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This article contains early or scrapped production information about Legendary Pictures's Pacific Rim, and is intended to work as a history book on the film's development progress.


This article is about the cancelled animated series. You may be looking for the Netflix animated series.


"We’re formulating ideas that are, again, interesting and not the usual route, but the series tackles the stories that happened to pilots working in the Shatterdome, but also cadets learning how to become pilots. All of this happens prior to the first movie, and it gives you a little more depth into the background of certain characters that will appear in the second movie."
—Guillermo del Toro[1]

Pacific Rim: Steel Warriors[2] was an animated series announced by Guillermo del Toro and Legendary Entertainment.

Background

Pre-Production

On June 26, 2014, director Guillermo del Toro announced on BuzzFeed that he and Legendary Pictures was working to produce the sequel to Pacific Rim.[3] In the same video announcement, del Toro also announced that Legendary would work with him to produce an animated series and an then-ongoing comic book title until the sequel's then-release date in April of 2017.[3]

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, del Toro explained they were looking into the possibility of networks.[1] Legendary Pictures was looking into all network possibilities, but del Toro would not disclose who specifically.[4] “I think in this series, it would be great to find a place that can give it a proper presentation and can advertise the creation of the series. So we’re open to being pleasantly surprised everywhere.”

He specified that they were searching for Japanese animation companies with strong animation background and compiling writers for the series.[4] del Toro estimated that the animated series would have run for two years on the air by the time the Pacific Rim sequel was released in theaters in 2017, while the ongoing comic book title would have run for three years.[1][note 1]

Series name and artwork

In 2017 multimedia illustrator Tommy Lee Edwards updated his ArtStation profile with key frame artwork, illustrations, and character concepts for the series, Pacific Rim: Steel Warriors.[2] According to the description, Pacific Rim: Steel Warriors was being produced by Legendary with animation studio Film Roman. The series was in pre-production as late as December 2014.[2][note 2]

Model sheets described two characters named Pat Dixon and Arthur Windsor. Edwards worked on the project as art director with artists Don Cameron, Daryl Bartley, Troy Nixey, and John Paul Leon.[note 3][2]

Format

With regard to the story, del Toro stated that he was looking for a way the series could tackle the stories of established Rangers working in the Shatterdome, as well as cadets working to become Jaeger pilots. The series would also delve deeper into the Drift, specifically, what is required of and what it does to a pilot.[1]

The animated series would've taken place before the events of the first film, acting as a bridge between the two films.[4] It would also establish background on characters that would've appeared in the original story for the Pacific Rim sequel.[1]

The series would've been written as a single arc instead of episodic. Thirteen episodes long, the series would've elaborated further on the evolution of the Kaiju, the Precursors, and the technology of the Jaegers themselves. If television series was successful, the series itself would continue to build using a single story arc and avoid "weekly adventures". “I don’t want it to be like Chapter One is a little action thing and it gets resolved in 40 minutes or an hour and then the next episode, [it’s like] nothing happened. My favorite anime series always have a long arc.”[4]

Cancellation

Following the announcement of Steven S. DeKnight as director for Pacific Rim Uprising in 2016[5], the animated series as originally conceived was scrapped. In an April 2017 interview with Collider.com, del Toro hoped that the animated series would still come to fruition.[6][7]

September 2018, Legendary announced a reconceptualized animated series as part of their partnership with Netflix.[8][9] Animated by Polygon Pictures, the series debuted March 4, 2021.[10]

Trivia

  • Noted Japanese animation director, Masami Ōbari expressed an interest in animating the opening of the animated series.[11][note 4]

Gallery

Key Frame Artwork

Concept Art

Notes

  1. del Toro: "[...]I was incredibly happy with the comic book series that came about from a graphic novel called “Tales From Year Zero,” and we are continuing the tales for the next three years. So by the time the second movie comes out, you will have probably one year of the animation airing, and you will have three years of the comic book series ongoing, so we are trying for all these things to be canon, to be in the same universe, to not wing anything, so that if anyone … a lot of kids, for example, have discovered “Pacific Rim” through the toys. They come in through the toys, and then they watch the movie, and then they learn this, they learn that through the movie or the comic book series, so we’re trying to make it canon so we can expand the universe. And by the time we come into the second movie, you have a good feel for the world, and we can dedicate ourselves to character and ideas and spectacle."
  2. Edwards's original save file names are dated "tommy-lee-edwards-screen-shot-2014-12-11-at-4:26pm" (December 11, 2014)
  3. Tommy Lee Edwards: "I was art directing a PACIFIC RIM animated series for Film Roman and Legendary for a short while. Here are some of my key-frames, character designs, and concept illustrations. I had some great collaborators on this project, including Don Cameron, Troy Nixey, Daryl Bartley, and John Paul Leon."
  4. Original: 2017年公開予定の2に先駆けてパシフィック・リムのTVアニメシリーズか… OPアニメやりたいなあ…( ̄ω ̄).
    Translated: "A Pacific Rim animated TV series ahead of the 2017 release of 2... I want to do the OP animation....."

References

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