After years of uncertainty, Pacific Rim 2 is finally, officially happening as we now know when and where it’ll be filming. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s colorful kaiju vs. mech film Pacific Rim hit theaters in 2013 to mostly solid reviews but shaky box office. The $190 million blockbuster just barely grossed $100 million in the U.S., but was a massive hit in China where it grossed $111 million, going on to amass $411 million worldwide. Del Toro’s film was intended to kick off a franchise, serving as a terrific piece of world building, but the box office was just on the line of whether it made sense—from a business standpoint—to make a sequel or not.
Last fall, del Toro was in the midst of pre-production when Universal put everything on hold, delaying the project’s planned August 2017 release date indefinitely. The film lingered for a while, eventually resurfacing with a firm greenlight from Universal and Legendary, only this time del Toro had stepped out of the director’s chair to attend to other projects, with Daredevil Season 1 showrunner Steven S. DeKnight tapped to helm.
Del Toro remains involved as a key producer on Pacific Rim 2, and today it was announced that Chinese actress Jing Tian is joining the cast with confirmation that production begins this November in Australia, with principal photography also planned to take place in China.
John Boyega is leading the cast of the sequel and producing, though it’s as-yet unclear how/if the original cast figures into the plot of the follow-up. We know that Charlie Hunnam is not returning, but del Toro recently teased that “a lot” of the cast from the first movie will indeed be returning, adding that Pacific Rim 2 expands the universe by focusing on the post-war setting.
Tian is a famous Chinese actress whose credits include New Police Story and Special ID, as well as the upcoming Matt Damon-fronted The Great Wall. It’s no secret that Pacific Rim 2 is being produced with the large Chinese fanbase in mind, and Legendary is handling Chinese distribution of the picture alongside China-based partner Wanda.
With a firm November start-date now set, we should start to see the final casting pieces fall into place soon. As a big fan of the world del Toro set up in Pacific Rim, I’m mighty eager to return for this sequel. Pacific Rim 2 is slated for release on February 23, 2018.