How cool would it be if Pacific Rim was just the start of something bigger? If next year's Godzilla was actually connected to it in some unique way? If both movies shared the same universe? If all the blood, sweat and tears that went into crafting the ferociously inventive monsters of Pacific Rim was going to pay off down the line in more monster movies? Not just sequels or prequels, but other movies that stand on their own and also happen to share the same universe.
If it hasn't been made abundantly clear by The Avengers, X-Men, Justice League and even the Fast & Furious franchise, this is where we're heading. In an age that's dominated by franchises that drown fan bases in sequel after sequel, our moviegoing culture is evolving to expect something more inventive. Something that connects one movie to another movie in the kind of fun, dorky ways that make fans anticipate them even more.
But why does it have to be all about the superheroes? Why can't monsters have their own shared universe? When you watch a film like Pacific Rim and marvel at the level of craftsmanship that went into creating and designing these creatures so that each one has its own name and special abilities, all you want to do is see more of them. But because these creatures are always fighting our main characters, we can't invest in their mythology as much as we'd like to.
That'll change when Legendary (makers of Pacific Rim) introduces its next monster movie Godzilla. Chances are very high that (perhaps unfortunately?) Godzilla won't have anything to do with Guillermo del Toro's movie, with the main reason being that Godzilla's roots are very different from those of the aliens in Pacific Rim. For one, Godzilla isn't an alien. So unless they drastically change the creature's mythology or make it so Godzilla winds up fighting the monsters of Pacific Rim (!!), the two movies will have nothing to do with one another.
But Godzilla may give us what Pacific Rim does not: a monster movie more along the lines of Cloverfield (minus shaky cam, we hope); one that shows us what happens when a creature like this literally rises out of the ocean one day and begins to wreak havoc. What do we do? How do we fight it? How do we survive using today's technology?
At some point this happened in the story of Pacific Rim, which could've made Godzilla (or the next monster movie Legendary produced) a sort of Pac Rim prequel that stepped back to show what happened when these monsters first arrived on our shores. A chance to tell smaller, more personal stories about living in a world where monsters exist. Sadly in this day and age, because you can't predict the opening-weekend box office of a movie like Pacific Rim, you can't just go and green-light seven other movies connected to it. That's just the way it is.
So instead both movies will be separate from one another, but because they're being produced by the same company, the hope is that each one will offer something the other does not.
It probably won't be a shared universe, but two monster movies in two years is still pretty cool. We can't have everything... but we can still ask politely.