When Tron: Legacy was released in 2010, most assumed Disney would finally use the film to build a proper franchise for the series. 1982’s Tron, while not a massive hit, attracted a devoted cult following who still regularly quote the film to this day. Likewise, it makes sense that a Tron franchise should emerge in our modern era, given how much more prevalent video games and computers in general have become since the debut of the original film. Unfortunately, Tron: Legacy wasn’t the blockbuster hit Disney had hoped, only earning a “mere” $400 million worldwide on a $170 million production budget. Technically this is a success, but it doesn’t compare to the cash pulled in by competing big-budget films like the Harry Potter series or Marvel’s recent superhero movies.
Still, Disney desperately wants Tron to become another tent-pole property that regularly generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the studio, and is thus moving ahead with the creation of a third Tron film. Though we’re very early in the production process, The Hollywood Reporter claims that Disney is currently in negotiations to hire Jesse Wigutow to write the latest version of the film’s script. Don’t recognize the name? Neither did we, and a quick IMDB search shows that Wigutow has done almost nothing of note to date. THR claims Wigutow is currently working on a number of projects at Disney however, which likely gave him the clout to land this writing gig. THR also notes that Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski will return to helm Tron 3 (or whatever Disney ends up titling this movie).
Though the above is great news for optimistic Tron fans, it does little to explain why exactly Disney would want to return to this well. This is a company that now owns both Lucasfilm and Marvel. The intellectual property values for those firms alone should bring in billions of dollars each year. Yet, a Hollywood studio can never have enough big-name movie franchises to rely on, thus Disney hopes that with this latest Tron movie it can finally create a sequel that appeals not just to extant Tron fans and computer geeks, but also mainstream audiences. What exactly this means for Wigutow’s script remains to be seen, though we predict two distinct possibilities for this film’s plot. Either Disney opts to embrace Tron’s geeky leanings and makes the movie specifically geared toward this niche audience (with the hopes that the rising appeal of all things “geek” in our modern world will drive average, normal people to the film also), or it dumps the heavily geeky stuff in favor of a more action-focused or aesthetics-focused film. The Tron franchise has always been gorgeously envisioned and its action scenes are fan-favorites, so this latter possibility seems as likely as it is depressing for those original, old-school fans of the property.
We’ll have more information just as soon as it starts to trickle out of Disney at a regular rate. Given that this project is still being rewritten, that’s likely to be a bit of a wait.