Pacific Rim's Guillermo Del Toro Reveals What Would Have Happened In His Version Of The Sequel

Rinko Kikuchi in Pacific Rim
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Throughout the years that passed between Pacific Rim’s 2013 debut and its 2018 sequel, the hype machine that eventually gave us Pacific Rim: Uprising saw a minor detour that remains one of the greatest “what if” scenarios. As we all know, the second adventure we saw in theaters wasn’t the one that series co-creator/director Guillermo del Toro had intended to send out into the world. Years later, we finally have some clues regarding what that would have entailed, as del Toro has revealed what was going to happen in his version of the sequel. 

Speaking with The Wrap on behalf of the release of Nightmare Alley, the director laid out some details, presumably from the iteration of the project that was named Pacific Rim: Maelstrom. More specifically, the main conflict is the draw in this round of information, as we’d previously been clued into locations, events and even the proposed ending for this version of the project. As far as the new details are concerned, here’s what Guillermo del Toro revealed: 

The villain was this tech guy that had invented basically sort of the internet 2.0. And then they realized that all his patents came to him one morning. And so little by little, they started putting together this and they said, ‘Oh, he got them from the Precursors.’ The guys that control the Kaiju. And then we found out that the Precursors are us thousands of years in the future. They’re trying to terraform, trying to re-harvest the earth to survive. Wow. And that we were in exo-bio-suits that looked alien, but they were not. We were inside. And it was a really interesting paradox.

That’s one hell of a twist to the Pacific Rim series, especially with what Pacific Rim: Uprising eventually did with the Precursors in director/co-writer Steven S. DeKnight’s version of events. However, as noted by Guillermo del Toro in that same interview, some ideas did transfer over into the sequel we eventually got. Most notably, as you can read above, the whole terraforming idea definitely crossed into the goals of the Precursors we saw wrecking havoc. Plus, the Kaiju/Precursor tech idea does feel like a close cousin to the heel turn that Newt Geizsler (Charlie Day) pulled in the finished product. 

However, Pacific Rim fans are going to have to hold onto their hats for this next bombshell. Guillermo del Toro revealed another detail that you probably could have guessed, but it's still lovely to have it confirmed in the light of day. Unlike Pacific Rim: Uprising, the alternate draft in question kept an important character alive, while seemingly upgrading their role. According to this discussion, here’s how Pacific Rim: Maelstrom would have handled Mako Mori: 

To me, the hero was Mako Mori. I wanted her not only to live, I wanted her to be one of the main characters in the second movie.

Potentially the most controversial decision made in Pacific Rim: Uprising’s story is the fact that Rinko Kikuchi’s character was killed off mid-film, rather than surviving to take the fight to the Precursors and their monstrous assistants. Though it doesn’t feel too far off from what we’ve gotten so far, right down to the intention of crossing the rift in Pacific Rim: Maelstrom’s sequel plans. There’s enough of a difference between these battling concepts that one would want to see, or read, the version Guillermo del Toro was developing before handing things off. 

At this point, even the Pacific Rim: Uprising version of events has a “what if” scenario hanging in the air. With plans to cross the MonsterVerse with the world of Kaijus being laid out for Pacific Rim 3, there’s a chance we might not see that showdown happen at a theater near us. Maybe one day, in the ultimate mashup of talent, Guillermo del Toro and Steven S. DeKnight can collaborate, bringing that next chapter home and allowing for a blowout of epic proportions.

Guillermo del Toro fans can get their next taste of the writer/director’s unique brand of magic with Nightmare Alley, which debuts in theaters this Friday. To seek out the rest of what the final weeks of 2021’s box office has to offer, check out this year’s release schedule. Or, if you’d like to get a jump on planning the year to come, head over to the schedule of 2022’s movie offerings

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.