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There are so many gigantic blockbusters coming out in 2015 and 2016 - including The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Star Wars: Episode VII, and X-Men: Apocalypse - that it seems kind of insane to already be thinking about what movies are going to be coming out in 2017. That, however, is not stopping Legendary Pictures from planting their flag in the release calendar. The studio has announced that they have set aside April 7, 2017 as the release date for Pacific Rim 2.

This news comes from The Wrap, which adds that Universal Pictures will be distributing the movie as part of their deal with Legendary, and that Guillermo Del Toro is returning to direct with a script that he is co-writing with Zak Penn. The plan is to release the film in both 3D and IMAX 3D, though it's unclear if that fact will be affecting the filmmaking process. Rather than filming with 3D, the first Pacific Rim was post-converted, though that's partially because the movie wasn't always planned to be in that format. Even if Del Toro chooses not to film in native 3D, I wonder if he might experiment a bit with the IMAX cameras.

In addition to the development of Pacific Rim 2, Del Toro and Legendary are also working on developing a new animated series based on the growing franchise and have plans to continue the comics that began with the graphic novel Pacific Rim: Year Zero. Del Toro made the official announcement about the projects himself on Legendary's YouTube channel:

When Pacific Rim was first released last year it looked like it was going to be a dud, made for $190 million and ultimately only making $101 million domestically, but the international market for the film completely changed the landscape. The giant robots vs. giant monsters blockbuster managed to pull in an impressive $309 million from theaters around the world, bringing the global total to a solid $411 million. This was apparently enough to give Legendary and Universal some confidence in the project and start to develop Pacific Rim 2.

So what can we expect to see happen in the follow-up? It's kind of hard to say. The first Pacific Rim ended with our heroes, played by Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi, managing to send a nuclear device into the dimensional rift in the Pacific Ocean and close it for good. With the flow of monsters stopped, where is the drama? Personally, I'm still holding out for some kind of Godzilla crossover.

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