“We had a fantastic meeting of the minds with [Steven] DeKnight.”
That's what Guillermo Del Toro had to say when I reached out to him tonight. Del Toro's creative process is one of the most immersive I've ever seen. Last year, I visited the current incarnation of Bleak House, which is an entire house-sized combination museum/collection/art studio, filled with books and original wax-sculptures and hidden rooms and original framed artwork and a place where he can put illustrators and designers together to help spitball ideas.
He was very close to the end of post-production on Crimson Peak at that point, but as we walked through one of the areas where his collaborators had been working during the day, there were some remarkable images up, all expanding on the world and the technology of Pacific Rim. I wouldn't give away any of what I saw, in no small part because I couldn't begin to even guess what the context was for any of that stuff. But more than that, at that point, Pacific Rim 2 was very much an idea in flux, and there were lots of conversations going on about what form it would take and what other storytelling avenues they might explore. People make jokes about how many films Del Toro is attached to sometimes, but he only gets involved if he really thinks he can make a difference in something, if he can really do something in the process. It doesn't surprise me that he's producing this sequel instead of directing it, because I think he's got a lot of things he'd like to direct, and a finite amount of time where he can do that.
It appears they have now made their decision on how they're moving forward.
Gregg Kilday broke the story at The Hollywood Reporter tonight that Steven S. DeKnight will direct Pacific Rim 2 for Legendary Pictures and Universal. Jon Spaihts, who is one of Hollywood's busiest genre writers (for good reason), is the latest writer to work on the film, which is good news as well.
This may be a first feature film for DeKnight, but he's got exciting storytelling chops. He made the “I was sure it would be horrible” series Spartacus into something compelling and then he did a great job with the first season of Daredevil on Netflix. I'm really curious to see what his feature chops look like, and Pacific Rim is a fun property for anyone to get turned loose on.
Del Toro said, “We are positive that this is a great choice to take what was established and go beyond!” Having spent time on the set of the first film, what was clear was just how dense the world was as imagined by Del Toro and the first film's creator, Travis Beacham.
There's no other word at this point about release date or returning cast or how they'll expand the world, but this is a step forward, and if Del Toro's excited, then I am, too. He cares deeply about this world, and I think it's important to him that the next film reaches an even bigger audience so they can keep telling stories about the kaiju and the Jaegers and the worlds on both this and the other side of the Rift.
When there's more to report, we'll be there, and until then, this is an exciting glimpse of the team they're putting together this time around.