Guillermo del Toro has a serious movie out during the holidays: his star-studded remake of the classic film noir Nightmare Alley. It’s his follow-up to The Shape of Water, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. But it wasn’t that long ago that he was making big, dumb blockbusters (admittedly very eccentric ones that, honestly, aren’t actually dumb). His last tentpole was 2013’s Pacific Rim, in which giant robots fought giant kaiju. He didn’t make the sequel, but he almost did, and now we have an idea of what it would have been like. And it sounds pretty darn rad.
As per The Wrap, del Toro said that he was hard at work on the sequel, which would have taken the series in new, even weirder directions. Alas, by the time the film was greenlit in 2016, del Toro was no longer attached. (It was made by Jupiter Legacy’s Steven S. DeKnight and dropped in 2018.) It made a couple bucks but was no one’s idea of memorable. But del Toro’s version — some of which did wind up in the sequel, albeit rejiggered — sounds very memorable.
The original starred Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi as pilots (or “jaegers”) of the towering bots that fight the super-sized monsters, battling to save humanity from extinction. We eventually discover the kaiju are also controlled remotely by pilots, in an alternate dimension by a group called the “Precursors.” But if del Toro had had his way, the sequel would have had a big reveal for these folks:
“The villain was this tech guy that had invented basically sort of the internet 2.0. And then they realized that all his patents came to him one morning. And so little by little, they started putting together this and they said, ‘Oh, he got them from the precursors.’ The guys that control the kaiju. And then we found out that the precursors are us thousands of years in the future,” del Toro explained. “They’re trying to terraform, trying to re-harvest the earth to survive. Wow. And that we were in exo-bio-suits that looked alien, but they were not. We were inside. And it was a really interesting paradox.”
In other words, the Precursors were us all along, or at least we are their ancestors, duking it out see which one perishes: us now or them then. Pretty heady stuff! And who doesn’t love time travel suddenly being introduced in a franchise’s sequel?
There was another big difference between del Toro’s version of the sequel and the one that got made: It killed off Kikuchi’s character — the orphan Mako Mori, whose parents were killed by the kaiju — in a depressingly unceremonious way. Del Toro felt they did her dirty.
“To me, the hero was Mako Mori,” he said. “I wanted her not only to live, I wanted her to be one of the main characters in the second movie.”
In any case, del Toro’s Nightmare Alley — with Bradley Cooper as a charlatan carny who runs afoul of a devious psychiatrist, played by Cate Blanchett — opens on Dec. 17.
(Via The Wrap)