When Pacific Rim 2 was confirmed to have gotten out of limbo and was on its way to production, fans of the Jaeger versus Kaiju spectacle had more than enough reason to rejoice. With the further addition of director Steven S. DeKnight of Netflix's Daredevil fame and John Boyega scoring the lead role in the upcoming Pacific Rim (2013) sequel, many thought that the path to Pacific Rim 2 would be a cakewalk, but the first bump on the road just reared its head with a big shocker: Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam), the pilot of the Gypsy Danger and star of Pacific Rim, won't be returning.
The latest revelation sent a wave of panic in Pacific Rim's relatively small, but dedicated fanbase, since they were hoping for a sequel to 2013's most unappreciated blockbuster movie that would expand the characters instead of starting from scratch. The concerns of the Pacific Rim sequel basically rebooting itself are given more credence with the inclusion of writer Derek Connolly, whose most recent work was Jurassic World (2015) which, coincidentally, is the start of a rebooted Jurassic Park franchise.
Though the fear is somewhat warranted, the fact that a Pacific Rim sequel is even happening should be something to celebrate since it went through a rough time in development hell and it will be one of the few recent sequels to hail from an original property. With Raleigh's absence now in tow, here are the possible story routes Pacific Rim 2 could take to go forward.
Raleigh Is Either A.W.O.L. Or K.I.A.
The most obvious way for a movie to write off a certain character who won't even show up is to either give them a well-deserved retirement or just kill them. This jarring occurrence has already happened in separate but recent movies, meaning audiences won't be too messed up after the screening. Case in point, Furious 7 (2015) gave its second biggest leading character Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) a heartfelt tribute after Paul Walker's tragic death in the middle of Furious 7's shooting and Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) killed off Capt. Steve Hiller (Will Smith) in a failed test flight that was only mentioned in passing.
Unless Charlie Hunnam manages to hop on Pacific Rim 2 just in time or unless he gets a cameo in, audiences will see Raleigh's character get a treatment similar to the examples mentioned above. Considering the harsh war-torn world of Pacific Rim, it would make sense for his character to either quit the Jaeger pilot life to settle down peacefully before the events of Pacific Rim 2 even happen, or he may get killed in action (K.I.A.) during a skirmish with the newly resurfaced Kaiju threat, which would be ironic since his brother died in that exact manner in Pacific Rim.
Family Bonding Time
John Boyega's character has been confirmed to be the son of Marshall Stacker Pentecost (Idirs Elba), the headstrong commander of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps and the last remaining Jaeger pilots who now reside in the Hong Kong based Shatterdome. Even with Stacker's death at the end of Pacific Rim, his last words to Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) assured his daughter that she would find him in the Drift, the psychic link system that makes piloting the giant Jaegers possible. His final words may not just be meant for Mako, but for John Boyega's currently unnamed character as well, who may or may not know about his father's legacy.
Pacific Rim 2 can introduce this parental arc in either one of two ways: Either by having John Boyega's character learn more about the estranged father he only knew when he was a boy, or by surprising him with the unexpected revelation that he is the son of a war hero. While it may be melodramatic for some, the stories of sons coming to terms with their father's deeds is not uncommon, as seen in both Creed (2015) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Should Mako return, seeing this plot thread unfold in Pacific Rim 2 will be interesting since it will add dramatic weight between Stacker's two children and it would be further improved if Stacker himself makes an appearance through the Drift, thus giving audiences hope for one more epic speech about canceling apocalypses:
A New Generation
Since no one from the original cast outside of Charlie Hunnam has accepted or declined the offer to reprise their roles from Pacific Rim, it's safe to assume that there will be new faces in Pacific Rim 2 and few returning ones. This may be disheartening news but a possibility fans will have to consider. Reboots like Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) managed to work even if only one named character remained (and he was also recasted). Pacific Rim 2 already has Stacker's son as its connection to the original; all that it needs to do is build on his story either through new characters or world building.
In terms of world building, Pacific Rim 2 has the advantage of starting anew, meaning it won't be chained to the obligation of referencing the original too many times. Since the world of Pacific Rim is one where global cooperation is a key factor in stopping the Kaiju threat, it would be a missed opportunity not to show what other nations have to offer, or how certain cultures responded to the Kaiju's presence. Pacific Rim already showed audiences a Kaiju black market monopolized by Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman) and an academe dedicated to studying the giant invaders, and seeing more elements such as these would be fun. Whether or not familiar faces return to show audiences more of a society that was already introduced in Pacific Rim's opening montage has yet to be seen, but what is guaranteed is that Pacific Rim's unique setting is one worth revisiting, with or without Raleigh leading the charge.
58897 43fe0cad-2d40-4eb9-9294-877f86aedc5a poll Will you miss Raleigh in 'Pacific Rim 2'? http://images-cdn.moviepilot.com/images/c_fill,h_700,w_700/t_mp_quality/rmtppqblwqvdwarljusm/will-you-miss-raleigh-in-pacific-rim-2-1073846.jpg 193836 9cd328cb-bcb4-4d9b-baa2-710ab4f57ecf 58897 Yes 193837 5c18f185-b4e9-4405-acf2-ffaaa00e4299 58897 No 193838 b29059d0-d9ba-4375-8bb0-e3b84dfaef06 58897 Too busy missing Cherno Alpha to bother