Pacific Rim Uprising's surprising villain twist was the product of its creative team but also something the franchise's original visionary Guillermo del Toro had in mind, all along.
Spoilers for Pacific Rim Uprising follow. Major spoilers!
The Kaiju in Pacific Rim Uprising had a major advantage over humanity as they opened a new breach and took over human tech to launch a terrifying assault: they had an inside man. Charlie Day's Newt had developed a twisted romance with a Kaiju brain by the name of Alice, which lead him to be manipulated into helping the Kaiju attack. Director Steven DeKnight opened up about the twist, having Day serve as the film's villain, in an exclusive interview with ComicBook.com.
"When I first sat down with Charlie Day, I said, 'Look, I've got this great idea that you're the villain of the movie,'" DeKnight said. "And I remember he said, 'Oh yeah, Guillermo [del Toro] talked to me about that years ago.' And I didn't know that Guillermo had also had that idea. So, we were both on the same wavelength there. Charlie really loved the idea. He loved the challenge. He thought it made sense for the story based on the first movie and really just dove head-first into it."
Day, known best for his comedic chops on Always Sunny in Philadelphia and in the Horrible Bosses movies, got to put on a sinister and entertaining performance as he wrestled with his character's mind being manipulated.
"That infamous scene where he comes home and has the oddly romantic encounter with Alice, the Kaiju brain, this was a scene that was added to the script," DeKnight said. "It wasn't in the original version. I went back and forth on it because on the the one hand, I thought it was funny and creepy and cool and odd but I also worried that it would tip that there's something wrong with Newt and he might be the bad guy. Every time we would test the movie, we would put it in, we would take it out, we would put it in, we would take it out. Literally we were down to locking the movie before we decided. It's a scene that always made us laugh and Charlie's so great in it. It's just so weird that we put it in. But that was one of those scenes where it's in, it's out, it's in, it's out."
Further exploring the relationship between Kaiju and human helped fuel Uprising's narrative but exploring the other side of the breach never crossed the mind's of the film's creative due to "time and expense."
"It felt like we wanted to save something for the third movie and make going to the other side of the breach a major, major part of the third movie if there is one. So no, we never really considered going over there this time around," DeKnight said. "What we did talk about a lot, we went back and forth on it, was Newt getting sucked back through the breach by the precursors at the end of this movie. But after a lot of discussion, the feeling was, "Well, let's not paint ourselves into a corner." For then next movie, having Newt here with our people and captured gave us more flexibility and freedom of how to approach the story in the third installment."
DeKnight's Pacific Rim Uprising is available on DigitalHD now and releases on blu-ray and DVD on June 19, 2018.