Fans of the Tron Franchise Clamoring for a Trilogy as Other Tron-Related Projects Abound
Few film franchises have fans increasingly beating the drum for another installment than ‘Tron,’ the beloved sci-fi and synth-dripped cult hit that began with the original 1982 flick and continued 28 years later with its sequel, 2010’s ‘Tron: Legacy.’
In 2015, Disney indeed began working on the third installment of the franchise, heralding the return of ‘Tron: Legacy’ director Joseph Kosinski with stars Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. The script featured a plot that’s been described by Kosinski as an invasion movie, with the first act taking place in the real world, the second act occurring in the world of Tron or multiple worlds of Tron, and the third act completely unfolding in the real world.
Despite nearing completion on the pre-production of the film, the project was unceremoniously scrapped by Disney—or at least put in a cryogenic freeze, as the director likes to describe it—later the same year. The decision to cancel ‘Tron 3’ has mostly been attributed to the box office disappointment of ‘Tomorrowland,’ which grossed $210 million in worldwide receipts against a budget of $190 million. It’s estimated that the total production and marketing cost of the film approached $330 million, resulting in financial losses by Disney between $120 and $140 million.
Yet simply blaming ‘Tomorrowland’ for ‘Tron 3’ continuing to sit on the back burner is increasingly becoming irrelevant. Kosinski explained during a Q&A following a 2017 IMAX screening of ‘Tron: Legacy’ hosted by Collider that:
It’s not dead. It’s alive, but it’s sitting there, waiting for the right time to move forward. I mean, you have to remember that when we made TRON: Legacy, Disney did not own Marvel. Disney did not own Lucasfilm … they own everything now. But this was before they owned everything, so from the studio point of view, they have a certain number of slots and a certain amount of money to make movies and if you can make a Star Wars spinoff or another Marvel movie, which are all doing incredibly well, a TRON movie, even though I think it would do very well, the question is: Would it do as well as one of those? That is more the reason we haven’t seen another TRON is that Disney stock is flushed with really successful properties right now. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see one at one point.
Meanwhile, numerous Tron-related spin-off projects abound. Disney opened a Tron themed roller coaster in Shanghai Disneyland that’s been so successful that the company is opening a similar attraction in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in time for the resort’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
Additionally, a new Tron video game is reportedly in the works for next-gen consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett, set for a 2021 release. Details are scant, but the Reddit rumor claims the game is an open-world RPG with online components that tie the worlds of players together. The rumor also notes that the game has been in development for roughly three years.
Yet the overriding question remains: will ‘Tron 3’ ever see the light of day—or more aptly, the light of a film projector? Quite frankly, it’s hard to believe that it won’t happen eventually. Disney has filled the past decade wall-to-wall with Marvel and Lucasfilm flicks. However, with the Avengers franchise now complete and the current Star Wars sequel trilogy wrapping up later this year—on top of numerous other Tron projects actively being rolled out—it’d be both highly uncharacteristic and unusually counter-intuitive for Disney to decide against the next most natural step: once again giving ‘Tron 3’ its long-awaited green light.
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