tron legacy

Disney finally revealed the title to the Tron sequel at the Disney 3D panel at Comic-Con 2009 — TRON Legacy. Jeff Bridges explains that the title is in reference to the story’s theme: “It’s basically a story about a son’s search for his father. It was also revealed that Tron Legacy will be released in both Digital Disney 3D (old news) and IMAX 3D (new news).

Disney surprised nearly everyone by premiering a teaser trailer for the project (which was actually a test created to convince Disney not make the film) at last year’s Comic Con. The footage was easily the most talked about thing of last year’s con. The Tron crew returned to Hall H this year, but unfortunately weren’t able to live up to their last appearance. That is not to say that what we saw of the film was not impressive, it is just they didn’t have a lot to show since the film just wrapped production and they have a year of post production ahead of them.

“And the first Tron, when we made it in 81, there was no internet,” explained Jeff Bridges. “Cell phones were things you carried around in a suit case, and what you saw was so new and fresh, and the same thing is true with this one.”

Disney has released an official plot synopsis:

TRON is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (GARRETT HEDLUND), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (JEFF BRIDGES), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (OLIVIA WILDE), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.

Because none of the footage from inside the computer world was finished, they premiered some cool concept images from the production. Art included the recognizer, which is a bit evolved from the original film. The world of tron has been sitting on a server for 20 years, not connected to the internet, evolvoing. The scale is much larger, “a photo real or photo surreal enviorment.” We were shown a shot of the mile high tower in the center of the city, which we’re sure is an important location in the film’s plot. Another piece showed a scene on the streets of tron city, where we get to see what its like to be a program in this world.

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A few concept photos were shown of Disc wars, which has also evolved from the original film into a 16-game tournament. The arena is set-up so that the game court organically evolves. All 16 games are going on at the same time, and the boards combine in real time, until the last two Disc warriors are connected. We were shown some test footage of an athlete who uses a form of martial arts athleticism I’ve never seen before called luke kicking or tricking. The disc warrior was jumping around doing insane flips while chucking a disc. Very impressive. The footage was shown in super slow motion, having been shot with the phantom camera in 3D (a first) at 1000 (?) frames a second.

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Another piece of concept art shows the solar sailer, a freight train in the world of tron, which travels on a beam of light. But most impressive were the new vehicles, which included:

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  • Light Runner, which is like a light cycle, but can hold 2 passengers. It is said to be very fast, and has the unique ability to go off the grid on its own power.

Tron light cycle

  • The Light Cycle: a much more evolved version of the light cycle which many saw in the trailer from last year’s con.

Tron Flynn's light cycle

  • Second Generation Light Cycle: Designed in 1989 by Kevin Flynn and “rumor has it its still the fastest thing on the grid” It looks like an inbetween model in the evolution of light cycles, incorporating some of the look of the first film and the realness and slickness of the new design.

What got me excited was footage from a rough assembly of a scene from the begining of the film, which takes place in the real world, and was not presented in 3D. The scene involved Kevin’s son being told in voiceover that someone received a page from his father’s old office, which has been abandoned for over 20 years. Flynn’s son shows up on a motor cycle. Flynn’s arcade has been long abandoned. He opens the door to reveal a room full of arcade machines, all covered with sheets. He inspects the old shut down arcade, and it is clear no one has been here in ages. He switches on the power and all the arcades turn on, as does a jukebox, which is playing retro 1980′s music. He goes up stairs to Flynn’s old office, which also looks untouched, everything covered. The next shot was kinda magical. He walks down an isle of games which ends with the Tron arcade game. He uncovers it and we see the retro 80′s graphics. He sticks in a quarter but the machine rejects it. He pulls out the machine to take a look at the back, and discovers a secret door. He opens the door and enters the darkness. Cut to black.

Director Joseph Kosinski promises that the film has “3 or 4 things that have never been done before, and we were doing them at the same time.” He promises that next year at comic con “you’ll see something you’ve never seen before.”

They also showed the Tron 2 trailer from last year’s con in 3D, which everyone seemed most impressed with.

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