Walt Disney Pictures.
Who's In It:
No one confirmed as yet.
Who's Making It:
Steven Lisberger (Director, possibly); Steven Lisberger, Richard Jeffries (Screenwriters).
A return to the computer world we visited in the 1982 original, but with the magic of modern CGI wizardry.
Released in 1982, Tron holds a special place in fanboys hearts. It postulated a world that existed inside a computer where programs lived and died playing brutal games under the evil reign
of the Master Control Program. Tron's then state-of-the-art computer generated effects were never seen before by audiences; keep in mind this was before the term CGI had been defined, and
before computers had even been used for creating special effects.
Unfortunately the film wasn't a success at the box office. To studio eyes, the luke-warm ticket sales and a harsh critical drubbing by the media equalled a failure, but the film's dazzling visuals and two immensely popular arcade games brought Tron recognition as a cult favorite. More than 20 years after the summer of its release fans still talk about Flynn, Sark and what color their favorite lightcycle was.
June 21, 1999... Cinescape Insider reports something a little bird told them, namely that Disney is looking at dusting off the notion of doing a sequel, this time utilizing their friends over in Pixar to realize the world within the machine. [Originally appeared in Cinescape Online; reported by Widgett.]
August 8, 1999... A few weeks ago Coming Attractions (and other movie web sites) were scooped that there was a sequel to Tron in development. A scooper e-mailed us details about a supposed storyline that saw an older Flynn serve as mentor to four youths who were digitized and entered the video game world, with the title of the premise to this alleged sequel being 'Warriors of Tron'. After doing some digging we turned up the answer: it was pure baloney.
But then as luck would have it our investigation into the matter of a Tron sequel netted us a very fascinating and unexpected side effect: shortly after we had proved to ourselves that the 'Warriors
of Tron' premise was false, we were tipped off that Disney was indeed developing a Tron 2 project -- and that they were in the final stages of signing the director of the original Tron, Steven Lisberger, to write the new film's screenplay!
So we now have the exclusive: Coming Attractions can now say with absolute certainty that Steven Lisberger has done a deal to not only write the sequel to Tron but possibly direct the film (with the key emphasis being on 'possibly'.) We called Lisberger's agency to see if they wanted to officially confirm the story but they declined to comment about the matter at this time. For now Lisberger's involvement with Tron 2 is just as the screenwriter of the project and Disney isn't saying a word about it. We couldn't turn up anything else, solid or rumored, about what Lisberger's take on the storyline for Tron 2 could be (if, indeed, he's decided upon one at the present time.) For now, we can at least report to you there has indeed been a positive step forward on making this long-rumored project a reality...and by God, we sure hope there's gonna be some lightcycles in the new film.
October 10, 2000... A year ago Coming Attractions broke the exclusive that Disney was developing a feature length sequel to its 1982 film Tron. We also had proof that the original film's director, Steven Lisberger, had been hired to write the sequel's screenplay, even though Lisberger's agency offered no comment at
Now Lisberger's talking about Tron 2. The VFXPro website has posted an article looking back at the original Tron and interviewed Listberger about his memories working on that project -- and then the article confirms Listberger's involvement working on the sequel.
"It's been an interesting experience for me, certainly, to go back to that film after 20 years and really study it and see what it was about from this perspective," Lisberger tells VFXPro. "I learned a lot about my own film. It's going to be interesting on the next TRON to try to create some of the
sensuousness that the first film had in terms of the graphics, but to do it in a digital way."
See? We told you so. [First to tell us of the good news were 'Codex Mendosa', 'Aspirin The Fox' and Guy Gordon.]
January 3, 2001... We were the first to confirm its existence way back in July 1999, and eighteen months later today's Hollywood Reporter finally announces that Disney is indeed developing a sequel to its 1982 sci-fi film Tron. While Reporter states that the film is in the early stages of development, we know that there is a storyline already developed for the project. What that storyline may be...well, that's the 64,000 point question right now. Will it be a direct sequel to the original film, or will it have new characters? Reporter prints a rumored storyline: "The plot is said to follow an ambitious hacker who transports himself into cyberspace to pull off the ultimate hack."
Reporter also confirms that Tron director Steven Lisberger is presently working on a second draft of the sequel's script (which was originally written by Richard Jefferies.) We know for a fact that back when Lisberger inked his top secret deal with Disney in July '99, the contract was for him to both write and direct the sequel. [Originally appeared in The Hollywood Reporter.]
January 7, 2001... Kamehameha chimes in with a massive report on the project, as he claims to have taken a gander at the script. He includes his thoughts and a bit of a script review. We'll just let him get on with it. Cause it's huge.
"The only draft I've read so far was Lisberger's 1999 solo effort, revised up through late 2000. I know, I know, but I did not see Richard Jefferies' name listed anywhere on it. Perhaps this was due to a clause in Lisberger's contract, as if Richard's taking the paycheck but not the glory. I wouldn't be surprised, since the script READS much better than Lisberger's TRON script from 20 years ago. Either he's drastically improved as a writer or this is a ghost-job. But I almost wet my pants anyway because it seems SO cool no matter who wrote it...
"Lisberger/Jefferies (WHOEVER) apparently hopes to get the old cast leads (Jeff Bridges, Boxleitner, Cindy Morgan etc.) to return in their roles, as the modern middle-aged ENCOM executives who hold onto their ideals even in the mega-wealthy Microsoft NASDAQ global era. But the main heroes will be younger newer actors. This makes sense for the story's sense of realism, but also for the sake of modern megaplex marketing.
"From the very first page, I could tell that Disney/Dreamquest/Pixar (WHOEVER IS causing this movie to move forward) IS planning to make this movie a technologically groundbreaking spectacular, taking the naïve/simple notions of the 1982 original and extrapolating them to modern society, 2002 - 20 years later. This is a very modern script, as if the original story DID take place two decades ago, and that in-between during the Bill Gates era, Flynn was right there still working his butt off. Until...
"THE PLOT IMPETUS: A nefarious Orwellian-esque mega SEARCH ENGINE (this movie's revived replacement for the MCP) has been developed, which is more powerful than any other search engine, virus, or program yet invented. This all-consuming SEARCH ENGINE threatens to take over the world by sucking up every single speck of info/data in the electronic universe - there is no security measure capable of preventing this program engine from getting and taking whatever it wants. Corporations and governments cannot stand alone against it... Hackers, and certainly average private citizens, all stand powerless to defend their privacy and livelihood from being taken over by this unstoppable Big Brother cyberforce...which will FORCE everyone to submit to its tyrannical totalitarian superiority.
"Flynn can't bear to see the free world be destroyed in this fascist fashion, so he oversees a newer-younger team of teen/college rebel-heroes, who must once again enter the digital realm and utilize their Playstation/Dreamcast/Nintendo-era hacking-cracking extreme-sports skills in order to battle the forces of the new would-be MCP. (I list all of those mutually-exclusive concepts together, because the action sequences of this script wisely attempt to harness all of those notions within the cyber-realm.)
"Considering the recent real-life controversies over single-pixel web-bugs (which track Net surfers without any means of warning or detection) and NSA/CIA/FBI 'black-box' programs like Echelon (which eliminate any notion of privacy as they can decode all emails, all 'encrypted' phone calls, etc.) this threat of an MCP-style mega-search engine giving omnipotent power to a fascist corporate entity does seem plausible enough to represent a cinematic Ultimate Evil in this age of corporate-conglomerate takeovers and PalmPilots and e-commerce... sort of like another Big Brother or Matrix or Skynet....
"This project is smart for Disney to pursue now, since the world at the dawn of the 21st century is better prepared now for this movie-concept than they were at the dawn of the Reagan era. Society is so much more high-tech now, and most of us feel like minions beholden to monolithic conglomerates and government entities like the WTO and UN. While 1982 had arcades and Ataris, since then kids have literally been raised on videogames - teens today cannot conceive of life prior to videogames, and as of yet no major big-budget Hollywood studio movie has tapped into this cinematic realm for Gen Y youth. (The Matrix was aimed at R-rated adult audiences.) As a bonus, the cast of the original TRON have come into their own since 1982... Jeff Bridges spent the last decade winning kudos for his performances in Fisher King, Fearless, and Arlington Road, while Boxleitner pleased geeks with Babylon 5 (and continued warming older women with cable repeats of Scarecrow & Mrs. King!)
"In addition, TRON was released when 70mm Dolby 6-track magnetic was state-of-the-art for movie theater projection. MOST people were unaware of these technologies, and instead watched movies at the local mono cardboard shopping-center theater shack. Nowadays we've got digital projectors (DLP), Dolby EX digital surround, DVDs, DSS, etc. Audiences are much more oriented towards IMAX-quality spectacle than they were in 1982.
"I only hope this movie actually gets made and marketed correctly, because the brilliant-but-flawed first TRON is a dated masterpiece that was too ahead of its time and thus never got the fair chance to entertain audiences with its imaginative epic story. Back in 1982, most people didn't understand computers any more than they understood alien quantum physics. NOW most of us have come to depend on computers in our daily lives. So the audience will definitely be more interested now in the mythology that TRON has to offer, giving Disney the potential of a profitable summer
smash among the youth crowd as well as fanboys. There will be a killer soundtrack album, videogames, toys, theme-park attractions -- all the merchandise a studio could want in a stylish action adventure fantasy... PLUS TRON's so much more family-friendly than The Matrix, giving Disney a classic safety net.
"TRON 2.0 reads very expensive (state-of-the-art CG) but also seems very worth the money, as it's full of non-stop spectacle of the gloriously fun eye-candy big-screen surround-sound variety... a cinematic orgasm if you will. It MUST be handled lushly and respectfully and carefully in order to deliver what the audience wants, i.e., NOT be treated like another idiotic crapfest like the 90's virtual reality junkers Virtuosity & Lawnmower Man, or else the studio will just be wasting its own time and money as well as the audience's. Disney should take its time producing TRON 2.0, at least in order to make sure this movie gets done the right way, rather than rapidly shovelling it down
the pipeline in order to meet a rushed-panic gap in their 2002 release-date schedule. (Which is the habit that has ruined previous would-be Disney tentpole franchises like Rocketeer, Judge Dredd, and Inspector Gadget, all of which had tremendous potential but were RUINED by ghastly incompetence.)
"Obviously Disney would prefer to have the movie ready for Summer 2002 for the 20th Anniversary of TRON.... but accomplishing this movie that quickly at any level of deserved craftsmanship quality, would be a miracle for ANY filmmaking team, much less Disney which is not exactly known for artistic integrity.
"I'm also curious to know if the FX work of TRON 2.0 will be handled more by Disney's DreamQuest FX division or Pixar, since I've heard that many of the Pixar geniuses were first inspired to get into the CG business when they first saw Tron back in 1982.
"I should note that the script coverage I read complained about the characters' lack of emotional heart-and-soul, as if they were just pawns to the story. While I admit that we usually want better characters to identify with than the annoying stereotypes that the studios usually feed us... the fact is that TRON was always more about the visceral experience of its own machinations, than it was about the interior thoughts of Dillinger, Flynn, Alan, Lori, etc. It's a live-action videogame, fer cryin' out loud. The motivations of the characters were simplistic yet effective for what was necessary. As long as the heroes of Tron 2.0 are likeable and worth rooting for, and the villains are diabolical, I think we'll be fine. While we want Tron characters to be interesting and intelligent, we don't want to focus too much on them AS characters, because in its very essence TRON has always been more of a sensory-experience than a biographical study. I personally don't think that's something to be ashamed of, since it's unabashed pure fun, and blatantly aimed at being a worldwide commercial success. If only Disney will allow this movie to be made with internal dignity befitting the original concept, I say let them have another profit-oriented blockbuster."
[Thanks to Kamehameha for the report.]
May 13, 2001... Medicom is adding to their Kubrick line some toys based on the original film. Figures.com mentions this in slight conjunction with the sequel, and people are excited that toys are their way, but keep in mind that logo on the sign is for the first film--there's no 2.0 involved yet. [Originally appeared at Figures.com; sent in by Benad.]
July 27, 2001... Lisberger mentions in today's Hollywood Reporter that he's working on a third draft of the script, following Jeffries' go at it. Some bits he mentioned: "I'd like the sequel to retain the artistic look of the original, while employing more cutting-edge technology and introducing a new cast of characters. We could do a movie that looks like the original today for $200,000." They're shooting for what cyberspace will look like in twenty years, Lisberger says, and would like to revive the thing as an ongoing franchise for Disney. Also, because software is
constantly updated--Tron could indeed be a completely different actor. As for light cycles? They're in there. Oh yeah. [Originally appeared in Hollywood Reporter.]
August 17, 2001... Moviehole spoke to Jeff Bridges agent who revealed the actor is considering reprising his role of Flynn in Tron 2.0. "Apparently his part is being written like Marlon Brando in Apocolypse Now," the unnamed agent told Moviehole. "The other guy (Martin Sheen?) is looking for him but he's fully entered the cyber world. It sounded like fun and Jeff is interested. We'll see..." [Thanks to Clint Morris; originally appeared on Moviehole.]
December 5, 2001... This comes from a solid source and so we're standing 100% behind what they have to say about Tron 2.0. We can't say more about who they are, but we will print what they told us is the general premise of the latest script for the movie. Thus, we're issuing a mild SPOILER warning for what our source had to tell us today:
"Jeff Bridges character does play a Colonel Kurtz-like character now permanently in cyberspace. The script also features a cyberspace ghetto where all of the obsolete software and videogame characters go when no one uses them anymore. This project had been cold for quite some time until recently, when Disney execs were surprised to learn of the strength of advanced sales for the 20th anniversary DVD going on sale next month (and which may be the best DVD ever produced by Disney). As a result, the sequel has apparently gained momentum as of late. Glimpses of pre-production material for Tron 2.0 will appear on the DVD."
[Thanks to the informant in the red lightcycle for playing the game.]
January 15, 2002... Now that the 20th anniversary edition DVD of Tron is coming out from Buena Vista Home Video, it looks as if the studio is slowly seeding awareness of the sequel in the public eye, or at least with Tron fans.
At the start of the Tron 20th anniversary menu screen, a cryptic promo is seen. After several moments of watching 80's computer graphics and designs (looking as if they're straight out of the original Tron movie) flash over a rolling timeline, the promo ends on the year 2003 and a web address flashes on the screen:
When you go visit that website you're given the impression that you have entered a restricted site by accident. A multiple answer question prompts you for your "Level 6" security clearance. Regardless of the answer you select, you are then taken to a screen where you appear to receive a communique from somebody trapped in the system:
[Justin Cole and 'RustedNova' were the first to get word to us from the I/O tower.]
January 17, 2002... When Moviehole contacted Jeff Bridges' agent and asked him if the actor would be involved with Tron 2.0, the answer (so far) was no. Bridges hasn't been contacted about reprising his role of video game guru Flynn in the sequel but he has heard that the sequel is moving forward. [Reported by Moviehole.]
March 15, 2002... A press release announcing a software company's involvement with a Tron 2.0 video game might have just revealed the name of the script's new lead character. Read on:
"LithTech, Inc., a leading developer of licensable game technologies and tools, announced today the introduction of its Triton system. Triton is the power behind TRON® 2.0, the compelling science fiction game in development that chronicles the adventures of computer programmer Jet Bradley."
[Scoop sent in by Kenny @ Fusionaddict Industries.]
March 7, 2003... One of the most talked about games in development for the past two years has been Monolith Productions' TRON 2.0. Intended as a semi-sequel to Disney's 1982 film TRON, the video game picks up two decades after the conclusion of the film with the son of Bruce Boxleitner's character, Jet Bradley, digitized into the game world. Players will be able to fight on the game grid and explore the worldscape, encountering places and faces both familiar and new to the Tron universe. And yes, you'll finally get to race lightcycles!
After two years of teasing video game enthusiasts, Monolith Productions will ship TRON 2.0 to stores for an August 26, 2003 release. The game will only be available for PC and has not yet been rated by the ESRB. A suggested retail price will be announced closer to the game's release date. [Straight from Monolith Productions.]
May 12, 2003... Over 20 years ago Disney's TRON showed audiences what the world inside a video game could be like. Now, to promote Buena Vista Interactive's upcoming August release of the PC game TRON 2.0, the company has announced that it will reassemble key members of the creative and acting members of the original TRON film at this year's E3 convention. Slated to appear this coming Wednesday at Buena Vista Interactive's E3 booth are TRON cast/crew members Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradley/Tron), Cindy Morgan (Lora/Yori), Steven Lisberger (Director/Screenwriter) and Richard Taylor (Visual Effects Supervisor).
For the game Boxleitner is reprising his role as computer programmer Alan Bradley while Morgan is playing a new character, an artificial intelligence program named Ma3a (mah-THREE-ah).
"I'm excited and blown away with TRON 2.0," said TRON director Steven Lisberger. "It's great to see the TRON universe come to life again in a completely new way through the power of a state-of-the-art computer game."
TRON 2.0 is about Jet Bradley, the son of Alan, who enters the video game world with the help of Ma3a. Inside the computer world Jet meets the reigning light cycle champion, Mercury (voiced by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) and fights an evil that threatens both the world's computer systems and the digital world.
The TRON creative team will be appearing from 2 to 4 PM on Wednesday, May 14 at Buena Vista Games' booth (number 924). They will be also autographing TRON 2.0 posters. [Buena Vista Games.]