'Pacific Rim Uprising': John Boyega goes up against ginormous monsters, traitorous mech in new trailer

Guillermo del Toro has just become an Oscar frontrunner thanks to the 13 nominations bestowed on his film The Shape of Water, and this March, another one of his franchises will be rampaging its way back into theaters. We’re speaking, of course, about Pacific Rim Uprising, the follow-up to 2013’s $411 million global hit, in which humanity commands giant robots in order to defeat the titanic monsters emerging from an interdimensional portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. This time around, Star Wars’ John Boyega will be leading mankind’s charge into combat, and with two months to go before its multiplex debut — and on the heels of its first promo — the would-be blockbuster has just released a new action-packed trailer. (Watch above.)

Playing Jake Pentecost, the ne’er-do-well son of Idris Elba’s dearly departed leader Stacker, Boyega will — alongside Scott Eastwood’s military-trained partner — command one of Earth’s mighty mecha Jaegers against destructive Kaiju monsters when the latter decide, a decade after the last film’s events, to make a return appearance. What follows is a battle royal of truly epic proportions courtesy of director Steven S. DeKnight (Netflix’s Daredevil), and one that — as Yahoo Entertainment learned during a chat with Boyega at last year’s New York Comic Con — will definitely boast some of Del Toro’s unique creative fingerprints:

The great thing with Guillermo is he was always open to having a conversation with us throughout the shoot. We got great feedback from him from shots and the dailies we’d send back. We had a nice touch of his mental brilliance when it came to the last sequence in the third act. He brought out some great ideas for us.”

The new trailer features our best looks yet at the robots-vs.-monsters melee, with up-close peeks at the destruction (goodbye, Santa Monica Pier!) as well as snippets of story that tease a traitorous Jaeger among the humans. In addition to Boyega and Eastwood, we get introduced to 15-year-old hacker Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny), as well as returning stars Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi.

Kaiju vs. Jaeger in Pacific Rim Uprising. (Photo: Universal)

DeKnight too is eager for the franchise’s creator to get a look at the finished product, telling Yahoo Entertainment, “Guillermo has seen concept art. He hasn’t seen the whole movie yet. He’s so busy, I tried to get him to do a cameo and he said, ‘I would love to, but I’m in Europe for the entire month.’ But I can’t wait for him to see the whole thing, especially with the bells and whistles on it.”

Even more exciting for DeKnight (here making his directorial debut) is the film’s underlying celebration of unity, which he thinks is especially timely:

“Part of the message of this movie is people from different backgrounds and beliefs coming together for the common good. That’s why I wanted to advance the Jaeger program forward so it’s no longer a Jaeger from Russia or a Jaeger from China; that these are the world’s Jaegers instead of specific regions. You have to hold hope for that kind of future. Things are so cyclical with history; it seems we’re in the middle of a questionable period, but I always hold out hope. Ultimately in the world, I think there are more good people than people with ill intent. And eventually good will win out. It always does.”

Pacific Rim Uprising storms into theaters on March 23.

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