Although it's been nearly two years since Disney pulled the plug on a planned sequel to 2010's "Tron: Legacy," director Joseph Kosinski claims the third installment of the franchise could still happen, but the timing needs to be right. What’s preventing the film, tentatively titled "Tron: Ascension," from moving into production? Disney’s recent, wild success at the box office, apparently.
Participating in a Q&A following a screening on "Tron: Legacy," Kosinski explained to Collider the difficulty in getting a greenlight for another "Tron" film:
“I guess I can say that TRON 3 is in cryogenic freeze. So, it’s there. 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.”
Following the 201 debut of “Tron: Legacy,” it seemed all but assured that Disney would move forward with a sequel that would reunite much of the film's cast. Time would prove otherwise, however.
Disney acquired Marvel for $4 billion in 2009, followed three years later by the purchase of Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion. With those investments came a string of hits, including "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Captain America: Civil War" and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." That's, of course, in addition to the successes released under the Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar banners.
“Tron: Legacy” was a commercial success, netting $400 million worldwide on a production budget of $170 million. However, the film came nowhere close to the multibillion-dollar returns seen by Disney’s marque franchises. Such was the case with 1982's “Tron,” which grossed $33 million on a budget of $17 million.
What would Kosinski’s “Tron: Ascension” have looked like? According to the director, it would've been an invasion movie that saw the digital world of Tron seeping into the real one. The film would have focused on Olivia Wilde’s character Quorra, the first digital-human hybrid, coping with life outside of a simulation.