It’s the weekend after the news announcements before! Grab a coffee, snag a pastry and let’s do some design-based giant robot speculation! YAAAAAAY!
So by now you’ve probably seen the Pacific Rim: Uprising licensing image that’s been doing the rounds. We don’t have names attached yet but these are the core Jaegers for the movie. And the thing is, we’re pretty sure we don’t need their names to figure out who they are. Because, if we’re right, every single one of those Jaegers is a second generation take on a design from the original movie.
Let’s start with the red chap on the left of the poster. The colour scheme screams “Chinese Jaeger” to us after Crimson Typhoon in the original. The design as well is very interesting and speaks pretty strongly to the aesthetic that the three-armed original followed. It’s the lightest Jaeger of the three and it looks poised and ready to go. Everything about its design feels fast, and that speed and manoeuvrability was the core of Crimson Typhoon too.
Where it gets interesting is in the head, back and chest. The head is especially odd when you place it next to the other two in the poster. We know American Jaeger are driven from the head and even the Russian, chest-mounted cockpit is two people wide. This mech has a very, very narrow head. It echoes the camera/targeting system rig that Crimson Typhoon had there but it may also mean something else:
This may be a Jaeger designed to be piloted solo.
The first film went into huge detail about how both Raleigh and Stacker pay heavy prices for flying solo but it’s the exact innovation that would make the most sense. Cut the need to Drift, maximise the responsiveness of the Jaeger and you have a single pilot who can think and react far faster, in theory, than two. It also makes perfect sense for the Chinese Jaeger program to head this way in the wake of the Crimson Typhoon disaster. They lost three pilots at once there, so it makes sense to backing away from that approach.
Then there’s the Jaeger’s back. That looks like a single fin, which in turn calls to mind Tacit Ronin, one of the original Jaegers glimpsed in the first movie. But, it might, just be something else. Go take a look at the chest panels on the red Jaeger.
Is it just us, or does that look like an animal’s head?
Now take a look at the neckline around the head.
…Kinda looks like it folds in doesn’t it?
We have no evidence for this beyond this single image but there’s a possibility that this Jaeger changes shape. An armoured, animal-evoking central chest area would be the best possible protection for the pilot(s) and if that’s a dragon then it’s a pretty clear stamp of national identity. Plus it’d look BADASS. And with the Transformers movies riding high and the Power Rangers film imminent “big monster punching shape-changing robot” is very much in the air.
Do we sense some shape-shifting?
The interesting thing is, over on the right of the poster, there’s also (a bit) of evidence for shape-changing Jaegers. That gorgeous hunk of angry cybernetic muscle has to be this movie’s Cherno Alpha. The colour scheme is similar, the “angry ANGRY dustbin” stature is there and it even has what looks a lot like Cherno’s chest cockpit. Also that thing has about one and a half times the sheer mass of either of the other two Jaegers. That, right there, is a Russian Monster Puncher and if we’re wrong then we’ll take 10 laps round the Shatterdome.
Now, take a look at the big guy’s shoulders. Those plates, combined with the recessed head, look an awful lot like they slide upwards to protect the cockpit. Again, given what happened to the Becket brothers that’s a design change that makes a lot of sense.
But where the big guy gets really interesting is around his chest. That little splash of gold is what convinces us, more than anything else, that this is a Russian Jaeger. It looks very similar to Cherno’s chest-mounted cockpit. Throw in what appear to be the trackable artillery emplacements on either side of it and that really does seem to be the Jaeger’s cockpit. But if so, what’s in the head? Is this a four person Jaeger? It certainly looks big enough to (maybe) warrant it.
Finally, front and centre we have what can only be Gipsy Danger 2.0. Seriously, we cheerfully admit that everything we’re saying here could be completely off-base… aside from this: that’s a Gipsy Danger of some sort.
The turbine looks very similar, the stance and colour scheme are all but identical and the kicker? Look at the frame, specifically the pelvis and the shoulder blades. The Jaeger’s lower torso is almost identical to GD and the shoulder blades look like an evolution of GD’s “Dracula cape”. Even the cockpit, although streamlined, looks similar. We’re betting this isn’t just John Boyega’s character’s ride, this is a second generation Gipsy Danger. Meaning that Kaiju-punching is a family business for both the pilot and the Jaeger this time.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is out next year and we honestly can’t wait. The original is a favourite here at MCM Towers and the thought of more colossal Jaeger/Kaiju dust ups has us positively giddy. If you’re the same, here’s something to tide you over.