Charlie Day talks about the possible future of the Pacific Rim franchise, and the implications of a sequel for his own character
Despite being choc-full of giant robots, giant monsters and Ron Perlman, the latest blockbuster offering from director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) doesn’t seem to have gripped western fans in quite the hydraulic-powered grip everyone was hoping for. Pacific Rim made around $37,000,000 in it’s opening weekend in the States, leaving some feeling a little underwhelmed.
With a cast list which also included British powerhouse actors Idris Elba (Thor, Promethius) and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), the movie was expected to do a whole lot better on home soil, so much so that there were apparently ideas for a sequel even before the first one was finished.
Now however, it appears that the film is gaining momentum with Chinese audiences, and has apparently been much more positively received by the Asian market. Could Pacific Rim save face and claw back some more of its estimated $180,000,000 budget thanks to international fans?
In an interview with CraveOnline, Charlie Day – who plays Pan Pacific Defense Corp scientist Newton ‘Newt’ Geiszler – admitted that he had been speaking with Del Toro about ideas for Pacific Rim 2 while on set. It seems that an original idea would have had rather large implications for Newt, and would have seen Day’s character switch sides in a future outing, turning him into the bad guy.
I remember when I first met with him [del Toro] that he liked the idea of Newt becoming a bit of a villain in the second film
Now this seems like quite a step, after all Newt isn’t exactly the regular image of a movie villain. In fact his contributions to the war effort are actually pretty passive, studying parts of dead Kaiju and trying to figure out what makes them tick to help humanity gain the upper hand. Given this final version of the character, Day agrees that despite the director’s initial ideas, this scenario is unlikely to resurface as a possible plot:
I think over the course of making the film, and the way the character resonated with the audience, I don’t think he would want to turn him into a villain now, but I really have no idea.
Of course all of this might mean nothing at all in the long run and we might still very well get to see a different side to the character should a sequel ever be written, as Day also admits:
Guillermo is one of these guys that his mind is so active that he might have an idea about something and then it’s a completely different idea five minutes later.
Given that the humans were finally able to defeat the Kaiju and seal off their door into our world due to Newt’s experiments which linked his mind – and that of fellow scientist Hermann Gottlieb, played by Burn Gorman (Torchwood) – to the hive mind of the aliens, there may still be scope to do much more with the character in any future scripts. Could he have been more affected by the ‘drift’ than we first thought, are there any residual memories / emotions still floating around inside Newt’s brain?
When asked whether he would like to see Newt take a more active role should the franchise return to movie screens, Day admitted that he did have one or two wishes on his list, specifically revolving around the ‘Geiszler/Gottlieb’ science team taking a more front line position in the conflict:
I’m hopeful that we get to drive a big punching robot. I think traditionally in those comics, sometimes the science guys put together a cheap, dorky version of one of the robots so maybe we’ll get to do something like that.
Despite the obvious hope that we will see further installments from the Pacific Rim universe, Day is also realistic about the chances of anything actually happening.
I also don’t know if it would ever get made. I think because there’s no one in a cape it might hurt our chances of making another one. We’ll see. Look, I would love to do it. Hopefully if it keeps performing this well overseas we’ll get to find out.
So the possibility of seeing Day return to our screens as an evil version of himself, or even a kick-ass Jaeger pilot might all rest in the pockets of international audiences – as well as the minds of writers and directors – and may or may not yet even be a possibility.