Just six months ago indications were strong we would be getting the third edition of Tron, Disney’s cyberspace adventure franchise that spent decades in the virtual slumber of development hell before we saw the sequel to the original Tron (1982), Tron Legacy (2010).
In fact, confirmation arrived on March 3rd that the studio was in the early stages of working on a version of the third installment, but it will not be a direct sequel. Instead, indications are the movie will follow a new direction based on the concept of the film’s early script.
Tron 3 has been in development purgatory for quite some time, but it started out strong. In 2012, Tron: Legacy co-writer Alan Horowitz confirmed a script was in development, and by December of the same year, multiple people working on the project had given interviews about the sequel. Director Joseph Kosinski told one source that month the film would “blow the doors off the franchise.”
Nothing much else was said in 2013 and 2014, which probably should have been the first sign that the film was in trouble. By May 2015, Disney confirmed it had pulled the plug on the project. The studio also revealed that at the time, it was interested in working with Leto on the film.
According to sources, Suicide Squad star Jared Leto was the person of interest for the main role.
Fast forward to March 2017, when it appeared Disney might get its wish after all and then the rumors disappeared like a wisp of smoke Leto hadn’t officially signed onto the project, but the actor was apparently in negotiations with the studio. At that time, the film didn’t have a writer or director attached to it.
The last Tron movie, Tron: Legacy, was released in 2010 and grossed more than $400 million worldwide. The first film premiered in 1982.
Tron, of course, was a 1982 Disney movie set in the fantasy world inside a computer program, a cyberspace called the Grid. Starring Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner, it was directed and written by Steven Lisberger based on a story by him also. The film wasn’t a hit at the time but was influential with its envelope-pushing special effects.The film represented a pioneering development in filmmaking, being the first to use computer-generated effects in a movie. It drew a cult following in the years after its release, due to its imaginative story.
In 2010, Disney revisited the world with Tron: Legacy, which starred Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde and brought back Bridges. Joseph Kosinski directed. This sequel was darker, a bit grimmer, and with a hint of sexuality that was lacking in the original film, adhering to the 21st century trend of of being more gritty and serious. The expensive movie made $400 million worldwide — good enough to warrant interest in a sequel.
In the new third installment, reports indicated Leto would play a character named Ares, who has not appeared onscreen before but was a key player in that script. At that stage, it was too early to tell if Kosinski or actors from Tron: Legacy would return.
Being a fan of both previous films, I am curious what direction a new edition of a visit to the Grid would follow. It seems likely it would follow suit with Legacy portraying the darker and more grim vision of life inside a computer with the possibility of a new big bad. I am very interested to find out what approach will be used in the film and am excited at the prospect of another visit to the world of Tron.