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'Pacific Rim' screenwriter Travis Beacham previews new prequel comic

“I really like worlds that sort of fill up a bunch of different stories, and you can kind of come in and drop out and have the sense of a large world around the corner.”

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Prepare your Jaegers, and prepare to reacquaint yourself with a whole new world of Kaijus: Legendary is taking you back to the beginning with Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift. The new comic series, written by Joshua Fialkov (Doctor Who, The Bunker) and illustrated by Marcos Marz (Batman Confidental), is presented by Guillermo Del Toro and explores a time before Mako Mori and Raleigh Becket, giving fans a chance to dive into a world they’ve so far only seen the endgame of.

“I knew from the beginning that there were more stories in the world and that they’d be fun to tell,” Pacific Rim screenwriter Travis Beacham reveals to EW. “I think a lot of movies like this, they try to cram the whole thing from beginning to end — and with this, I really wanted to come in kind of in the middle of everything, or even towards the end. So I knew there were a lot of opportunities to explore in other mediums.”

When Pacific Rim first hit theaters, Beacham regularly took to social media to interact with fans, sharing his own ideas of backstories of characters, a practice he’s kept in helping to develop these new stories. “They’ve always been characters that I’ve had in mind, and it’s always been kind of a story that I’ve had that happened in the background,” he explains. “So it’s gratifying to see it come together. They were always sort of part of the bible and part of the whole thing for me even before the movie came out…it’s fun to finally see that getting realized.” And while the comic itself will be a prequel — “we’re trying to reserve a lot of the post movie real estate for other movies, god willing those come together,” he reveals — don’t expect that to make the story any less interesting. “We’re meeting characters that are old to the world, but new to us here, and very different from characters in the world that we’ve had,” he says. “They’re sort of hot and cold right off the bat, we sort of see how they come together…these are the really early years of the Jaeger program, so there’ s kind of a hard scrabble, trial and error, fly-by-the-seat of your pants thing happening here that’s different from the movie, where they’re veterans at this. No one is a veteran in this at this story. It’s all sort of being inventive at the moment, which I think is an interesting atmosphere and interesting backdrop.” Does a prequel mean we won’t see any characters we might be familiar with? Beacham remains coy, but answers the question with a laugh. “Characters that have passed in the movie, you’re free to use them, and they can come back…I know a lot of fans were pretty sad about the number of people that we killed. So it’s fun to have them back to play with.”

Like any adaptation of a beloved work, finding the right collaborators to bring the early stories of Pacific Rim to life was no small task, but Beacham worked closely with Legendary to find the right team. “I was familiar with their work,” he says of Fialkov and Marz. “Initially, I would’ve been delighted to write it myself, but it came about at a time when I was working on a few other things, including a TV show, which takes so much of your time. So I was really happy that Legendary it gave me a chance to map out the story and have input in that, and have a lot of involvement…but I think Josh and Marcos did a terrific job of realizing it.”

“I think part of the fun about collaboration not only in comic books but in films as well,” the screenwriter continues. “It’s always fun to see the things as you pictured them or as you expected them to be, but I think an understated part of the process is seeing the ideas that other people bring to it that you aren’t expecting. It’s always fun to for me to see how those things mix. The parts that you recognize, the parts that you weren’t really expecting. I really get a kick out of that in collaboration.”

So what should fans expect from the new series? “I think at its core, it’s a love story — more explicitly than the movie was,” says Beacham. “I think it was fun to explore that. Besides monsters and robots, which excite the sort of reptilian five-year-old part of my brain, there’s always something fun about doing those big, high action genre stories that always have something human going on. And to that end, I think this is, at its heart, a love story, which I really like.”

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift is on sale Nov. 4. View exclusive pages below.

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