Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim has developed a cult following since its 2013 release, and the franchise looks poised to continue that fan service when Pacific Rim Uprising hits theaters later this year. However, the sequel notably swapped out del Toro for Daredevil's Steven DeKnight as director because of del Toro's time commitments to The Shape of Water, which begs the question of how much influence he had over the sequel. According to del Toro, his involvement mainly revolved around the process of picking DeKnight to helm the project and designing the look of the world. The Crimson Peak director explained:
I prepped my version of Pacific Rim 2. I developed the screenplay, I storyboarded the creatures and the robots on that, and then that suspension of six months ... I left, and helped select the new director, and that's about it.
So it seems that much of the foundation of Pacific Rim Uprising is rooted in Guillermo del Toro's mind. He played a role in the early development of the sequel and helped create the designs for the new Kaiju and the new Jaegers. From there, he also played a role in selecting Steve DeKnight to take his place in the director's chair. However, once DeKnight was in place, it sounds like de Toro went off to invest himself in The Shape of Water -- a smaller and decidedly less expensive movie that has already generated some phenomenal awards buzz for the Mexican director -- and DeKnight was left to execute that vision for the Pacific Rim sequel.
Even without Guillermo del Toro's remarks on KCWR, it's already quite apparent that Pacific Rim Uprising has a somewhat distinct feel from the original. The sequel looks like it will take place primarily during the daytime, and the universe itself appears slightly sleeker than the world of the original. It's impossible to know how much of this stems from Guillermo del Toro's involvement, and how much of it stems from his lack of involvement in the later stages, but it's already fairly obvious that Pacific Rim Uprising is going to be a somewhat different beast by comparison to the film that preceded it because of the changes that have been implemented.
Taking place a decade after the events of the first Pacific Rim, Pacific Rim Uprising follows a new generation of Jaeger pilots, with the story primarily focusing on John Boyega's Jake Pentecost, who is the son of Idris Elba's Stacker Pentecost from the original film. When a more powerful breed of Kaiju attacks Earth, Jake and the rest of his comrades will band together in another desperate battle to fend off the apocalypse.