Another week of July, another momentous anniversary for a sci-fi intellectual property. The movie celebrating a big milestone this weekend is Disney’s tron, which was released on July 9 in 1982 and is now 40 years old. Let’s make some memories, okay?
Directed and written by Steven Lisberger from a story he devised with Bonnie MacBird, the film starred Jeff Bridges as a game developer named Kevin Flynn who was transported to the world of a mainframe computer. Originally planned by Lisberger to be an animated film that would have had a production studio set up specifically to make the film, tron eventually became a live-action film that incorporated backlit and CG elements. In fact, the original tron and 1984 The Last Starfighter are both among the first films in the cinema to feature a lot of CGI.
Critically acclaimed for its visuals and scored for having an absurd story, tron met with decent success at the box office, earning $50 million worldwide on a budget of $17 million. The film even managed to earn Oscar nominations at the 55th Academy Awards for sound and costume design; but no visual effects because, according to Lisberger, the Academy thought the film was “cheating” by using computers to create its effects. Despite this, the film found much more success as a cult classic. It ended up being very influential at Disney, with then-Pixar and Disney animation chief John Lasseter saying outright in 2010 that tron existed, there is a good chance toy story no more. You can also see, in some ways, how it would take us both The matrix and Digimon franchisees. (On a related note: is tron an isekai? Because I feel like he’s an isekai.)
tron occupies a weird nebulous area as an IP address where it’s simultaneously a franchise, but somehow it’s not. Before 2010s release tron the legacy, the most that came from tron was part of Disneyland and several video games in the 80s and early 2000s, including several Kingdom Hearts Games. Whereas Legacy would go on to become a box office success of its own – making US$400 million ($555) worldwide, which was still impressive at the time – attempts to continue tron didn’t go well. The 2012 CG Series Tron Uprising, set between the two films and starring Elijah Wood, ended after one season. There have been several short-lived comics intended either to follow the threads of the original film or to build for Legacy, but nothing substantial. Currently, people who were not born in the 80s or who have not seen Legacy can only know tron either by the old disney infinity figures they may still have, Daft Punk’s still sweet enough soundtrack to Legacy, or more likely, cosmetics in Fortnite.
This is especially surprising considering it’s a Disney IP address, but they’re clearly in no rush to continue. by Tron story, though rumors have constantly popped up for the past few years that another movie is on the way. In view of the release of Top Gun: Maverick it was Legacy director Joseph Kosinski who revealed he was set to make a tron 3 arrive before Disney gets up and pulls the plug. “I had the whole movie scripted and written,” he said. “When I did tron the legacy, they didn’t own Marvel; they did not own star wars…once you have these other things under your umbrella, it only makes sense that you would invest your money in a known property. And that’s fine. With how much these two respective IPs bring to Disney, it seems the story of the Flynn family and the adventures of the grid will remain unfinished…assuming there are no tron 3 secretly in production with Jared Leto.
Until then, you can watch what’s on. tron franchise on Disney+.
Want more news from Gizmodo? Find out when to wait for the last wonder and star wars versions, what’s next for the DC Universe in Film and TVand everything you need to know about Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Editor’s note: The release dates in this article are based in the US, but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.