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Guillermo del Toro Reveals His Twisty, Scrapped Original Story for ‘Pacific Rim 2’

”It was a really interesting paradox,“ the ”Nightmare Alley“ filmmaker tells TheWrap

Guillermo del Toro has given us a peek into the vision for his former “Pacific Rim” sequel.

While promoting his upcoming carnival noir “Nightmare Alley” (out later this week), del Toro revealed what his plans for the sequel would have entailed.

Back in 2013, del Toro unleashed his gonzo kaiju-versus-mecha epic “Pacific Rim.” At the time, the filmmaker said he had an idea for the sequel and was later formally attached to one while working on a screenplay with Zak Penn. But by the time “Pacific Rim: Uprising” (as it was later known) got underway in 2016, del Toro was no longer attached – the production company Legendary had established a new relationship with Universal (the original film was released through their arrangement with Warner Bros.) and much of his original vision for the movie had been abandoned.

Still: what would a del Toro-helmed sequel looked like? We finally have some details.

If you haven’t seen the ridiculously entertaining original film, it follows Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunman), the co-pilot of a giant robot known as a jaeger (since all the robots have cool names, the one he and his brother piloted was called Gipsy Danger). After his brother is killed in a kaiju battle, he goes off the grid, pulled back into service when a wave of increasingly destructive kaiju attacks requires a desperate need for pilots. He teams up with a young recruit, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) to take down the kaiju (who we find out are controlled by little buggy beings in an alternate dimension called the Precursors) and save humanity … or so they thought. Clearly, del Toro had other plans.

“The villain was this tech guy that had invented basically sort of the internet 2.0. And then they realized that all his patents came to him one morning. And so little by little, they started putting together this and they said, ‘Oh, he got them from the precursors.’ The guys that control the kaiju. And then we found out that the precursors are us thousands of years in the future,” del Toro explained. “They’re trying to terraform, trying to re-harvest the earth to survive. Wow. 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.”

That’s right, “Pacific Rim 2” would have had time travel, people in weird alien suits, more kaiju mayhem, and an evil tech genius receiving signals from another reality. Pretty crazy, right?

“It was really crazy. And some elements of that they took and they re-jigged,” del Toro said.

One key difference between del Toro’s “Pacific Rim 2” (rumored to be called “Pacific Rim: Maelstrom”) and the eventual “Pacific Rim: Uprising” concerned Mako Mori. In the film that was released she has a minor role and is killed in a pretty unceremonious way. It felt like something of a letdown to her character, an orphan whose parents are killed in a kaiju attack and who is raised by one of the leading jaeger pilots (played by Idris Elba). She is finally to align her emotions, exact revenge against the kaiju and then … dies off screen. This would have been the case in del Toro’s version.

“To me, the hero was Mako Mori. I wanted her not only to live, I wanted her to be one of the main characters in the second movie,” del Toro said. Us too.

We’ll have more from our chat with del Toro ahead of “Nightmare Alley’s” release later this week.