When it was revealed that Charlie Hunnam would not be returning for the Pacific Rim sequel, fans were in shock and uproar. And Hunnam explained why he was not able to come back for Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Hunnam, who played pilot Raleigh Beckett, had originally planned to come back. However, there were schedule conflicts with a project he had dreamed of working on. That dream project? A remake of the 1973 crime movie Papillon. Thomas Tull, who left Legendary Pictures as their chairman just before production on Uprising began, gave his full support for Hunnam. Here’s what Hunnam said.

“When I spoke to 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.”

Instead of Beckett leading the way, the new lead comes in the form of Pentecost, the son of Idris Elba‘s terminally ill commander, played by John Boyega. However, original stars Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorham are returning alongside new cast members Boyega, Adria Arjona, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, and Max Zhang.

Steven S. DeKnight is directing with the original film’s director Guillermo del Toro serving as a producer. The film is due for release in 2018.

H/T: Dark Horizons