Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), the hero of 2013’s Pacific Rim, is notably absent from the sequel, Pacific Rim Uprising. While protagonists no longer leading sequel-reboots is becoming more and more common, it still raises the question of what happened to that character in between movies. Uprising keeps things purposely vague on that front, and director Steven S. DeKnight has an explanation as to why.
Spoilers ahead for Pacific Rim Uprising
In the finished film, Becket is only mentioned in passing in a speech from Jake about heroes from the first war. He’s mentioned alongside Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) and Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), so the implication is that, like those two, he’s now a fallen hero. And yet his face isn’t on the memorial wall we see earlier in the movie, which would seem like a pretty big omission from someone who helped save the world.
Speaking to Steve Weintraub, DeKnight explained that they had considered killing off Raleigh, but decided against it in the event they want to bring him back for a potential Pacific Rim 3:
“There was a version that was shot where what happened to him was explained and talked about. We tested it, and people had more questions with it in than without. We also decided we didn’t want to lock ourselves into anything like, ‘Oh, Raleigh’s dead,’ or ‘Raleigh’s retired,’ which seemed a little cheap. We wanted to leave it open for the third installment of the movie in case we needed Charlie Hunnam back. The only reason Charlie Hunnam’s not in this movie is a scheduling problem. He had his dream project, a remake of Papillion—we had just finished the script with him in it, and it was announced he was doing Papillion, his passion project, and unfortunately the dates were exactly the same as ours, right in the middle of when we would shoot. So very sadly he couldn’t be a part of this one, but hopefully in a future installment he will be.”
So Raleigh is not dead, but a third installment, should it include him, will have to explain things like, “Why didn’t you attend Mako’s funeral?” and “When the world was short on capable jaeger pilots, where were you?” I’m sure a script can retcon up some answers, but after Boyega owned with his charismatic performance as Jake Pentecost, I’m kind of okay leaving the franchise in his hands.
Do you want to see Raleigh return for Pacific Rim 3? How would you want them to explain his absence? Sound off in the comments.