By Jeff Jensen
October 11, 2012 at 09:00 PM EDT

Guillermo del Toro’s forthcoming sci-fi spectacular Pacific Rim will tell the tale of ginormous robots called Jaegers that protect the world from equally ginormous monsters known as Kaiju. It will also be much bigger than a movie: The Oscar-nominated director of Pan’s Labyrinth tells EW that there will also be a Pacific Rim graphic novel – a prequel story, to be published by the upstart comic book division of the film’s studio, Legendary Pictures. A formal announcement of the project is expected today at New York City Comic-Con.

Del Toro says that he will serve as creative director of the project, and that Travis Beacham, who wrote the Pacific Rim screenplay and created the world of the movie, will script the graphic novel. He and Beacham are currently lining up artists to draw. The plot will take place at the academy that trains the pilots who operate the Jaegers. “The robots synapses are so big, one person would have a neural overload if they tried to control the body by themselves,” says del Toro. “You need two pilots who are compatible and can share a neural bridge, and the academy is about finding them and training them.”

Del Toro, a serious comic book aficionado, is no stranger to creating comics. He oversees Dark Horse Comics’ adaptation of The Strain, a trilogy of horror novels del Toro co-wrote with Chuck Hogan. “It’s great to see how a world you’ve created for one medium can be translated into another,” says the director, who adds that he and Legendary are brainstorming other “transmedia” extensions of Pacific Rim, too. (Think: Websites, viral videos, publishing.) “A property like this, which is all about world creation, allows for a very nimble translation, so we’re exploring,” says del Toro. “We’re still eight months away and have a lot of work to do, but we’d like to have a whole campaign expressed across many platforms.”

Pacific Rim — which will be distributed by Warner Bros. and stars Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Idris Elba (Thor), Rinko Kikuchi (The Brothers Bloom), Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses), and del Toro fave Ron Perlman (Hellboy) — opens July 12, 2013. The graphic novel’s official title and release date are still TBD.

Twitter: @EWDocJensen

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