While the prospect of a Pacific Rim sequel starring Star WarsJohn Boyega is exciting, no one is quite sure what to expect with this one. Guillermo del Toro isn’t behind the wheel, and only a few members of the original cast are coming back. Del Toro recently revealed that the sequel looks a lot different that what he’d imagined — but he also says that that’s a good thing.

While speaking with Collider, del Toro explained how this movie will differ from his previous one, and exactly why he isn’t the one directing it.

The timing started to suck. I had this little movie that I wanted to do — The Shape of Water — very, very much. At one point it was Justice League Dark or Pacific Rim [2], [and] I said, ‘Let’s go to Pacific Rim.’ The reality is they said, ‘We’re gonna need to postpone,’ because they were changing hands — Legendary was going to be sold to China, to a Chinese company. They said, ‘We’ve gotta wait nine months’ and I said, ‘I’m not waiting nine months, I’m shooting a movie,’ and I went and shot [The Shape of Water] and we chose Steven DeKnight [for the Pacific Rim sequel].

As far as how much involvement del Toro has in the sequel, he says it’s minimal, and that he’s letting DeKnight do pretty much his own thing.

It was such a great choice. I mean I love [DeKnight], love what he does, I think he’s really brilliant. He’s making it his own. I’m not breathing over his shoulder saying, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ He’s doing things differently and I like that. When I produce I try to produce the way I would like to be produced. I say to everyone I produce, ‘If you need me I will be there 100% all the time. If you don’t need me, I’m not there. You show me the cut then we’ll start interacting.

It’s going great. I see dailies every day, I see early cuts, I see teasers. They’re doing great. It lets him have his style, lets him have his notion of the characters. I wrote a screenplay, developed two or three drafts of that screenplay—this is different than what I developed, and I’m OK. A producer is in the corner, the director is in the ring. The producer’s not getting the punches, the director is, so shut up, wait in the corner, refresh the towel and wait for the director to come to you.

It sounds like what we’re getting with Pacific Rim: Uprising is more like the start of a kind of Pacific Rim cinematic universe. As in, Uprising is a Pacific Rim movie, but not necessarily a straight-up sequel. Which is a neat way to go about it, since the world that del Toro built with the first movie is so vast. It’s a good thing that DeKnight isn’t trying to do the exact same thing over again.

Pacific Rim: Uprising hits theaters February 23, 2018.

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