For the longest time, it looked as though Pacific Rim would write its name in Hollywood’s history books as a non-starter. A worldwide haul of $411 million is certainly not to be balked at, but it’s fair to say that Guillermo del Toro’s large-scale creature feature failed to set the world alight in the way Legendary would have hoped.
And so, hopes of a sequel were temporarily dashed until Legendary was acquired by a Chinese conglomerate. Some time later, and after a last-minute name change, Pacific Rim: Uprising was born. So far, so good. But there’s one major difference between Uprising and its predecessor: Guillermo del Toro won’t be calling the shots from the helm. Instead, the torch has been passed onto Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight, and now that filming has wrapped Down Under, del Toro’s turned in a status report to Collider.
Perhaps most important of all, the filmmaker was quick to note that he had every intention of helming Uprising when it was still gestating in pre-production, and chalked up his decision to poor timing more than anything else.
“The timing started to suck. I had this little movie that I wanted to do—The Shape of Water—very, very much. At one point it was Justice League Dark or Pacific Rim, I said, ‘Let’s go to Pacific Rim.’ The reality is they said, ‘We’re gonna need to postpone,’ because they were changing hands—Legendary was going to be sold to China, to a Chinese company [called the Wanda Group]. They said, ‘We’ve gotta wait nine months’ and I said, ‘I’m not waiting nine months, I’m shooting a movie,’ and I went and shot [The Shape of Water] and we chose Steven DeKnight.”
That passion project, The Shape of Water, is described as a Cold War fantasy thriller, and it’ll be making its way into theaters before the year’s end. As for his thoughts on Legendary’s decision to hire DeKnight, Guillermo del Toro had nothing but praise for his successor, stating:
“It was such a great choice. I mean I love [DeKnight], love what he does, I think he’s really brilliant. He’s making it his own. I’m not breathing over his shoulder saying, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ He’s doing things differently and I like that. When I produce I try to produce the way I would like to be produced. I say to everyone I produce, ‘If you need me I will be there 100% all the time. If you don’t need me, I’m not there. You show me the cut then we’ll start interacting.'”
How does Uprising differ to Pacific Rim? Del Toro outlined the ways in which his vision has changed and evolved since the sequel’s inception:
“It’s going great. I see dailies every day, I see early cuts, I see teasers. They’re doing great. It lets him have his style, lets him have his notion of the characters. I wrote a screenplay, developed two or three drafts of that screenplay—this is different than what I developed, and I’m OK. A producer is in the corner, the director is in the ring. The producer’s not getting the punches, the director is, so shut up, wait in the corner, refresh the towel and wait for the director to come to you.”
Pacific Rim: Uprising is locked in for February 23rd, 2018. In related news, don’t hold your breath for del Toro’s big-screen rendition of At The Mountains of Madness.