John Boyega, whom most of the planet knows as Finn, of Star Wars: The Force Awakens fame, has signed on to another blockbusting film franchise. Legendary Pictures has tapped Boyega for the lead role in Pacific Rim 2, the sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 smash. Deadline first reported the casting.
TV veteran Steven S. DeKnight will direct Pacific Rim 2, which will be based on the world created by del Toro and Travis Beacham. The film is set to begin shooting towards the end of this year. Boyega will play the son of Stacker Pentecost, Idris Elba’s character from the first film.
Pacific Rim was actually something of a flop in the States, but it set records by grossing a whopping $411 million worldwide. Universal will release the sequel worldwide, with one notable exception: bizarrely, the film will not see theaters in China, which is 1) part of the actual Pacific Rim, and 2) the country that accounted for $111 million—more than one quarter—of the original film’s gross.
Star Boyega will also produce Pacific Rim 2 with Femi Oguns under their Upper Room Productions shingle (which is an obscure industry term for “small film production company”). Other producers include Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni and del Toro, plus executive producer Cale Boyter. “It is undeniable that with all his talent and natural charm, John stands out amongst today’s generation of young leading men,” said Parent.
“I am very proud and happy to welcome John into a fantastic sandbox,” said del Toro. “The Pacific Rim universe will be reinforced with him as a leading man as it continues to be a multicultural, multi-layered world. ‘The World saving the world’ was our goal and I couldn’t think of a better man for the job.”
Boyega has a full plate going forward: the actor will appear alongside Tom Hanks and Emma Watson in The Circle, lend his voice to an animated Watership Down miniseries and, of course, reprise his role as Finn in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII.
Last we heard, Pacific Rim 2 was set for an April 7, 2017 release. Read our January feature on Boyega and his Star Wars character here.