Disney is starting to talk about Tron 3 again. You may recall we’ve been here before. Whispers of a third Tron have been around since the second movie was released, and thirteen years is a long time to be disappointed. But they think they can get it into production this time, to the point that they have a shooting date set for late summer.
Tron is famous and iconic for being the first motion picture to extensively use computer graphics AND depict the inside of a computer as a real living place. It was not a hit initially, mainly for coming out in the same month as ET, Poltergeist, The Thing and Blade Runner (1982 had one amazing summer for movies, to be sure). But by 2010 it had redeemed itself enough for Disney to finally give a sequel a shot. Unfortunately Tron Legacy did not reach the numbers they’d hoped for and they didn’t have the excuse of competing with Peak Spielberg that time.
Even still, there was chatter of a Tron 3. What killed THAT was Disney suddenly being flush with cool properties. As Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski told Vulture just last year, “I got close in 2015, and Disney pulled the plug on it. I hadn’t built anything, but I had the whole movie storyboarded and written. But it was a different Disney by 2015. When I made Tron: Legacy, they didn’t own Marvel; they didn’t own Star Wars. We were the play for fantasy and science fiction. And once you’ve got those other things under your umbrella, it makes sense that you’re going to put your money into a known property and not the weird art student with black fingernails in the corner—that was Tron. And that’s okay.”
No, it’s not really okay. There’s still a lot of potential in Tron that hasn’t been met. The best example of this is Tron Uprising, the CG cel-shaded series that Disney released around the same time as Legacy. It’s on Disney+ right now and it’s a pretty great show. In the right hands, Tron 3 could be the best of them all.
Those hands won’t be Kosinski’s — he’s been let go and a new director has been assigned to the project, Joachim Rønning (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil). The latest stab at Tron 3 is called Tron: Ares and the script was written by Jesse Wigutow. Jared Leto is interested in starring. Hopefully our hopes won’t be de-rezzed yet again.