John Boyega has just signed on to Pacific Rim 2 in the lead role according to a first report by Deadline (and confirmed by other Hollywood trades). The Star Wars: The Force Awakens star is currently filming Star Wars: Episode VIII, and like his costars is in-demand for his next franchise. Boyega will play the son of Idris Elba's Stacker Pentecost from the first film. He also takes on a a producer credit for the sequel.
Pacific Rim 2 has been in and out of the rumor mill for its development process, though creator Guillermo del Toro - who gives the director's chair to Steven S. DeKnight for the second installment - has been stalwart in saying the film has always been a go. The Legendary Pictures movie will start filming sometime in the final quarter of 2016, but does not yet have a release date reserved by distributor Universal, as its previous release date was removed. Based on the production schedule, it's likely for a 2018 release.
"It is undeniable that with all his talent and natural charm, John stands out amongst today’s generation of young leading men," Producer Mary Parent told Deadline.
"I am very proud and happy to welcome John into a fantastic sandbox," Guillermo del Toro added. "The Pacific Rim universe will be reinforced with him as a leading man as it continues to be a multicultural, multi-layered world. ‘The World saving the world’ was our goal and I couldn’t think of a better man for the job."
Boyega's star is on the rise, with the aforementioned Star Wars films, plus The Circle alongside Emma Watson and Tom Hanks and the BBC animated miniseries adaptation of Watership Down alongside fellow voices James McAvoy and Ben Kingsley.