If you ask fans of Guillermo del Toro‘s “Pacific Rim” whether his kaiju movie deserved a sequel, their answer would probably be “yes,” quickly followed by, “and then another after that.” While the movie didn’t do so well with domestic audiences — the film cost a whopping $190 million to make and only grossed $100 million at home — it was a big success internationally, pushing its gross up above the $400 million mark worldwide. That inspired the studio (and its Chinese backers) to quickly begin work on a sequel, albeit one that wouldn’t return star Charlie Hunnam.
Over the weekend, Hunnam spoke with ComicBook.com and admitted that the quick turnaround on “Pacific Rim 2” was the only thing preventing him from reprising his role as Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket. The actor had already committed to a remake of Franklin J. Schaffner‘s 1973 prison film “Papillon” and suddenly found himself having to quickly decide between projects:
What happened was Legendary was sold to Wanda, which is the big Chinese corporation, and “Pacific Rim”, although it underperformed in other territories in the world, was an enormous success in China. All of a sudden, it became their primary focus to make this and they wanted to do it very, very rapidly… I think their schedule subsequently changed, and I might have been able to do both, but at that time, they were writing the script and they needed to know, was I in or was I out?
Out. As the article notes, Hunnam was actually under contract for a second “Pacific Rim” movie, but Legendary chairman Thomas Tull was willing to accommodate Hunnam’s tight schedule and let him step away from the sequel. “He was like, ‘Dude, you were going to do that other film and that’s where your heart is,” Hunnam said, acknowledging that Tull’s decision was “ludicrously generous.” If scheduling conflicts was really Hunnam’s only objection to “Pacific Rim 2,” then it’s certainly possible that the actor might return for another film in the franchise. That is, of course, if the sequel can captivate North American audiences better than its predecessor did. We’ll find out soon enough when the film hits theaters on February 23, 2018.