Disney is considering booting The Grid back up. That’s the word from The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news that the company was considering resurrecting the franchise for another outing, with Suicide Squad star Jared Leto eyed for the lead role. This is at a very early stage, THR cautions. No writers or directors have been attached, although Tron: Legacy’s producer, Justin Springer, will reportedly produce the film along with Leto (if he ends up starring in the film).
The word comes a couple of days after Tron: Legacy and Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski spoke with Collider during a Q&A following a recent IMAX screening of Legacy. He noted that the long-gestating Tron 3 was in “cryogenic freeze,” but that it wasn’t dead, just “just sitting for the right time to move forward with it.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s sources say that this potential new film won’t be a direct sequel to Tron: Legacy. Instead, it will be “built out of the source code of the deleted Tron 3 script,” with Leto playing a character from that screenplay named Ares.
Tron 3, according to Kosinski, would have been an invasion movie starring Garrett Hedlund’s Sam Flynn and Olivia Wilde’s Quorra, who returned to the real world from the virtual one in the 2010 film. Tron 3 had been in the works, but was never greenlit, and was shelved in 2015 following Tomorrowland’s disappointing release. An animated series, Tron: Uprising, aired for a single season in 2012.
Kosinski noted that at the time he was shooting Legacy, Disney had yet to pick up Marvel or Lucasfilm. Owning those huge properties would likely mean that any sort of re-reboot of the Tron story would come up against a high bar, given the box office success of those properties. That said, Tron: Legacy did a decent job of picking up from a film that was almost three decades old. Kosinski’s plans for a sequel “invasion” movie makes perfect sense given what Legacy established about programs coming to the real world, and it would be interesting to see just what “source code” this potential third film could draw from, and what role this new character would play in it.
The question is: can Tron become a solid franchise for Disney? The original 1982 film was an impressive technical feat, but struggled financially before becoming a cult classic. While the 2010 reboot certainly laid down the possibility of a revitalized series, reception to the film was mixed, not helped by its mediocre story and acting. Tron: Legacy did well enough at the box office to warrant some pre-production work on a sequel, but seemed to be doomed by the general state of the movie industry at the time. This is hardly the strongest of bases upon which to launch a major film franchise.
Still, weirder things have happened. There’s certainly plenty of material for Disney to work with if it decides to move forward, especially with new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality reaching a wider consumer base. The possibilities for Tron online would be interesting, provided Disney takes the same careful approach with story as it has with its Star Wars and Marvel properties. Would people turn out to see it? I would, especially if they bring back Daft Punk to score the soundtrack.