Why Isn’t Charlie Hunnam in ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’?

Drew Dietsch

Charlie Hunnam played Raleigh Becket in the 2013 film Pacific Rim. When the sequel was announced, Hunnam was originally slated to appear in the following film. But, it’s become clear that he is not going to be involved in the sequel, Pacific Rim Uprising.

Why won’t the star of the first film be returning for the sequel?

The Real Reason Why

pacific rim charlie hunnam
Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket in 'Pacific Rim.'

In an interview with Yahoo, Charlie Hunnam said that he was involved with a very early version of the sequel. However, there was a scheduling conflict that ended up affecting Hunnam’s return to the series. From that interview:

“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 unfolds, which seems bass-ackwards in fact that we’re making art, or at least aspiring to make art.”

After a while, Hunnam spoke out even more about the specific scheduling issue that prevented him from showing up as Raleigh in Pacific Rim Uprising. It looks like there was another project that he felt more passionate about: a new version of the classic 1973 prison film, Papillion. Hunnam went into detail when he spoke to Den of Geek:

“There was a huge scheduling conflict. I was already really, really invested in doing Papillion.

What happened was Legendary (Entertainment, the production company behind Pacific Rim) was sold to Wanda, which is the big Chinese corporation, and Pacific Rim, although it underperformed in other territories in the world, was an enormous success in China. All of a sudden, it became their primary focus to make this and they wanted to do it very, very rapidly…I think their schedule subsequently changed, and I might have been able to do both, but at that time, they were writing the script and they needed to know, was I in or was I out?”

Hunnam went on to speak about the fact that he was under contract for the sequel and could have been forced to return. However, a meeting with former Legendary chairman Thomas Tull changed all of that.

“I had to do the film whether I liked it or not. When I spoke to (former Legendary chairman) Thomas Tull, who is a dear friend of mine, I said, ‘Listen, man. It’s not that my heart is not in this. I’m invested in this creatively, but my heart’s going to be broken because I already was going to do this other film.’

“He was like, ‘Dude, you were going to do that other film and that’s where your heart is. I don’t want you being on set if you’re not going to be happy, so go do the other film,’ which was ludicrously generous of him. But that’s just the type of man he is.”

So, at least they parted on good terms. Maybe Hunnam could show up in a future entry! Until then, we’ll get introduced to new lead character Jake Pentecost when Pacific Rim Uprising opens in theaters on March 23.

Drew Dietsch
Drew Dietsch has been professionally writing about entertainment for over a decade. His bylines include FANDOM - where he was a founding contributor and Entertainment Editor - Bloody Disgusting, SYFY WIRE, and more. He created and hosts GenreVision, a weekly film discussion show at genrevision.com.