Why 'Pacific Rim: Uprising' and Its Mecha Robots Barely Feel Like Sci-Fi

We're closer than ever to real-life Jaegers.

We are closer than ever before to real-life mecha. We’re still a ways to go from having mechs do anything more than walk and chew gum at the same time, but we’re closer to the world of Pacific Rim than you think.

Back in March, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. released Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to the 2013 picture from Guillermo del Toro. Directed by Steven S. DeKnight, Uprising takes place ten years after the original, introducing a whole new breed of mechs (called “Jaegers”) in order to fight a new influx of humongous alien monsters, “kaiju.”

The movie arrived months after the historic MegaBots battle in which a team of American engineers challenged Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry. The fight took place on October 18, 2017, with Team USA emerging victorious after three unexpectedly exciting rounds.

A few days shy of that one year anniversary, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted, at 4:28 a.m., “It is time to create a mecha.” Musk has yet to reveal any formal plans for any mecha prototypes.

Despite the existence of MegaBots, limber mechas as seen in popular culture like Pacific Rim, Power Rangers, Netflix’s Voltron, or the upcoming Rooster Teeth anime gen:LOCK are still a firmly science-fiction concept.

Robotics certainly exist, as seen in industries as varied as transportation, theme parks, and even sex work. And you have definitely seen viral videos of Boston Dynamics’ progression in forging our future overlords. (Or pets.)

The futuristic technology featured in movies like Pacific Rim: Uprising feels closer than ever. Now we’ll just have to wait until Elon Musk’s next 4 a.m. tweet to find out exactly when that future is set to arrive.

This December, Inverse is counting down the 20 best science moments in science fiction this year. This has been #11.

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Media via Universal Pictures