Pacific Rim Uprising had a different feel from the get-go. The very first thing was that was different was the pre-panel entertainment. While both the Peter Capaldi and Pacific Rim panel had really loud club music, this time we had some entertainment with Ruben and DJ Elliot who played games, had us practice cheering and so much more. They were really fun.

Our host came out and first introduced the director Steven S. DeKnight. He came out in an elaborate commander uniform, looking like he was going to lead an entire army. He came from a “geeky” background himself, growing up watching Ultraman and Godzilla films, so robots and kaiju were right up his alley. And being able to work in the world that Guillermo del Toro created was both an honor and a thrill.

The movie is set 10 years after the original film so because of this, they’re able to explore where humanity is at after the chaos. The new jaegar pilots have never known a world without constant chaos from the kaiju. And what DeKnight loves most about the film is that it doesn’t matter your background, you can make a difference. And being inside a jaegar, it’s “you times a thousand”.

From there, DeKnight gave us a breakdown of the new jaegers. Because the all the jaegars in the original film were destroyed, they were able to build them from the ground up so they have cool features that we know and some that are brand new to the film.

New Jaegars

Gypsy Avenger is the flagship jaegar. This mech has a weapon called the “gravity swing” that is essentially a claw that can reach out and grab things. It can grab buildings or cars and hurl them at the kaijus.

Brazer Phoenix is a brute force jaegar piloted by three people, similar to the Chinese jaegar in the original film. However, this jaegar can have the third pilot drop down into the chest of the jaegar and use a large gun to help kill the kaiju.

Saber Athena is an experimental jaegar and the most high tech of the crew. It’s swift and has dual plasma swords that she can use.

Titan Redeemer has what director DeKnight calls the “ball of death” on the end of his arm. Essentially it’s a giant flail.

Guardian Bravo is another brute force fighter. It has an arc whip that does “very cool things” with.

As a bonus there’s a small jaegar they’ve called Scraper. Because of the previous jaeger, people have been stealing parts and technology to create their own. So we’ll have to see where that goes!

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Next we had some of the cast come out. Returning actor Burn Gorman came out and newcomer Caliee Spaeny. As well as bigger names Scott Eastwood and (my biased favorite) John Boyega.

We dove right into questions after the screams and applause died down. Boyega started us off by saying that the film is “everything you want to see in a Pacific Rim film” which only made people go crazier in excitement.

Boyega also went into his character a bit more. For those who don’t know, Jake Pentecost is the son of Stacker Pentecost. Instead of living up to his father’s name, he starts off stealing and being a “bit of a hustler”. He’s also living in half a mansion. He can’t live up to the legacy of his father, but he’s going to make his own path.

Eastwood was asked about his character. He talked about how his character is one of the best pilots but says he’s “nothing without his best friend Jake”. However, they have a past together that they will have to work out during the events of the film. We can only imagine this will bring them closer together.

When he was asked to compare the action in this film to the others he had done, he didn’t really have an answer. Instead he emphasized that it was set ten years in the future and it has “some really cool stuff”. But this film stands alone and they were able to “dig deeper into the story”.

Spaeny gave a pretty big spoiler (BE WARNED!) when asked about her character. She told us that at the beginning of the film, all of “them” are killed (which we assume is the PPDC). Her character is very tech savvy, and she believes that the kaiju will definitely come back. She also has a connection to Jake, saying that they see things in the same way. From what the host said, she was a hopeful pilot but during the events of the film, she will definitely become one.

Gorham mentions that his character hasn’t “washed his socks in 10 years”, giving fans a loud laugh. But because of his history with the kaiju, he has become a very important figure in the scientific side of the PPDC. They’re also going to explore how his communication with the kaiju has affected him. And we believe it will be a very deep affection.

Then, the moment fans had been waiting for. The trailer! You can see the trailer below and take in all that jaegar and kaiju goodness. One thing to really note about the trailer is the morphing of the kaiji. A new element has been added – when split apart, they can grow together with other parts and become stronger! It’s nuts! The kaiju will also work together more than the previous film, it seems. The whole crowd were on their feet, cheering after the trailer.


Then the floor was open up to audience questions, where people very quickly went to the microphones, making some of the cast laugh.

The first question saw Gorham talking a little more about his character. He now has access to more funds and doesn’t work with his partner in crime Newt (Charlie Day) so much anymore. Newt works in the “private sector” while his character does not. But Gorham was just happy to “be able to play in that sandbox again”.

DeKnight was asked how he was able to make sure he could appease fans while also expanding the universe. DeKnight said that there was definite references to the original film but they were going to dig in further. By, for example, asking why the aliens brought the kaiju to Earth in the first place. He also said he hopes this is the start of an expanding Pacific Rim franchise, which elicited cheers from some. For my money though, please don’t make franchise films, just make good films.

When asked to describe the experience in one word, they said the following:

Eastwood said International

Boyega said Unity

Spaeny said Life-changing

(I missed what Gorham said due to screams from fans)

and DeKnight said Mind-blowing.

Boyega talked about how he wanted to get into a position behind the camera as well because he knows how important the material is to people. He wanted the film to stay true to the original. And, most importantly he said “we got all your backs.” Fans were really happy about that one!

A fan got technical and mentioned that in the film, they learn that Gypsy Danger was analog, so the EMP blast didn’t effect them. Because of this, will the jaegers in the film also be analog in case of another EMP kaiju. Roaring laughter greeted the question from both fans and the actors. DeKnight addressed it by saying they made a jaeger out of sticks so an EMP wouldn’t affect it.

Boyega was asked what it’s like to be a sci-fi icon. He sheepishly grinned and said he doesn’t feel like he’s a sci-fi icon, which got protests from the crowd, assuring him that he is. But he said the reason he takes on these projects is because he’s working with the best people and has a lot of fun on set. He admits that he’d like to take on all the sci-fi franchises just because it’s been so fun.

Our panel ended with another fan question that was videoed in. I was sure it was going to be Guillermo but it was actually Charlie Day! He asked about different theme songs that DeKnight could use for the new film. One talking about using the sword in the jaegar sooner rather then waiting the last minute. He also thought the actual theme song should be “Charlie Day and the rest of the cast” with another verse being “Charlie Day and the rest of the cast, plus that guy from Star Wars”. Fans had belly pain laughing from Day’s musical questions. It was hilllllarious!

And that was the conclusion of the panel! What a fun time. The fan reaction is really what made it and I’m actually looking forward to seeing the sequel on March 23rd, 2018.

The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity in Pacific Rim Uprising.

John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous “Kaiju.” Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi)—who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war. As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to unite together in a global uprising against the forces of extinction.

Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (The Fate of the Furious’ Scott Eastwood) and 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny), as the heroes of the PPDC become the only family he has left. Rising up to become the most powerful defense force to ever walk the earth, they will set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.

Pacific Rim Uprising is directed by Steven S. DeKnight (Netflix’s Daredevil, STARZ’s Spartacus) and also stars Jing Tian, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona and Charlie Day.

Erin Lynch