Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, del Toro said that “We are three years away, so to spoil anything would be fantastically silly of me. What I can tell you: [screenwriter Zak Penn] and I really went in, we started with [screenwriter Travis Beacham] about a year and a half ago, kicking ideas back and forth. And, admittedly, I said to Zak, let’s keep kicking ideas till we find one that really, really turns the first movie on its ear, so to speak. (…)”
“It was hard to create a world that did not come from a comic book, that had its own mythology, so we had to sacrifice many aspects to be able to cram everything in the first movie. Namely, for example ‘the Drift’ , which was an interesting concept. [Then there was] this portal that ripped a hole into the fabric of our universe, what were the tools they were using? And we came up with a really, really interesting idea. I don’t want to spoil it, but I think at the end of the second movie, people will find out that the two movies stand on their own. They’re very different from each other, although hopefully bringing the same joyful giant spectacle. But the tenor of the two movies will be quite different.”
He also spoke carefully about which characters we’ll be seeing in Pacific Rim 2, saying that, “I’m hoping to bring the same idea I had in the first movie, that was to make it multicultural and humanistic as much as possible, to make characters from many nationalities or gender, to make them equal in the scope of the adventure, in the day-to-day of the adventure. So we’re bringing a few characters that are new and hopefully doing good work managing those that survived the first movie. [laughs]”
It seems like a safe assumption that Charlie Hunnam’s Raleigh Beckett and Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako Mori will return, and Charlie Day has spoken in the past about del Toro’s plans for Newton Geiszler. Del Toro did retierate that we’re still a long way off from seeing any details of Pacific Rim 2, but he did say that he’ll be starting preliminary designs soon.
“I start designing in six weeks. It takes me nine months to design a movie like that. People see the movie, and they have to see that we designed everything in the movie, from ID cards or patches, pamphlets, posters, signs, sets. I start with a core team for about six months designing the jaegers and the kaiju, you know, so we know how many kaiju, how many jaegers. We are creating some new jaegers and a lot of new kaiju. We start [designing the production] in August.”
Finally, del Toro fans will be encouraged by his reaction to the suggestion that he might include Cthulhu in Pacific Rim 2, as he stated that At The Mountains Of Madness might be a little more likely than previously believed.
“I think there’s a really strong possibility we can do it at Legendary, because now they are at Universal, and Universal, you may remember, almost green-lit the movie. The fact that we now have two studios together that love the material, and if they support each other, they are risking a lot less.”
His reasoning is that he thinks he can bring the film in as a PG-13, rather than the very expensive R-rated horror that it previously looked like. “That’s exactly what I discussed with them. I said to them, that’s the movie that I would really love to do one day, and it’s still expensive, it’s still… I think that now, with the way I’ve seen PG-13 become more and more flexible, I think I could do it PG-13 now, so I’m going to explore it with [Legendary], to be as horrifying as I can, but to not be quite as graphic. There’s basically one or two scenes in the book that people don’t remember that are pretty graphic. Namely, for example, the human autopsy that the aliens do, which is a very shocking moment. But I think I can find ways of doing it. We’ll see. It’s certainly a possibility in the future. Legendary was very close to doing it at one point, so I know they love the screenplay. So, we’ll see. Hopefully it’ll happen. It’s certainly one of the movies I would love to do.”
There’s more of the excellent interview at the Wall Street Journal, including why he thinks Pacific Rim and Godzilla are very different films and why Crimson Peak won’t feature any cats jumping out at people, so give it a look.