Pacific Rim 2 was only recently announced and given a release date of April 7, 2017, but del Toro and his cowriters have been considering how to make the second film something special for some time.
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" (editor's note: the neural link between pilots of the giant robots, or jaegers), 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.
Del Toro says he'll start working on designs for Pacific Rim 2 in six weeks. Additionally, del Toro is working on getting a Pacific Rim animated series on the air and continuing the Pacific Rim graphic novel series begun in Year Zero.