Production was originally supposed to begin last year on Pacific Rim 2, but that didn't exactly work out as planned. After a slew of different rumors started circulating, it was revealed that Pacific Rim 2 would be indefinitely delayed, with the sequel pulled out of its August 4, 2017 release date. The project finally started to move in the right direction this year, with the additions of director Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil), writer Derek Connolly (Jurassic World) and, earlier this month, John Boyega in the leading role. Today we have word that Universal has officially handed out a February 23, 2018 release date for this upcoming sequel.

Deadline reports that Pacific Rim 2 currently has the February 23, 2018 release date to itself, with 20th Century Fox's Larrikins opening one week earlier on February 16, 2018, and Warner Bros.' Meg opening the week after on March 2. With the release date now in place, it remains to be seen when production will actually begin, or how many more characters still need to be cast. When Guillermo del Toro was set to direct, he often said that many of the original Pacific Rim stars would be back, but we don't know if that's still the plan.

Our report from earlier this month revealed that John Boyega is playing the son of Idris Elba's Stacker Pentecost, who was killed in the first movie. We don't know much else about his character, or if he will be a new Jaeger pilot. If the entire surviving cast is in fact returning, that means we'll see Jaeger pilots Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), scientists Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) and Ron Perlman's Hannibal Chau, who was thought to be dead but was shown to have survived in a post credit scene.

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The original Pacific Rim earned $411 million worldwide, although it cost a whopping $190 million to produce. The prospects for a sequel greatly increased last year thanks to a studio merger between Legendary and the Chinese investment firm Dalian Wanda Group. Pacific Rim earned more at the box office in China ($111.9 million) than in any worldwide market, including the U.S. ($101.8 million).

Despite leaving the project as a director, Guillermo del Toro has stayed on to serve as a producer on Pacific Rim 2. We don't know quite yet what will happen with Pacific Rim 2, but with Legendary and Universal issuing a release date, it's a good sign that the project is gaining some momentum. Hopefully we'll have more casting updates and plot details to share in the weeks and months ahead.