Original Pacific Rim star confirms he will not return for sequel

One of the main characters in Pacific Rim won't be battling kaiju again in the next chapter of the story.

Charlie Hunnam, whose Raleigh Brackett was for all intents and purposes the lead of the first film, told Yahoo! Movies (via Collider) at Comic-Con over the weekend that he won't be getting back into a jaeger for Pacific Rim: Maelstrom. While he insisted that he's "glad they're making it," the former Sons of Anarchy star added that while there was a draft of the script at one point that featured him heavily, he is unavailable to shoot the sequel due to scheduling issues:

"They have a very definite schedule that they have to film because of the, you know, politics and business surrounding filmmaking. Sometimes non-creative decisions will dictate how something, you know, unfolds -- which seems bass-ackwards, in fact, that we're making art, or at least aspiring to make art -- but yeah, it just ended up being something that unfortunately we couldn't remedy..."

Hunnam did add that he thought the new film would be a "significant progression" from the first, "which you always hope it will be."

Interestingly, Guillermo del Toro -- who's handed over the directing reins to former Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight on the sequel but remains as a producer -- was asked by the Hollywood Reporter (via Slashfilm) about both Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi not returning for the second outing: 

"That’s not entirely true. As a producer I learned not to declare anything about a movie I’m not directing. I can tell you this -- a lot of the cast from the first movie is coming back. I leave those communications to Steven DeKnight."

Del Toro doesn't say exactly who is coming back, and Hunnam's comments about the "non-creative" decisions affecting Pacific Rim: Maelstrom's scheduling are a bit troubling. If neither he nor Kikuchi is coming back, that deprives the sequel of their chemistry and relationship, both of which had evolved by the end of the first movie.

On the other hand, John Boyega and possibly Scott Eastwood are signed for the film, so that remains the good news. But it certainly looks like some major threads from Pacific Rim won't be followed through in the new film, which is due out Feb. 23, 2018. What do you think about Hunnam not coming back for another round of kaiju-vs-jaeger action?

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