'Pacific Rim: Uprising' Trailer Brings Back the Apocalypse

To the delight of a rapt audience at New York Comic Con, the apocalypse was uncanceled Friday morning, with the panel for Pacific Rim: Uprising premiering a new trailer for the follow-up to Guillermo del Toro's 2013 robots-versus-monsters movie.

On stage to introduce the trailer were star John Boyega and director Steven S. DeKnight.

"I can tell you that the vision of this movie was to build upon and expand upon the universe," Boyega told the crowd. "What I wanted to see after Pacific Rim is what we see in this movie." Boyega plays Jake Pentecost, the son of Idris Elba's character from the original installment, but that doesn't mean he's following in his father's footsteps — at least to begin with.

"You know the greatest heroes don't accept their hero status," he teased. "We find him in the beginning of the movie in a very different place than his dad. He's a stealer, a hustler — he really doesn't want to live up to his father's example." Things change before too long, of course, with Jake coming to realize that "the Pentecost name still means something."

DeKnight, who showed up wearing full military uniform and joked, "I'm never taking this off. I'm going to just lounge around the house in this bad boy."

He said that, despite the Kaiju and giant Jaeger robots, it's still a story about humans.

"There's a new generation of Jaeger pilots who have known nothing but chaos. It doesn't matter where you're from, who your parents are, the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, you can be a hero," he said. Even the giant robot suits, he said, are just "you times a thousand."

That said, DeKnight introduced the new Jaegers glimpsed in the trailer, and Uprising continues the tradition of amazing names: Gypsy Avenger, Bracer Phoenix, Saber Athena, Titan Redeemer and Guardian Bravo. These five Jaegers are part of a new international group prepared to defend humanity if needs be. "It's no longer the Russian Jaeger or the Australian Jaeger, it's the entire world working together," DeKnight said.

Those aren't the only Jaegers in the movie, however; "As a little twist, there's a little Jaeger called Scrapper that you'll get a peek at [in the trailer]," DeKnight revealed. Scrapper is one of a new generation of Jaegers built by rogue inventors, including one played by newcomer Cailee Spaeny, whose character lost her family as the result of the original movie. In the ten years since, she said, "she's dived into the Jaeger tech to make sure that when the Kaiju return, which she thinks they will, that she'll be ready. She's super bad-ass."

Also appearing on stage were Scott Eastwood — who teased that his character is "the tip of the spear, he's a pilot, he's the best of the best, but he's nothing without his best friend, Jake. They have some issues to work out in this one" — and Burn Gorman, who returns from the first movie alongside Charlie Day. "Where we find him is as a man very much affected by what happened in the first movie, in terms of the drift and his contact with the Kaiju," Gorman said of the changes in his character Herman Gottlieb in the second movie, joking that the new director DeKnight "has taken the gauntlet that the Maestro del Toro threw down, put it on and found it rather sexy."

During the panel's question and answer session, Boyega — who also acts as executive producer for Uprising — reassured fans of the original movie that building the franchise out for newcomers won't step on the toes of the first. "This is sacred ground," he acknowledged. "Moving forward, we can't ignore what del Toro did. We got all your backs, don't worry."

Pacific Rim: Uprising will be released March 23, 2018.

Keep up with all of Heat Vision's coverage here.

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