Guillermo Del Toro may be the hardest working man in show business, but he hasn't actually made a film of his own since 2008's Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The Oscar-nominated director of Pan's Labyrinth has been attached or sought for every possible movie production in the industry, and is producing or developing tons of projects in the future, but the giant robot vs. giant monster flick Pacific Rim is all set to be his feature film in five years. But it could be his biggest film ever, finally breaking the independent horror filmmaker into the mainstream with an original franchise all his own. That's probably why he's already working on the sequel.
Pacific Rim stars Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy") and RInko Kikuchi (Babel) as pilots of a giant robot, called a "Jaeger," who fight invading kaiju - the Japanese word for giant monsters like Godzilla and Mothra - from another dimension in the near future. Heat Vision reports that Pacific Rim writer Travis Beacham, who penned the original spec script, is already co-writing the sequel with Del Toro. The practice of writing a sequel screenplay before the original film has even been released is increasingly common in Hollywood, where studios will want a follow up in production as soon as possible after a blockbuster's initial theatrical run. If the film turns out to be a success, they're ahead of the game. If it bombs - which happened to John Carter, another film with sequels planned before the theatrical release - then the cost of the screenplay can be written off as a fairly inexpensive gamble.
The question that has yet to be answered is whether Guillermo Del Toro will have the time to direct the sequel to Pacific Rim. Heck, we're not even sure he's interested yet. Del Toro recently signed on to direct the haunted house picture Crimson Peak, expected to go into production in early 2014, which would certainly delay production on Pacific Rim 2: Pacific Rimmer (a title they probably shouldn't go with). He's also prepping a production of Pinocchio and has been attached or rumored to be developing a new version of Frankenstein, a third sequel to Hellboy and possibly even his recently scuttled big budget adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, which has been rumored to start up again if Pacific Rim is a major success.
We'll see if Pacific Rim is worth sequelizing on July 12, 2013, when the movie finally hits theaters with its big robot fists.