raises the question of just what the budget is and who’s involved. Will we see any ties to the previous movie, or will it be more of a budget-friendly exploration of the concept? DeKnight is well-known for getting the most out of a budget, thanks to his experience as a producer. That was part of the reason Del Toro hand-picked him for the job.
While it would be nice to check in with the surviving cast, perhaps it’s better if Pacific Rim 2 serves as an expansion, not a sequel. The real stars of the movie were always the giant robots and the monsters they hit with boats and impaled with swords, although the humans inside getting into fights and running around exotic kaiju organ markets were fun to be around for two hours. DeKnight and Spaihts are working off ideas proposed by the original team, but some fresh eyes on the concept would make Pacific Rim 2 as good, or even better, than the movie it came from.