After years of floundering in “development hell,” it looks like the most underutilized franchise in sci-fi cinema history might get another installment.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), “Tron 3” is finally moving forward at Disney, with frequent Disney collaborator Joachim Rønning in talks to direct.
Jared Leto, who has championed the project since 2017, is set to star in the movie, which will be a direct sequel to 2010’s “Tron: Legacy.” The project, which currently has the title of “Tron: Ares,” is based on a script from Jesse Wigutow.
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Leto, of course, we’re all familiar with; he has delivered stellar performances in films such as “Lord of War,” “Blade Runner 2049” and most recently “WeCrashed.” Rønning’s biggest feature to date is “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” while Wigutow is a relative unknown, certainly within the sci-fi genre.
The original, epic “Tron” was released in 1982 and was way ahead of its time. Too far ahead of its time, as it turned out, and its box office success was only moderate. That said, in a freak-like occurrence, 1982 turned out to be a monumental 12 months for sci-fi, featuring release of “Blade Runner,” “The Thing,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” So, tragically, it was an unusually competitive year.
The original “Tron” starred Jeff Bridges, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Peter Jurasik and, of course, Bruce Boxleitner as Tron. The possibilities were frankly mind-boggling, but it took Disney 26 years to realize what it could do with the “Tron” IP. Even then, the full potential was never achieved, especially when you think about how hard the “Star Wars” horse has been flogged.
Then, at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, after the panel for “Race to Witch Mountain” was winding down, there was one more presentation that had not been previously announced. The lights dimmed and a 2.5-minute concept trailer for a sequel to “Tron” was played. Two video game warriors did jawdropping battle in a world that looked familiar — except it had been transformed into something so much more than it once was. Re-imagined lightcycles raced through tunnels, repeatedly smashing into one another. They even had air brakes. The crowd went absolutely nuts. Within minutes, posts were appearing all over the internet; seemingly, the coolest thing in the universe had just been unveiled.
Sadly, though, after nearly two years of hype from Disney — and despite some spectacular set pieces and breathtaking VFX — the teased sequel, “Tron: Legacy,” failed to live up to the potential on offer. And the less said about the ending, the better.
The news that the new movie will directly follow on from “Tron: Legacy” raises all sort of questions. And eyebrows. Fans were quick to expressed their concerns on social media (opens in new tab), in particular with the announcement of those involved.
There have been a lot of shakeups at Disney (opens in new tab) recently, with the firing of Bob Chapek and the return of former CEO Bob Iger. Perhaps this second attempt to reboot “Tron” is a recent decision following some sort of revaluation of the IP.