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Pacific Rim Uprising Will Feature Bigger, Badder New Monsters

Film sequels generally get a bad rap, often stamped with the "not as good as the first one" label. When it comes to Pacific Rim Uprising, however, the follow-up aims to go big or go home, and that starts with bringing even more frightening monsters to the forefront. 

The most recent issue of Empire magazine (via ComicBook.com) details the hulking creatures of Pacific Rim Uprising, the Steven S. DeKnight-directed sequel to 2013's sci-fi hit Pacific Rim, which include Hakuja, Raijin, and Strikethorn. 

Pacific Rim Uprising visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang explained that the new Kajiu–the amphibious species genetically engineered by the Precursors–are deadlier than those seen in the first film. And while they'll all spell trouble for the Gypsy Avenger and its crew, Raijin will pack a particularly potent punch. As Chiang explained, Raijin is a category five Kaiju, and is "bi-pedal, more T-Rex-like." The monster has something of "a Venus-flytrap head that enables him to close up in defense mode," said Chiang. "He has the ability to absorb energy from any attack and then use it to power his body to use it as a weapon." 

Hajuka and Shrikethorn are a bit less powerful than Raijin, as they're both category four Kaiju, though they still have the capacity for complete and total devastation. Chiang described Hakuja as a "praying-mantis/mole/alligator-type thing that burrows," and Shrikethorn as having "plasma spears he can fire" at will. Chiang added that the Kaiju are "more connected" in Pacific Rim Uprising than they were previously; their strategizing abilities may prove just as deadly as their physical prowess . 

Director DeKnight also discussed the sequel's new creative roster (specifically him taking the place of Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro), mentioning that Pacific Rim Uprising will improve upon the first film and explore themes of humanity and survival. "[We want] to take the first movie and expand upon it," DeKnight stated. "Most specifically, look at the first movie and really talk about if you want to wipe out humanity and your throwing giant monsters at them–which is a little tough to wipe everyone out–so was that the full plan? Was there another component to it? That was our big jumping off point of focus."

Pacific Rim Uprising stars John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Levi Meaden, Cailee Spaeney, Jing Tian, Rinko Kikuchi, Nick E. Tarabay, Adria Arjona, and Karan Brar. Here's the official synopsis for the film: "It has been ten years since the Battle of the Breach and the oceans are still, but restless. Vindicated by the victory at the Breach, the Jaeger program has evolved into the most powerful global defense force in human history. The PPDC now calls upon the best and brightest to rise up and become the next generation of heroes when the Kaiju threat returns. Thrust into this is ex-Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost, son of the late Stacker Pentecost, who is given a chance by his adopted sister, Mako Mori, to unite with the world and fellow Jaeger pilots to prevent humanity's extinction."

Pacific Rim Uprising is slated to hit theaters on March 23, 2018.