JAEGERCON INTERVIEWS - TRAVIS BEACHAM - WRITER
1. If Newt taught us anything, it’s that drift tech has uses beyond piloting Jaegers. Now that the rift is closed and the last of the Jaegers have been destroyed, how do you think drift tech will evolve? What other uses do you think it will be put to? - Question by Kiely
Travis Beacham: I realize it’s a bit of a cop-out, but all I can say is cross your fingers for the sequel.
2. Pacific Rim spends a good amount of time explaining how important the Drift is for operating the Jaegars and for mental sync between beings. When a pilot access the Drift, does a portion of their consciousness remain? When Pentecost tells Mako that “[she]could always find him in the Drift,” was it simply metaphorical? - Question by Jennifer & Justina
Travis Beacham: It’s difficult to explain, but again, it’s something that will become clearer in future stories.
3. It’s clear a lot of thought went into each of the Jaegers, and we know that Herc Hansen has piloted a Jaeger in every generation. Since Lucky Seven is the one referenced the most, could you tell us anything about it? - Question by Lexi
Travis Beacham: Herc only piloted one Jaeger before Striker Eureka and his first co-pilot was his brother Scott Hansen. But Herc didn’t lose his brother in combat. Scott was a consummate n’er-do-well, a problem gambler and aggressive Lothario. And the fame and attention lavished on Jaeger pilots only further complicated his worst qualities. Scott was finally drummed out of the service after being reported by Herc for a severe but undisclosed infraction that Herc witnessed in the drift. The nature of what Herc saw in Scott’s memory remains officially undisclosed, but it was sufficiently unsettling to trip up their sortie and leave the Jaeger they were piloting almost destroyed. This episode has been a subject of much shame and guilt on Herc’s behalf for quite some time and it’s something that he remains reliably unwilling to discuss in any detail. Fortunately, by the time Scott had parted ways with Herc, Striker Eureka was being deployed and Herc’s son, Chuck, was old enough to join his father in the conn-pod.
4. I responded really well to the platonic relationship between Raleigh and Mako. I wonder if you could talk a bit about why you decided to make it platonic and not romantic. (I’m so glad that you did!)
Travis Beacham: It just worked out that way. A lot about character development is giving your characters the chance to make their own human choices. You can’t really force them to act out your priorities. I’m not opposed to romantically-inclined stories on the whole. Falling in love is a genuine facet of the human condition and can be a powerful driving force in drama, but it’s crucial that it comes across as sincere, not obligatory. In so many genre films, the two leads simply coast through the beats of a two-hour romance whether it makes any sense or not. It’s difficult to be that flip about it when you’re dealing with a conceit as intimate as the drift. You really have to justify the trajectory. In any case, I feel like there’s more story to tell with all of these characters, and even I can’t really say who exactly Raleigh and Mako will be to one another when all is said and done. But I’m determined that where ever we finally leave everyone, it will feel earned.
5. Is there anything that just didn’t make it into the movie that you really wish had been there? Any little bit of backstory or piece of dialogue or visual or anything like that? - Question by Madstatler
Travis Beacham: There was initially quite a bit more about how the drift worked, and the various implications and side effects, a lot of which I still hope to get into later. Also, the Jaeger Tacit Ronin was at one point more prominently featured. I still really like the design they did for her, and I have quite a few ideas about her crew and their story.
6. Were you expecting such a big fan response to the movie? Especially on Tumblr, all I see is Pacific Rim. It’s fantastic!
Travis Beacham: I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s been such a rewarding part of the journey, all the creativity and passion that the concept has inspired in its audience. Beyond all the great mechs and monsters, I’m especially gratified that the human characters have grown to mean so much to the fans. I’ve spent so much time with Mako, Raleigh, and the rest that they’ve become like family to me. It’s really moving to see people discover them and fall in love with them.
7. One of my favorite things about Pacific Rim is that the movie shows the end of the story - there are years of fighting and construction that have already passed. Will we ever find out what happened in those years?
Travis Beacham: That’s definitely the intention. We very carefully built the whole world in which the movie is set, and we deliberately left a lot of it to be explored in some form or another.
8. Was there one scene that, when you watch the movie, makes you especially happy? A scene that you were thrilled to see make it to the big screen?
Travis Beacham: That would have to be Mako’s flashback. The way Guillermo constructed it, along with Rinko and Mana’s performance, it all lends such a baseline sense of humanity to this elevated world. That feel has always been such an important part of the idea.
9. One of the things about Pacific Rim that seems to resonate so deeply with the fans is the diversity of characters - almost everyone is a different nationality. Did you ever have trouble convincing the studios involved to stay true to that?
Travis Beacham: Not really. I think it’s a credit to the higher-ups involved that they implicitly understood that to be vital to the concept.
10. I don’t know if you want to play favorites, but I am sure the fands would like to know! Do you have a favorite Jaeger, and a favorite Kaiju?
Travis Beacham: That is a very difficult question. It’s a bit like splitting hairs trying to isolate a favorite, and it depends a lot on what sort of mood I’m in. I suppose I’ve always had a soft spot for Gipsy Danger. I wish we could’ve seen more of Coyote Tango and Tacit Ronin. On the kaiju side, Knifehead was the first design that I saw. That lends him something of a nostalgic air to me. I also quite like Slattern though. And Karloff (who isn’t heavily featured in the film but does appear in the graphic novel) is one design I’d really like to see a toy of.
Our thanks to Travis Beacham (the man who gave us this story!) for taking the time to answer our questions.
WRITTEN BY PETER HOGAN. ART BY CHRIS SPROUSE. INKS BY KARL STORY. COLORS BY JORDIE BELLAIRE. LETTERS BY TODD KLEIN. CREATED BY ALAN MOORE AND CHRIS SPROUSE.
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