Tron: Legacy was profitable for Disney, profitable enough to justify making Tron: Legacy 2, but just barely. On a $175 million budget, Tron: Legacy pulled in over $400 million. Not record-setting but not bad either. It wasn’t what Disney had hoped for, given the original eighties Tron was so beloved and had high fan interest.
Tron: Legacy’s ending gave screenwriter’s a natural opening for the third Tron movie if they wished to take it as Sam and Quorra both rematerialized in the real world after deactivating The Grid and rode off into the sunset together. Seems like an easy way to start a sequel, and shortly after the movie’s 2015 debut work began on making Tron: Legacy 2. So where is it? We went into the Grid and came back with answers.
Work On Tron: Legacy 2 Begins
For five years following the release of Legacy, Tron: Legacy 2 was on track. Joseph Kosinski (upcoming Top Gun: Maverick), director of Legacy, was set to return for the sci-fi movie sequel, Jesse Wigutow had been hired to write the script, both Heglund and Wilde had signed on to return, and at the time rumor was they had even decided on a title for the third, Tron: Ascension.
Disney Pulls The Plug
But in 2015, the House of Mouse decided to pull the plug onTron: Legacy 2 aka Tron: Ascension. This was a mere few months before production was to officially begin in October of 2015. Some reports say the film was never officially greenlit, though how production was to begin in October if that were the case is unknown. There were also reports suggesting it apprehension over some of director Kosinski’s production choices which led to the third installment not being worth the financial risk it would pose.
Occasionally, after Tron: Legacy 2 was shot down, various reports popped up saying the project may not be completely dead. Back in 2016, Disney producer Brigham Taylor, who had worked with Jon Favreau on the live-action Jungle Book, still had hopes for another Tron, which he shared with ScreenRant. “I’m always hoping for that. I just had a wonderful visit to Shanghai, where they have an amazing attraction based on Tron Legacy. The designers just did such an amazing job creating the feeling of stepping onto The Grid, and that indelible visual world that Lisberger created and Kosinski explored… and I think there’s a real stickiness to that that I hope can grow into a film or whatever else. So I don’t know what I’d “hint” at other than that I hope for that, and that there’s obviously been conversations.”
Sequel Talks Reignite
Talks began to heat up so much that actor Jared Leto became part of talks to star in Tron: Legacy 2. At first his role was undisclosed but later we found out that the third Tron would be a reboot and that Leto would star in the film.
While both Hedlund and Wilde had signed on back in 2015, their status was not known in this Leto-led discussion. Leto did talk to Collider and confirm he was set to star, reportedly given the name of Ares for the film.
Leto claimed the original Tron was “one of my favorites” and then went on about the potential third film. “It was a huge movie for me as well and I do think there’s so much potential in that world, there’s so much left to be said. I’m absolutely game to try to help in any way that I can bring that to life… It’s something that we’re in discussions about and very much looking forward to bringing to reality. It’s very early days though.”
Where’s Tron: Legacy 2 Now?
While at first it was rumored that Tron: Legacy 2 would be a reboot, it looks like it’s actually going to be more of a sequel spinoff of Tron: Legacy. The idea has been in development for awhile and now according to various sources it’s moving forward.
Adding fuel to this fire in early April 2020, Legacy director Joseph Kosinski had this to say about the possibility of more Tron: “There’s always been an interest since Legacy [for a sequel]. There’s always been talk and murmuring of doing another and continuing the story. I was in China a few years ago and saw them building the TRON ride in Shanghai, which, apparently, is pretty amazing, I would love to experience that at some point. I think it’s still a nice jewel in the crown of Disney IP and I think there are fans and people petitioning and pushing to continue it inside the halls of Disney. So I think it could happen. Like anything, it just needs the right confluence of … it’s all about timing and the right elements and everything’s got to come together for a movie to happen. I think it’s possible and I think it’s worthy of it. I think there’s enough ideas in the franchise, and the fact that it is so unique and nothing else looks or sounds like it, that TRON story. There is, I think, a future for the franchise and I hope they keep making them.“
Reportedly Academy Award winning actor Jared Leto is still fully on board Tron: Legacy 2 and set to star as Ares. You may remember Ares being mentioned in Tron: Legacy as a resistance leader. It seems the new movie will focus on him.
Rumor has it that Jesse Wigatow has been hired to write the Tron: Legacy 2 script.
What’s not certain at all is whether it’ll actually show up in theaters. It may be that this new version of Tron is only being developed for Disney Plus. That could mean it’s a series, though a direct-to-Disney Plus movie (as they did for the recent Lady and the Tramp reboot) or even a theatrical movie seems more likely.
Where Tron Started
Back in the early ‘80s, Walt Disney Productions came out with a then ground-breaking movie called Tron. The special effects-heavy film followed brilliant video game maker Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges, and two associates, Bruce Boxleitner (The Gambler, Kuffs) and Cindy Morgan (Caddyshack), as they are sucked into cyberspace in attempts to prove Flynn’s games are being plagiarized. Seems the Master Control Program (MCP) has become power-hungry and will stop at nothing to keep what it feels is his.
The movie was remarkable on many levels, most notably technical. Rumor had it back then that a second Tron was going to be made but it took nearly 20 years before rumor became reality.
Tron: Legacy is the sequel that followed Kevin Flynn’s son Sam, played by Garrett Hedlund (Friday Night Lights, Mudbound), who is a primary shareholder at ENCOM, the computer company his father worked for before he was sucked into cyberspace. Jeff Bridges returned in his role as Kevin Flynn and also Clu, a more advanced version of Flynn’s original computer-hacking program, more much powerful and deadly. Bruce Boxleitner also returned as Alan Bradley and Tron.
The sequel brought aboard Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) as Quorra, an iso algorithm that can fight and Michael Sheen (Prodigal Son, Dolittle) as a flamboyant supermodel program who runs a club at the top of the tallest tower in the system called End of Line Club.