One of my favorite movies is Pacific Rim, the story of humanity coming together to fight aliens from another dimension. These aliens are fought via giant robots called Jaegers, and the successful operation of a Jaeger requires absolute cooperation between its two pilots. The premise sounds rather grandiose, and it is, but the movie also has quite a bit of heart and features an amazing female protagonist named Mako Mori. The film’s director, Guillermo del Toro, recently announced that a sequel will be made, and while there are still a few years before the movie is released, I have been thinking about what I’d like to see out of the second installment of Pacific Rim.
1. More women!
Although Pacific Rim is ostensibly Mako’s story, to me there is a huge hole missing in that story, and that is the overall lack of women in the movie. Mako often seems to be alone in a sea of men, although a close viewing of the movie reveals that there are often women in the background of the Shatterdome, the epicenter of action in the movie. We do not know any of these women’s stories, not even that of the only other female Jaeger pilot shown on-screen (Sasha Kaidanovsky). Del Toro has shown an aptitude for creating strong women characters, and it’s time he added a few more to the Pacific Rim roster.
2. No compromises with Mako.
Speaking of Mako, she is one of the many reasons I enjoy Pacific Rim as she is one of the best female movie characters to come along in a long time. There is a good deal of plot devoted to her developing relationship with her co-pilot Raleigh, and while the movie could have ended with a totally cliche kiss, thus sealing their fate as romantic partners, the movie’s ending actually left their status somewhat open-ended. Del Toro did this intentionally: he has said in interviews that,
“I wanted to show that men and women can be friends without having a relationship. [Mako and Raleigh’s] story [is] about partnership, equality and a strong bond between partners. It’s important for little girls to know not every story has to be a love story and for boys to know that soldiers aren’t the only ones to triumph in war.”
I have faith that even if Mako and Raleigh become a de facto couple, del Toro will keep Mako at the forefront of the story and not relegate her to being silent love interest.
3. Vanessa Gottlieb.
Vanessa is not mentioned in the movie, but we know from the movie’s novelization that the scientist Hermann Gottlieb is married to a woman named Vanessa and that she is pregnant during the events of the first film. Moreover, Travis Beacham, who helped co-write the movie, confirmed on tumblr that Vanessa is mixed race and also a model. A popular fan theory for Vanessa is that she is a prosthetics model, which goes well with Hermann’s PWD* status. Aside from these few details, Vanessa is essentially a blank slate. Personally, I like to think she is a strong, confident woman, and I think she would make an excellent addition to the cast.
4. GLBT characters.
Another reason I love Pacific Rim so much is the diversity of the characters. Okay, I’ve established that there could stand to be more women, but otherwise the movie is wonderfully diverse in terms of its Jaeger pilot teams and crews. In the movie, there is on-screen representation from the U.S., China, Russia and Australia, and we know from supplemental material that there are many more teams from countries all around the, ahem, Pacific Rim. Racial and ethnic diversity is all very good, but as a queer chick I would like to see some GLBT Jaeger pilots. Representation matters, and there’s no reason a queer character can’t be included or be an important part of the story.
Top image via filmcolossus.com.
*person with disability