• Movie

Director Guillermo del Toro’s giant-robots giant-robots-versus-giant-monsters sci-fi action epic Pacific Rim won’t stomp into theaters until July 12, but the film’s backers already see its franchise potential as, well, giant—so much so that a sequel was greenlit before the movie was finished. After the first screening, Legendary Entertainment CEO Thomas Tull immediately told del Toro to start writing a follow-up. “He said, ‘Do you think you can come up with a great idea?’ ” del Toro remembers. “I said, ‘F—, yeah!’ ! Because on the way to the finished screenplay, there were entire angles and ideas that we chopped off because they were too much.”

While Pacific Rim is a souped-up homage to classic monster movies like Godzilla, del Toro says the sequel won’t simply introduce a new oversize enemy. “[With the old movies] it was Godzilla versus so-and-so, and that was all you needed to know,” he says. “It was like a wrestling match.” Instead, del Toro and co-writer Travis Beacham plan to delve deeper into the alien forces behind the kaiju (Japanese for “giant monsters”), who in the first film invade Earth from their so-called “antiverse” through a breach at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, only to be met by a last stand of human defenders (including Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam). “They’re a race of blind consumers grabbing planets, consuming them, and moving to the next,” says del Toro. “The idea [with the sequel] is to explore a little bit of that. I won’t spoil it, but I don’t think we’ll repeat a single beat from the first movie.”

Del Toro—who already has a few projects lined up to direct, starting with the haunted-house horror movie Crimson Peak—says he’s open to directing the Pacific Rim follow-up as well. But don’t hold your breath for that next installment to be ready anytime soon. “It will take us a while to develop,” del Toro says. “I don’t think the screenplay will come out so quick. It took us a year and a half to do this script, and It’ll take us at least two years to develop the other script.” These summer tentpole movies are real monsters to put together, after all.

Follow Josh Rottenberg on Twitter: @joshrottenberg

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Pacific Rim
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 131 minutes
  • Guillermo del Toro