Set a decade after the original Pacific Rim film, director Steven S. DeKnight takes the stage at Madison Square Garden for Pacific Rim Uprising. A film with a loyal and dedicated fan base, DeKnight is stepping into the massive shoes of visionary Guillermo DelToro with his take on the universe of kaijus and jaegers.

At their New York Comic-Con panel moderated Syfy Wire’s Aaron Sagers, DeKnight is joined by members of his cast, Burn Gorman, Cailee Spaeny, Scott Eastwood, and John Boyega.

In a decade’s time, the world of Pacific Rim has had some changes. The PPDC is an international fighting force now, no longer separated into different divisions by country. The young members of the PPDC are a diverse group of people, as DeKnight describes, “It doesn’t matter who you are, you can make a difference as a hero.” With the push of time comes the redesigned jaegers that come more powerful than before.

Among the lineup of new jaegers comes:

  • Gipsy Avenger, the successor of Gipsy Danger with a new weapon called the gravity sling that can reach out and grab buildings and car to hurtle.
  • Bracer Phoenix, a jaeger that can hold three pilots, the third who can jump into a spot to pilot the vortex cannon.
  • Saber Athena, the most advanced, experimental, and swift of the jaegers, one that wields a pair of plasma swords.
  • Titan Redeemer, a jaeger that wields a “ball of death” attached to the end of his arm.
  • Guardian Bravo, a brute force jaeger with a “graphine arc whip”.
  • And a little guy called Scrapper.

The times have changed and people are now pilphering and making their own jaegers from the parts of the the old jaegers. Among these scrappers and crafters is John Boyega’s Jake Pentecost. The son of the influential Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba, Boyega reveals that Jack is very much not trying to live up to his father’s legacy.

As a sort of outcast, Boyega reveals that it is Cailee Spaeny’s Amara Namani who brings Jake back into the fold, forcing him to step up. Amara is a sole survivor after watching her family die from a kaiju attack. An independent spirit, Amara forms a bond with Jake despite their different backgrounds. Along with Amara, Jake has his best friend Nathan Lambert played by Scott Eastwood. Eastwood reveals that the two have got some issues to work out from the past, with Nathan being a pilot presumably in the PPDC.

If Boyega, Eastwood, and Spaeny are newcomers alongside DeKnight, there is still some original cast representation at the panel in the form of Burn Gorman, who hints that although Hermann is still the same scientist he always was, many things have changed. The ten years have put him at the highest level within the PPDC with his partner Newt now within the private sector. Despite any foreshadowing of conflict between the two, Gorman is eager to praise his veteran co-star, saying, “It was effortless. Charlie is a professional and it was tons of fun, either laughing at Charlie or with him.”

Affected by his drift with the kaiju in the first movie, it’ll be interesting to see how Newt and Hermann are living with the aftermath of their unique experience and to see where Newt has ended up. Although Hermann stayed with the PPDC, it’s clear that this is not the same group. Gorman emphasizes a bigger budget and more funding for Hermann to conduct his experiments in the lab.

Although he wasn’t in attendance of the panel, the creator of the universe, Guillermo Del Toro, was not missing. DeKnight extolled Del Toro, saying, “Guillermo set the table and it was a fantastic visual feast.“ They wanted to honor his creation while also expanding on it. Audiences will see references to the first movie throughout Uprising. Commenting on the fan interaction, Boyega called the Pacific Rim fans hopeful and that the universe was sacred science-fiction ground. High praise coming from one of the biggest new names in science fiction right now. Assuring fans that Del Toro’s work would not be ignored, “We got all your backs,” he said.

The panel also revealed the first trailer and official look we’ve been able to get of Uprising. It’s bigger chock full of action and jaegers. Even though Del Toro isn’t at the helm like the original movie we’re still excited to see a new addition to this loved universe!

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