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The Silly Reason Guillermo del Toro Didn't Direct Pacific Rim: Uprising - and Why He Hasn't Watched It
Moral of the story: Don't leave those soundstage payments to the last minute.
Guillermo del Toro's plans to cancel the apocalypse for a second time were foiled by a late soundstage deposit — of all things.
Recently sitting down with Collider at a tenth anniversary screening for Pacific Rim, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind The Shape of Water and Pinocchio opened up about why he was unable to direct the sequel to his giant robots vs. giant monsters epic.
Why Guillermo del Toro didn't helm Pacific Rim 2
"We were getting ready to do it, it was different from the first, but it had a continuation of many of the things that I was trying to do," he recalled. "Then what happened is — I mean, this is why life’s crazy, right? — they had to give a deposit for the stages at 5 p.m. or we would lose the stages in Toronto for many months. So, I said, 'Don't forget we're gonna lose the stages,' and five o'clock came and went, and we lost the stages. They said, 'Well, we can shoot it in China.' And I go, 'What do you mean we?' [Laughs] 'I’ve gotta go do Shape of Water.'”
In the end, directing duties for the sequel from Universal Pictures — officially titled Pacific Rim Uprising — were handed over to Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight. The sophomore installment shifted the narrative focus to Jake Pentecost (Star Wars alum John Boyega), son of the late Stacker Pentecost (played in the first movie by Idris Elba), who teams up with a new generation of Jaeger pilots to put the smackdown on some fresh Kaiju behind.
Released in March of 2018, Uprising proved to be less successful — both critically and financially — than its predecessor, which put an end to plans for a third chapter in which humanity brings the fight to the inter-dimensional Kaiju creators known as Precursors (the franchise eventually returned in the form of an anime series).
And despite the fact that he landed a producer credit on Uprising, del Toro has never watched the finished film. "I didn't see the final movie because that’s like watching home movies from your ex-wife," he admitted during his chat with Collider. "It is terrible if they're good and worse if they're bad, or the opposite. You don't wanna know. So, I didn't see it. I did read the final script, and it was very different. Some of the elements were the same but very different."
What were Guillermo del Toro's plans for the Pacific Rim sequel?
In a 2021 interview, del Toro laid out the "really crazy" plot idea he had hoped to pursue for the second movie, which contained the revelation that the Precursors were actually future humans trying to save their dying planet through any means necessary. Our species would rather construct skyscraper-sized monsters and send them back in time rather than confront climate change in the moment.
"They’re trying to terraform, trying to re-harvest the earth to survive," the director explained. "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."
Pacific Rim Uprising is now available to purchase from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.