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Warning: light spoilers for Pacific Rim Uprising are present. If you haven't seen the film, and want to remain unspoiled in the slightest, bookmark this page and come back after your showtime.
Despite being a direct sequel, Pacific Rim Uprising kind of stands on its own two feet, as there were only three Pacific Rim characters who returned for Pacific Rim Uprising. However, there were two more that were there in spirit, thanks to being mentioned in passing during crucial scenes in the film's events. The first and more noticeable was Jake Pentecost invoking the name of Raleigh Becket in his speech designed to stir the young Pan Pacific Defence Corps in the second act. But there's one reference you may have very easily missed in the first act, as Ron Perlman's black market charmer Hannibal Chau was mentioned as a figure in Jake's past, as well.
When trying to salvage a particularly profitable Jaeger part in the beginning of Pacific Rim Uprising, an associate of Jake's mentions how he's given the run-around to various shadowy figures in the underworld of the Kaiju ravaged future. Among the names dropped, Chau is mentioned by last name only, which had the potential to be a callback to the first film, while still needing some clarification. So just to be sure, I asked director Steven DeKnight on Twitter, to see if this was indeed the truth, and he verified that with the following tweet:
So there you have it: Jake Pentecost and Hannibal Chau have not only met, but Jake did him dirty during an exchange in their shared past. By confirming this connection, DeKnight has not only provided another bridge to the past history of Pacific Rim's criminal underground, he's also kind of given us a potential pathway to fulfil something we want to see in the proposed third entry: the return of Chau and his black market empire. The fact that Jake crossed Hannibal and survived is pretty impressive, considering how intimidating Chau's operation was portrayed in Pacific Rim. So we're naturally going to want to know how he feels about this betrayal, and just how Jake managed to pull it off in the first place.
Most importantly, we just want to see Hannibal Chau back on the big screen again. There's no doubt that Ron Perlman's portrayal of the enterprising Kaiju enthusiast was one of the most memorable and colorful characters in Pacific Rim's first installment. So while Pacific Rim Uprising was definitely an entertaining experience, it was kind of disappointing not to see him return after the post-credits for Guillermo del Toro's previous film took the time to show us that he did indeed survive being eaten by baby Kaiju. You can watch that experience again for yourself, in the clip below.
After surviving a hungry Kaiju, and a young thief's well-honed skills, Hannibal Chau is a character more than ripe for being reprised in a future Pacific Rim film. His story could grow exponentially, and if the creative team really wanted to, the team over at Legendary could probably give him anything from his own comic mini-series to a tie-in novel explaining what he's been up to in the decade since he cut his way out of a monster's stomach. No matter what is done with this character though, the fact remains that Chau is another one of the various connective tissues that make the Pacific Rim universe what it is today. Still, seeing as he was originally written into the script for Pacific Rim Uprising, it's nice to see someone shares our desire to see his triumphant return.
Pacific Rim Uprising is in theaters now, so be sure to watch carefully, as there are probably other hints and references that are still waiting to be discovered.