This is Rumor Control. Here are the facts.
2011’s TRON: Legacy is considered a decent follow-up to the 1982 original, albeit one that may have come a tad too late. It received mixed reviews from critics, who heaped tons of praise on the visual effects, production design and the synthwave inspired soundtrack by Daft Punk. But they heavily criticized the story, character development and cast performances. This resulted in a less than stellar box office run ($400 million from a $170 million budget) which has resulted in the third film, tentatively titled TRON: Ascension, never managing to get past the scripting stage.
Legacy director Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion) has described the cancelled project as “an invasion movie” which would take place partly in the TRON grid world and partly in the real world:
So we hinted at that at the end of Legacy with Quorra coming out, but the idea for Ascension was a movie that was, the first act was in the real world, the second act was in the world of TRON, or multiple worlds of TRON, and the third act was totally in the real world. And I think that really opens up, blows open the concept of TRON in a way that would be thrilling to see on screen. But there’s also a really interesting character study in Quorra and a “Stranger in a Strange Land,” trying to figure out where she belongs having lived in the real world for a few years, and where does she fit in.
Last week, Kosinski gave the above details on the project, and was also asked about the current status, to which he replied:
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.
That seems to back up the “didn’t make enough money” excuse. And while the fans of TRON: Legacy are extremely passionate, that passion hasn’t been enough to convince Disney to pull the trigger on this thing.
Until it recently surfaced via The Hollywood Reporter that there’s talk that the studio is planning on a new film that will not be a direct continuation of TRON: Legacy and will instead be a soft reboot, which would trench Kosinski’s script for the stalled third film, including a character named Ares, who was described as a “key player” in that draft. What’s more, they apparently want Jared Leto to play him, building a new franchise around his character. To be clear, the film has not been green lit, and there’s no writer or director attached but this story.
Leto is still riding the wave of his turn as the Joker in Suicide Squad, not to mention earlier acclaim in such various films as Requiem for a Dream, Alexander, and Dallas Buyers Club. I honestly could see him in a film like TRON, and with it being rumored that he was less than happy about his reduced appearance in Suicide Squad, this could be a way for him to scratch that genre film itch he seems to have. His eclectic personality that suited the Joker role so well would make him a great fit for the world of TRON. Here’s hoping the studio agrees and there’s actually some validity to these supposed going ons.