An interview with Stephen S. DeKnight of Pacific Rim: Uprising – By Jake Bell


With the upcoming release of the sequel to the epic science fiction action film, Pacific Rim, AVCon was given the opportunity to view an early screening of the film and get an exclusive interview with the director of Uprising, Stephen S. Deknight. We sent one of our AVCon hosts, Jake Bell, to check out Pacific Rim: Uprising and have a chat with DeKnight about the film.

Uprising is set 10 years after the Battle of the Breach, where we find out the breach has re-opened and the Kaiju are returning and a Jaeger has gone rogue. This spells trouble for the Pan Pacific Defense Corps and a new group of Rangers have to step up to the task, while also training a group of young cadets. John Boyega stars in this film as Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, and is asked to team with co-star Scott Eastwood as Nate Lambert to be the new Rangers and whip the recruits into shape.


DeKnight told us how, being set 10 years in the future of the original, the Jaegers would have been destroyed in a time of peace and then rebuilt at the revelation of more Kaiju. In turn, the Precursors would have also had this time to redesign their biological weaponry and make their return as well. This premise gives us a revamped set of Jaegers and Kaiju, each with their own unique, fresh and unreal designs. Months and months’ worth of concept art were designed for the film and only a select few actually made it in. Uprising delivers on some innovative and awesome looking machines and monsters and the stunning visuals don’t end there, with epic combat sequences played out in classically iconic locations, such as Sydney Harbour and Tokyo.

Asking him about what it was like wreaking havoc in Sydney, DeKnight told Jake it was a fantastic amount of fun. There were a whole bunch of places on the cards for the Headquarters of the PPDC, but when it came to Sydney, he affirmed that it was totally iconic for the scene and also harkened back to the first film. In Stephen’s words, “the stars aligned” and the decision was made to do most of their shooting in Sydney at Fox Studios. All of Uprising’s locations fit in suitably for a world set a decade after the events of the Battle of the Breach and give us a taste of a world recovering from dystopia, only to see it all turn back to ruin once again.


Under the surface of Uprising is an underlying theme of people who were once close friends, now trying to find a way back to one another. Whether it be new characters like Eastwood and Boyega’s characters Nate Lambert and Jake Pentecost, or returning characters like Charlie Day’s Newt Geiszler and Burn Gorman’s Hermann Gottlieb, there is this continuous theme of these characters redeveloping their relationships with one another. A theme that gives Uprising a quality of richness to compliment the action packed sci-fi flick that it truly is.

However, the film isn’t all entirely serious. There are a few cheeky moments in Uprising, such as one scene in the PPDC kitchen that sees Boyega doing what I believe to be an imitation of a salt bae with some ice cream toppings and another scene in a Jaeger where a little bit of iconic trolling occurs. These moments brighten up what are occasionally tense or suspenseful moments and bring about a joyous feeling of light heartedness between the intense combat and destruction that occurs in the film. On top of that, there is one other Easter egg Jake noticed in the film, during a scene in Tokyo, which throws in a little nod to a classic series of a similar genre. Do you reckon you can spot it?

As to where the series might go from here, DeKnight couldn’t tell us much except that during the building of the second instalment, they were already planning where they might be able to take the third instalment. He revealed that the idea he has for the third film could potentially blow open the Pacific Rim universe for further spin-offs, stand alone movies or stories that follow the main canon story – much like we see with franchises such as Star Wars and Star Trek. Of course, all of this depends on how well Uprising does upon release and how badly we (the fans) want to see more of this universe played out. Pacific Rim: Uprising is scheduled for release by Universal Pictures worldwide on March 22nd 2018.


All images are property of Universal Studios.