Ever since the release of Tron: Legacy in 2010 I want to see a third sequel – Tron 3. The many years it took to make the sequel to the 1982 original Tron still stand vivid in my memory. Despite Tron: Legacy not being as good as I had hoped not performing that well at the box office I still held hope for Tron 3. The beautiful art direction, cinematography, soundtrack by Daft Punk and the intriguing cliffhanger gave me hopes there would be more. Yet, as I mentioned the movie was not a box office success, neither was the original in 1982. Tron: Legacy was director Joseph Kosinski’s large budget debut. While he did his duties well neither his name nor many of the cast stood out at the time – Olivia Wilde excepting. So that is why the development of Tron 3 never started in earnest. Until now.
A few years ago Joseph Kosinski admitted Tron 3 would probably not happen. Soon afterwards rumors yet again returned. This time actor Jared Leto was attached for a lead role. Such a rumor is usually indicative that Kosinski passed the torch to someone else. Now we know Disney is actively working on a third Tron movie. Yet, the questions is why? I know why I like Tron, but then I am a geek. Being sucked into a computer and exploring the digital realm has been a fantasy since I first saw Tron on TV in the early 90s. Since that time that idea has not disappeared, especially considering how the world is connected through the internet. Now Disney is yet again returning to a franchise which if we are being generous is part of their B-list of ever expanding franchises. According to insiders this is a risky move.
Jared Leto announces Tron: Ares
In June Disney music head Mitchell Leib confirmed that a script is finished and that Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski might return. Disney was even hoping Daft Punk perform the soundtrack. So far so good. Yet the question arises, why is Disney even interested? After 10 years, most people have forgotten Tron: Legacy, so another soft reboot will be in order. If two movies, an animated series and several games were just a modest success why not focus on another franchise? Then, in late July the news came that Jared Leto was indeed attached. Which is remarkably as the actor has no connection with the franchise until now. A few days ago Disney made a new choice of director, it was to be Garth Davis. His previous directing career has not been remarkable, with last year’s Mary Magdalene and several episodes of Top of the Lake to his name.
History appears to be repeating itself in that regard. As for Jared Leto, when he first entered into the picture he was to play a character named Ares. Now the title for Tron 3 has officially become Tron: Ares. The question is, will this new iteration still continue the story of Tron: Legacy? The screenplay of which was written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis. Neither appear involved this time. Instead, Jesse Wigutow wrote it. So, did the character Ares originate with Joseph Kosinski’s abortive sequel? If so, why was that sequel cancelled in favor of a movie focusing on what would presumably be the villain? And does all this mean that we won’t see Garret Hedlund and Olivia Wilde in Tron: Ares. Meanwhile Jared Leto has voiced is pleasure in playing in the movie. He states that playing the original arcade game in his youth was a huge inspiration.
What should Tron 3 be about?
It could well be that Jared Leto is major driving force behind this production. But who is Ares. Some fans have speculated he might be the digital alter-ego of Cillian Murphy’s Edward Dillinger, Jr. It was a strange role after all. Murphy appeared for just one scene. So, from what kind of angle might Disney tackle Tron: Ares. After Legacy it was suggested most of the story might take place outside of the digital realm in the real world. Olivia Wilde even suggested that her character’s story might emulate that of Daryl Hannah’s character from Splash. That might provide a larger appeal. Whatever Disney decides they will have to accept that not everyone will understand the promotion material. If people don’t understand the concept, they will not buy the box office tickets. The Matrix had the advantage that it looked like the real world, Tron: Ares does not.
Several websites have jumped on the bandwagon to criticize the move. And they make a fair point. An article on Forbes written by Scott Mendelson went so far as to state that when a sequel is produced just because the studio wants it chances are it will flop. While the movies he cites were indeed crap Disney has made a fortune on sequels, surely they will understand the risk. Maybe. The author makes a point that Disney failed to realize the story of Pirates of the Caribbean was as much Elizabeth Swann’s as it was Jack Sparrow’s. And we all know how that franchise was flushed down the drain. If none of the Tron: Legacy characters will return than why should fans? And so Disney has started production of a sequel which can be conservatively be stated as being controversial. But if it has the Tron vibe? Why not?
I will be there for the vibe
So far no announcements have been made regarding its release date. I suspect no earlier than late 2022 at the earliest. I just hope any sequel will be able create that unique cinematic feeling I felt when I saw Tron: Legacy. To actually be able to believe that what I am seeing on the big screen could happened inside a computer. If it can do that it will at least be able to draw me to the theater half a dozen times. Meanwhile I do have to post a caveat around the title of Tron: Ares. While it does come from a post by Jared Leto nothing official has been announced. On a side note, I wrote an article years ago analyzing what computer commands were used in Tron: Legacy. Read it if you are interested. Otherwise don’t forget to hit the subscribe widget for more Tron news.