TRON Legacy has been in theaters for a handful of days now, and as a geek-driven franchise, the hardcore of hardcore fans are undoubtedly wondering what comes next.
It’s the nature of a big story like this: the adventure comes to a close, plot threads are intentionally left dangling and a whole new conversation springs up about where the story could go from here. Obviously no one on the inside is sharing any details, but director Joe Kosinski at least dropped a few tantalizing hints about the franchise's future in an exclusive interview with Spinoff Online.
First comes the question of whether or not there will be a sequel at all. “I think the point of view of the studio is, obviously they want TRON Legacy to be a success,” Kosinski told Spinoff Online. “And at that point we’ll start looking at if and how the story can be continued. We’re certainly not taking anything for granted at this point.”
No surprises there. Reports have suggested that the studio has even gone as far as developing story ideas for sequels, but Hollywood is a world of red lights and green lights. Until a sequel is greenlit – and that’s likely not going to happen until the film has proven itself at the box office – any development on future expansions exists in the idea stage only. All that said, there are several threads that Kosinski hopes the franchise will get to explore moving forward.
Those who have seen TRON Legacy — and for those who haven't, we're officially in spoilers mode for the rest of this article — may have noticed a brief yet noteworthy cameo from Cillian Murphy during the first act. More than just a cameo, Murphy took the role of Ed Dillinger Jr., the son of the first film’s human villain. He just appears in that one scene, but fans are good at drawing conclusions and the obvious one here is that we haven’t seen the last of the Dillinger clan in the TRON franchise.
Kosinski admits that his main reason for including Dillinger Jr. was as a nod to the 1982 classic. “For the fans of the first film, we all know there’s that Dillinger storyline that’s hanging out there and I don’t think we could have just completely ignored it,” he explained. “Even though it’s not the main story point of our film by any means, we all liked the idea of continuing the Dillinger legacy, [which] is only hinted at for the hardcore fans at this point.”
“The idea of Cillian in the role basically came out of me wanting [to work with him]," he continued. "I had been talking to Cillian about a role for him in a movie going back a couple years and we just couldn’t make the schedules work. Then finally we got this opportunity for the role of Ed Dillinger Jr. and I asked Cillian if he’d be interested in playing it, knowing that it basically amounted to a cameo. Nevertheless it felt like an important role in the TRON mythology; he was happy to do it and I’m glad he did.”
Of course, Dillinger Jr.’s inclusion isn’t just a nod to the fans; it’s also an open door, as Kosinski explained: “Obviously if we were lucky enough to go back to the world of TRON on another one, that’s a great, little branch that we’ve left ourselves to grab onto if we choose to."
For those who have seen the movie (mentioned above, but once again: spoiler alert), you know that things end on a very open note. With one character in particular, his story concludes in a mystery: the Program TRON is very nearly killed, but we see him come back online as he sinks into the depths of the Sea of Simulation. Kosinski certainly hasn’t forgotten about the character. “I think the TRON character himself—again, not the primary story of our film, but definitely that storyline is in there — that would be another one that would be interesting for me to explore what’s become of him in the future.”
Then again, the director looks to be busying himself with other projects now that his debut is in the bag. Among the projects he’s working on is another retro revival for Disney, a remake of the 1979 sci-fi flick The Black Hole. Kosinski is still in the early stages of development on that film, but he’s already got a clear grasp of how he will treat it and where he wants to take things.
“It’s more of a reimagining,” he revealed. “It’s not jumping off of the original narrative. It’s really, for me, the fundamental concept of what would it be like to take a journey through a black hole, knowing what we know about them today. We know so much more about them than they did in 1979. I’m really interested in taking a hard science approach, really exploring the phenomenon that surrounds these black holes. I’m excited about what you can do dramatically within that kind of incredible concept.”
“For that one, it’s really a total reimagining, a new story, but at the same time there are some of those iconic elements from the first that I want to bring back,” he continued. “So that’ll be an interesting one to kind of blend what I want to keep from the first one and how I want to take a completely new approach to the concept.”