While Pacific Rim: Uprising features the return of several key characters from the first film — including Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), Dr. Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Dr. Herman Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) — one character who was revealed in a post-credits tag to have also survived isn’t back: Hannibal Chau, the black market kaiju organ dealer played by the incomparable Ron Perlman.
“We tried to get Ron in for a bit, but the schedules didn’t work out so we ended up cutting that bit,” says the sequel’s director and co-writer, Steven S. DeKnight. The scene in question comes early in the movie, when John Boyega’s character, Jake Pentecost, is trying to steal a valuable tertiary plasma capacitator from a junked Jaeger for a gangster who operates a black market in Jaeger parts.
“(The gangster), played by Nick Tarabay, comes to Jake with a gun on him, puts down a little hologram device, and (on there) it’s Ron Perlman,” explains DeKnight. It turns out that Jake cheated Perlman’s character, Hannibal Chau — which is referenced in a line that’s still in the movie — and Chau has sent some buddies after Jake for payback.
“Chau says (in the hologram), ‘You’re going to go steal this thing for me, or Sonny here is going to kill you,’” continued DeKnight. “I love Ron Perlman. I would have loved to have worked with his character in this movie. The film was so jam-packed that it added like an extra layer. I’m hoping if we get a chance to do a third movie, I’ve got a Hannibal Chau idea, so I would love to see him come back.”
While Perlman sadly doesn’t show up, the movie does include several other alumni of the first film as mentioned above, along with newcomers to the franchise Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian and Max Zhang. DeKnight took over in the director’s chair for Guillermo del Toro, who is still a producer on the project (he was unable to do the sequel due to a scheduling conflict with a picture called The Shape of Water, which kind of worked out for him in the long run).
Pacific Rim: Uprising is out in theaters March 23. We’ll have more from our interview with Steven S. DeKnight soon…