Hollywood lets me down a lot, but sometimes it does something that's even better than I could have imagined. It was the latter case when the news broke that John Boyega has been cast in Pacific Rim 2 — and even more so upon the revelation that his role is that of Stacker Pentecost's son. This has brought the Pacific Rim fandom back with a vengeance and, considering the fact that this is a fandom that I have never left, you can't imagine how elated I was. Even better than the aesthetics of the giant robots fighting the giant kaiju were the emotionally-charged storylines between the pilots of those giant robots, particularly co-pilot and co-lead Mako Mori's storyline (played expertly by Rinko Kikuchi, who will hopefully reprise her role in the sequel). If Boyega is truly playing the part of Stacker Pentecost's son, then his role could advance Mako's storyline in the sequel in what's sure to be an amazing way.
The debate still rages on over whether or not Mako Mori was done justice as the co-lead of Pacific Rim. On the one hand, her storyline is of equal importance to, and given equal attention in, the overall arc of the film. She plays the role of the newbie pilot with a dark past and something to prove, while Charlie Hunnam's Raleigh Becket plays the grizzled veteran pirate who has lost too much and has trouble following orders. For me, Mako was a great example of female representation in a film that otherwise fails the Bechdel Test, and her importance, which was never undermined by suddenly becoming a love interest to Raleigh in the final act, is unquestionable. The fact that Boyega could be joining the sequel as the son of her father figure and "sensei" just confirms for me that Mako's arc is as important, if not more important, than Raleigh's.
Stacker Pentecost was the commander who dragged Raleigh back into the world of Jaegers and sacrificed himself to save the world, but he was also Mako's adopted father, who rescued her from a childhood kaiju attack that orphaned her. Though he was overprotective, he never once doubted her skills, her intelligence, or her ability to wipe a mat with Raleigh. In light of that, it might say that Boyega is playing Stacker's son, but all I see is that he's playing Mako's adopted brother. Considering Boyega is the first new character announced outside of the possibly returning cast, is it too much for me to assume that Mako's plot will be taking center stage here?
And why shouldn't it? At the end of Pacific Rim, Raleigh has just awakened from taking the final step required to save the world, forehead pressed to Mako's, the hole in his heart left from feeling and witnessing the death of his older brother on its way to being healed. But Mako has lost her second father, not to mention her childhood friend, Chuck Hansen. (It's a relationship that wasn't properly explored in Pacific Rim, but that, considering the friendship between their fathers and the fact that they were both raised in Shatterdomes, I consider to be basically canon.) She didn't lose, Raleigh, sure, but she's known him for less time than she's known either of those men even though, thanks to the Drift, she knows him a hell of a lot better. Mako is the one whose plot is left dangling with enough threads to weave into a sequel, even one that's said to follow main characters Newton Geiszler and Hermann Gottlieb.
Enter Boyega, whose role already invites so many questions about him and Mako. What is their relationship to each other? Where was he in the first movie? Has she been in contact with him, or are they, for some reason, estranged? How do they come back into each other's lives for the sequel? When do we get the fanart of these two playing as children around the Shatterdome together? Just like that, fans are talking more about Boyega and Mako than they are about that Raleigh guy. (Not that I don't love that Raleigh guy.)
News about Pacific Rim 2 is always few and far between, but one thing is for certain: if we don't get some adorable sibling bonding between Boyega and Kikuchi, the fans (and especially I), might actually revolt.