Pacific Rim: Uprising offers a solid middle-chapter story that at once bridges with the past while also setting up the future of the franchise. Now that the sequel is finally here, talk among fans that have seen it has inevitably shifted to what could happen in the three-quel.
Unlike so many other franchises, Pacific Rim 3 is actually poised to be a refreshingly novel and exciting end to a geektastic trilogy of giant robots vs. giant monster action. Here's how Pacific Rim: Uprisingsets the stage for Pacific Rim 3, and why the next chapter could be the best of the franchise.
Pacific Rim: Uprising spoilers follow!
Taking It to the Enemy
In Pacific Rim: Uprising, we learn that the Kaiju leaders The Precursors have never given up on their planned invasion of Earth. The Precursors find a route back to Earth via the mind of Dr. Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day), who becomes susceptible to their influence after making a neural link with a Kaiju brain during the first film. It's revealed that Newt never stopped linking with the Kaiju brain after the war was over, which allows the Precursors to carry out a scheme carefully plotted over a decade.
Through Newt, the Precursors are able to integrate Kaiju biology and Jaeger mechanics, creating hybrid monsters like the Obsidian Fury, the mysterious Jaeger that attacks and kills Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Newt corrupts the Jaeger drone program of Shao Industries where he works, creating an army of Kaiju/Jaeger hybrids for a specific purpose: re-opening the breach between worlds. Three Kaiju emerge from the breach, finally revealing the monsters' true objective all along: using their volatile blood to blow up Mt. Fuji in Japan, setting off a volcanic event all over the Pacific Rim that will essentially terraform Earth into a Kaiju world.
Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) leads his Jaeger team to victory in stopping the Kaiju doomsday attack. In a special epilogue scene of the film, we see an insane Newt Geiszler held in solitary confinement by the PPDC, where he's eventually visited by Jake. Newt's mind and is now fully turned, and as a mouthpiece for the Precursor hive mind, he declares that Earth will never be safe. That's when Jake let's the Precursors know they don't have to worry anymore about attacking Earth - because Earth is about to come and attack them, on their home turf!
Pacific Rim 3: Into the Breach
It seems as though the story angle for Pacific Rim 3 has been established: Earth's PPDC forces (and their Jaegers) open a breach to the Kaiju world and go there with the intent of getting the Precursors, before the Precursors find a way to take out Earth.
So, why would such a scenario be cool? Well for several reasons!
For one thing, the new setting would be a very welcome change, as seeing Jaeger vs. Kaiju (or even Jaeger vs. Jaeger) battles in Pacific coastal cities or out in the sea, or on frozen tundra fields, has all been done enough. Seeing it again a third time would feel like total overkill. We need a new setting , and the Kaiju world would be like getting a fresh start to the series some three films in.
Secondly, sending the PPDC to the Kaiju world also changes the dynamic of the story. Stripping the PPDC and Jaeger pilots of their usual resources would make Pacific Rim a survivalist thriller as much as an action movie. Like a slasher film, the group that went through the breach would slowly get knocked off, one by one, as the terrors of the Kaiju world take their toll. It would be the darkest and scariest Pacific Rim yet, and we're pretty sure the fanbase would love that.
Finally, there would be room for a sub-plot in which Jake and Co. are forced to trust members of the Kaiju species that don't serve under the Precursors. Since Guillermo Del Toro originally created that race to invoke "Alien Madness" response to their freakish looks, the Pacific Rim 3 filmmakers would be able to tell a pretty resonant story about seeing past the "otherness" of those different from us, to find common cause.
Are you hoping that Pacific Rim 3 happens? Or is two films enough? Let us know in the comments!