Return to the Grid


In 1982, a legacy was born. This legacy introduced us to a theological take on life, and God through the eyes of computer programs living in a world known as the Grid. It introduced us to light cycles, light tanks, recognizers, bits, and a human programmer in the roll of the savior that was thrust into the world of the grid. It was a film that inspired, and gave us an alternate view of our own lives. It told us not to act so robotic in our daily endeavors, to attempt to alter the way we view ourselves, and accept that there is a programmer for us as well. And to some of us that were young enough to simply enjoy the film, Tron was a film that was just too cool to pass up. The Games would inspire us with the light cycles, disc battles, and the Jai-Lai-style liquid ball game. Derezzing turned out to be a nicer way of killing someone, and a few of us started referring to everyone we met as a Program. You know who you are.

Though it did a whopping $33 million in the box office at the time (About $72 million today), and received wonderful reviews, it turned out that the story itself turned most people off. One of the things that saved the film the most was the fact that people were now renting movies in special stores on VHS, and watching them over and over again in their homes. Over time, Tron received a cult following. In 2003 we saw a video game released for computers entitled Tron 2.0. It received good reviews, however was not well-received in sales. What it did accomplish was to remind the House of Mouse that there was still a huge following for the franchise. 2010 saw the fruition of the Tron universe finally returning to the big screen. Tron: Legacy was released, and although not achieving the success Disney was hoping for with a 3D film, it amassed a staggering $400 million worldwide.

Bruce Boxleitner
Bruce Boxleitner at the Tron: Legacy Premier 2010

Speculation and rumors, since even before the release of Legacy, had been flying around that the film would sprout sequels. Producer Steven Lisberger (creator of Tron in 1982) even stated on October 28, 2010 (almost two months before release), that Tron: Legacy could be the first in a trilogy. His involvement with the Tron franchise gave his statement some validity. Around August 29th of 2011, Bruce Boxleitner was signing autographs when a fan approached with a video camera. Whether or not he realized the camera was on him is uncertain, but the fan asked if there were plans for a third installment, to which Boxleitner responded, “It’s already a done deal my friend. It’s already in the works. It’s already in the works.”

Since the release of Tron: Legacy on DVD and BluRay (which had clips clearly alluding to the continuation of the story), Disney has officially green-lit the sequel, even though it is still being tossed around by writers. Disney is also working on an animated spin-off called Tron: Uprising, set to air sometime in 2012. Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis, who penned Tron: Legacy, have said that they want to use the series to explain what happened in the Grid between films. Being so busy with this and their television series, Once Upon A Time, the two will not be penning the third film. The reigns have since been handed over to the writer of the film Eight Below, David DiGilio.

In April 2011, Steven Lisberger conducted an interview with Assignment X describing what he foresees in a third installment. Here is an excerpt:

Steven Lisberger
Steven Lisberger

LISBERGER: “To me, the key has always been that core relationship between the users and the program. I suppose now we’re talking about Sam Flynn and his relationship with Quorra [Olivia Wilde] who is a digital native. I feel that when we created the digital world, and I’m talking in reality now, we’ve divided life into two parts – the analog and the digital. We’re going to need stories that make it whole again, where we wrap our mind around both at the same time and that’s the challenge for TRON to make us feel that the world still works as a whole with both the digital and the analog.”

AX: “It does seem like many story threads were set up in TRON: LEGACY that could be paid off later on.”

LISBERGER: “There was never a full on organized attempt to figure out what the next movie would be. We knew we had to put as many checks in the boxes on this film as we could and see what emerged from that.”

In the near future, we will be finding out more about the production of the third installment of the Tron series. We will also be attempting to interview Mr. Lisberger to get a more detailed insight into the world of the Grid.

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