Ahead of the trailer debut on Friday, the first images from the highly anticipated sequel Pacific Rim Uprising have been released online. The sequel was initially developed for Guillermo del Toro to return and direct, but he departed the project to make The Shape of Water and Daredevil Season 1 showrunner Steven S. DeKnight took over as co-writer and director. The follow-up takes place 10 years after the events of the first film and finds John Boyega stepping into the lead role as the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost. Boyega’s character, Jake, was a once-promising Jaegar pilot but is now caught up in the criminal underworld. But when his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), gives him one last chance to live up to his father’s promise, he takes charge against a new wave of Kaiju attacks.
Jake fell out with his father over Mako, to whom his father paid more attention. He subsequently became a black market retailer, but we get a hero shot here of Boyega looking like he’s ready to kick some ass and save the day. Indeed, he teams up with his friend Lambert (Scott Eastwood) to pilot a state-of-the-art new Jaegar called Gipsy Avenger.
Speaking with EW, who debuted the photos, Boyega teased that the Kaiju are bigger and badder this time around:
“The Kaiju have found a new way,” Boyega says. “They are way more intelligent than we thought they were. The monsters you saw in the first movie were the test run, to see how the planet would hold up. The breach we thought was closed is not their only way into our world. Their plans are more specific. Jake leads the team in trying to build up a new defense against that.”
I’ll admit these images are a bit underwhelming—the Jaegars look way overlit and shiny, to the point that this almost looks like a Transformers movie. I do hope DeKnight found a way to keep the colorful aesthetic of del Toro’s first film without devolving to a more generic blockbuster feel. We’ll find out tomorrow when the trailer arrives, but for now check out the debut images below. Pacific Rim Uprising opens in theaters on March 23, 2018.