|Studio||Walt Disney Pictures|
TRON 3 (reportedly titled TRON: Ascension) is a planned sequel to TRON: Legacy. In development since 2010, the script cycled through several writers, reportedly attaching Legacy stars Olivia Wilde (Quorra) and Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn) and making arrangements to start shooting in Vancouver in 2015. However, as of May 2015, the project was reported as not currently going forward.
While little was revealed in terms of potential plot, actor Cillian Murphy's involvement in Legacy hinted at a returning role as potential villain Edward Dillinger, Jr. After TRON: Legacy, Bruce Boxleitner noted in an interview that he believed Disney would "get the ball rolling next year" and added to the rumors that Dillinger Jr. would return: "Let's just say... Cillian Murphy doesn't do cameos."
More information surfaced in a leak about a TRON 3 teaser trailer that was supposedly going to be released with the DVD and Blu-ray Discs in April 2011. Footage shot for the "teaser" was certified by Disney. Some did indeed appear in TRON: The Next Day, the exclusive 10-minute Blu-ray short in which Roy Kleinberg (Dan Shor), the user of Ram from the original TRON, bridges the gap between TRON and TRON: Legacy by recapping the twenty-year Flynn Lives movement which he'd been secretly running since Kevin Flynn's disappearance; the rest appeared in a hidden "Easter Egg" also only available on the U.S. Blu-ray. The scenes apparently linking to TRON 3 are:
- The arrival of Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) at Roy Kleinberg's hacktivist hideout in TRON: The Next Day. Alarmed at the sudden restructuring of ENCOM, Roy has been preparing to dismantle his search for Kevin Flynn, but is interrupted by Alan, who had been clandestinely backing the movement all along. Quelling Roy's reservations while mentioning that "Junior" (Cillian Murphy) had earned his place and would remain with the company, Alan says it is time to "put Flynn Lives behind us" and offers the real-world "Ram" a place at ENCOM, describing him as "ENCOM's moral compass."
- The last scene of The Next Day, originally rumored to feature Quorra (Olivia Wilde) in the real world as she arrives at ENCOM Tower: asked by the press about Kevin Flynn's disappearance, she was to have revealed that she had seen him the previous day. The scene was instead filmed with Sam arriving at ENCOM for his first board meeting; when asked by besieging reporters whether his father would be proud of his actions and whether he has any statements for the press, he reveals a Flynn Lives t-shirt under his biker jacket, silencing the reporters with this wordless retort and disappearing into the building in a storm of publicity.
- A hidden "Easter Egg" only on the U.S. Blu-ray release, in which Ed Dillinger Jr., present in text only, chats on the ENCOM ILC server with someone of the ambiguous username "MCTRL_751." This mysterious contact warns Junior that Sam "may not be his father but he's still a Flynn. Don't underestimate him," and ended the communication with MCP's trademark "End of Line."
The co-writers of TRON: Legacy were interviewed at the 2012 Wondercon about the third TRON film. Alan Horowitz said they were working on a sequel, but would not be writing it, as he and Eddie Kitsis had moved up to be co-producers on their show Once Upon a Time. "But there's a script being written right now," said Horowitz, and Kitsis confirmed, "Dave DiGilio is writing it. Joseph Kosinski is right now shooting Oblivion, but we've had a lot of meetings and conversations and we've seen the first draft of the Tron sequel." Asked about a possible return of Kevin Flynn, Adam Horowitz responded, "I would say the definition of life and death in the digital realm--" "Will be explored in the sequel!" finished Kitsis. Concerning the possible return of Quorra (played by Olivia Wilde in Legacy), Horowitz moved to the next roundtable.
In December 2012, Jesse Wigutow was reported to be working on the latest version of the script. Joseph Kosinski, in an interview in the same month, said the film would be TRON's "Empire Strikes Back," promised to "blow the doors off the franchise," and explained that TRON 3 would take place in real time, following the events of Legacy after the same number of years that had passed between the two films; he also mentioned bringing new designs to the film and possible involvement by Daft Punk.
During 2013 (as TRON: Uprising failed to land a second season) and 2014, little information emerged; the TRON 3 script was continually in development. At Wondercon 2013, Joseph Kosinski was less forthcoming than before, revealing only that the film would "open up" the world of TRON and give it broader appeal," and that it now had a working title other than TRON 3.
In early April 2015, Olivia Wilde attributed the delay to "finding the right story," but said that it had come together and that she had seen a script. She did not definitively confirm the project as going ahead, but speculated hopefully on character development for Quorra in the real world and exploration of artificial intelligence in the TRON universe.
Despite these hopeful signs, news broke by the end of May 2015 that the project was not moving forward. The Hollywood Reporter added that Disney had been interested in adding Jared Leto to the cast, but no offer or negotiations had taken place before the plug was pulled. Confirming the bad news in early June, Wilde tweeted, "Tron fans! Don't trip. Now I don't have to live on seaweed juice and tofu dust for 6 months to fit into a rubber suit."
In late July 2015, Bruce Boxleitner stated in an interview that he was "done" with waiting for another TRON movie: "I hate to say that but it’s been too up and down for me [...] It breaks my heart, but I understand the times move on." TRON, he continued, should have been "the one thing that would keep going forward because we’re living it"; he described the property as Disney's "only real science fiction" and a continuation of an original concept rather than "reboot, reboot, reboot," and expressed disconcertion at the decision not to move forward when TRON 3 had been "very close to actually shooting." However, he suspected that the company's acquisition of Lucasfilm and Marvel, along with its colossal lineup of animation-to-live-action remakes coming up over the next decade, had left the relatively smaller-scale TRON 3 in the dust: "I’m not sure that they really had that much interest anymore. I hate to say that because I think there’s a lot more to go."
However, in September 2015, Hedlund stated that he was told that the third Tron film was not "totally dead", but jokingly suggested that it could be released 30 years later, referencing the 30-year gap between the first film and Legacy.