'Pacific Rim 2' Needs to Focus on Mako Mori When It Comes Out in 2017, Please & Thank You
It's the moment that every Pacific Rim fan has been waiting breathlessly for since the first Pacific Rim trailer came out. Guillermo del Toro has confirmed Pacific Rim 2 for a release date of April 17, 2017, so we've got three years to get our Kaiju tattoos and start dying a blue streak in our hair. Del Toro broke the news via the official Legendary YouTube page and revealed that there is also going to be an animated series set in the Pacific Rim universe, which, honestly, has the potential to be either really, really good or really, really bad. More importantly, the original stars of Pacific Rim are expected to return for the sequel and that means that my dream might finally become a reality. What is that dream? Her name is Mako Mori and she needs to be the main character of Pacific Rim 2.
Mako Mori was the female lead to Raleigh Becket's male lead in the first Pacific Rim. Played by Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Hunnam respectively, Mako and Raleigh's narrative journeys intertwined in a manner that, in any other movie, would have screamed Designated Love Interest. However, not only did the film make the amazing decision to never go above the implication that Mako and Raleigh felt more deeply about each other than just friends, but it also made Mako and her story just as important, if not occasionally more important, to the plot than Raleigh's story. If you look at the film a certain way, Raleigh was more of a secondary character in Mako's narrative than the other way around.
We know more about Mako's backstory than we do about Raleigh's. We know that she was orphaned after a Kaiju attack in Japan and was rescued by a Jaeger pilot named Stacker Pentecost. We know that Stacker raised her as his own and that she was deeply loyal to him even if she didn't always agree with him. We know that she was a brilliant student who had never piloted a Jaeger before Raleigh arrived and, with him, her opportunity. We saw her fumble and fall into her own memories during her test run and we saw her overcome it to later defeat several Kaiju and eventually save the world even after the loss of her father figure and mentor.
Any or all of that was more compelling than Raleigh's story as a soldier retired after the horror being mentally connected to his brother during his death at the hands of a Kaiju and his journey to overcome that trauma and become a hero again. In fact, at the start of Pacific Rim 2, Mako's story is the one that leaves us with the most questions.
How has she been dealing with Stacker Pentecost's death? How does she feel about Herc Hansen taking over control from Stacker? How have her piloting skills improved since her first mission? Is she still a loner or has she made more friends since coming into her own as a pilot? Will she ever truly deal with the demons of her past?
Don't get me wrong. I loved Raleigh as a character, but the true stand out star of Pacific Rim was the quiet, respectful, badass, arrogant, adorkable Mako Mori. Kikuchi more than held her own against powerhouse stars like Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba and watching a Pacific Rim that had a female of color as their main character — not as a secondary protagonist and not as a supporting character — would be amazing.
This is especially true considering that, despite making Mako an important character in the narrative, Pacific Rim completely fails the Bechdel Test. Pacific Rim 2 could fix that so easily. They already did groundbreaking things with Mako's story in the first movie and, if they continue in that same way, then naming Mako Mori the main character of the sequel probably wouldn't change the plot at all.
And we already know that at least one person wouldn't object. The biggest Mako Mori fanboy in the whole movie was Raleigh Becket himself.
If Del Toro is looking for plot ideas for the next Pacific Rim, then I would love to see Mako Mori return to Japan and have to defend it from a Kaiju threat now that she is a trained Jaeger pilot and has come so far from the terrified little girl she was when she left it. It would be the perfect way to conclude her narrative, putting her memories of her father, the man who rescued her from all this, and her own dark memories of that day to rest. Pacific Rim 2 could be the rise of Mako Mori, you guys. Keep your fingers crossed.