Posted on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
On Friday night, fictional software company ENCOM held their first public press conference in years (possibly ever) in San Francisco, CA. A renegade group who believes that revolutionary programer Kevin Flynn is still alive (despite having disappeared from the public eye two decades ago), infiltrated the event and took over the press conference. Of course, this is all part of the viral marking for the upcoming Disney sequel Tron Legacy.
The night began with a meet-up of the Flynn Lives group in a nearby hotel ballroom. One of the leaders of the renegade group showed a powerpoint presentation which climaxed with a airmail view map of the Encom press conference set-up. Volunteers were chosen to execute the plan, which involved overtaking security, delivering a harddrive containing files that would allow the group to hack into the stage’s big screen displays, pass out signage, and taking over the stage. Everyone in attendance was given Flynn Lives t-shirts, which they were told to hide underneath their sweatshirts and jackets. The plan was that everyone would reveal their shirts and signs at a time coordinated throughout the group. If this sounds cool, its because it was. Unfortunately things didn’t quite go as planned.
The Encom press conference was set-up in a plaza near the water, which means that attendees were asked to stand in the cold for over an hour. High winds also seemed to screw up the climax of the event, which I’ll get to in a bit. For those of you who would rather watch clips from the press conference before reading my rundown/commentary, here you go:
Alan Bradey (played by Bruce Boxleitner) was escorted to the stage by his personal security and an Encom publicist. His big announcement was that Encom would be honoring the memory of Kevin Flynn by rereleasing his hit video game Space Paranoids online with 15 unseen levels programed by Flynn before he disappeared.
At the premiere of the Tron Legacy trailer in Los Angeles, someone asked director Joseph Kosinski if the character Lora Baines from the original movie returned for the sequel. Kosinski said that while she doesn’t appear in the movie itself, we might be seeing her in the lead up to the film. Actress Cindy Morgan made an appearance during the press conference to reprise her role as Lora Baines, who we found out is now married to Bradey. This was a nice touch, and a good example of how Disney is treating Tron fans with a lot of respect in this viral storyline.
This is where the trouble began. The press conference was supposed to be interrupted by something big from the Flynn Lives group, but that big event never came. Actor Bruce Boxleitner tried to improv for a few moments before a publicist from Encom was sent on stage to pull him away. We then stood there for a few minutes wondering what was going on.
The Flynn Lives group decided now was the time to take over the stage, the crowd revealed their signs, but not many jackets were removed to reveal the t-shirts (it was very cold). A group of volunteers from the Flynn Lives got up on stage and read a statement that Flynn would not be forgotten, while the crowd chanted “Flynn Lives! Flynn Lives!”
It was then that an helicopter came by. It swooped down low over the crowd, revealing the Encom logo painted on the bottom and side. And some people in the crowd noticed that a man was hanging off the side of the helicopter.
The copter climbed high up into the sky and the man jumped off, opening his parachute. This is when the extreme winds came into play. I honestly thought that the guy falling down from the sky was going to be killed or injured. The wind whipped him from side to side, but somehow the man was able to land right behind the stage, where he jumped into a car which sped away.
We later learned that the man who jumped out of the helicopter was Kevin Flynn’s son, Sam Flynn (played by actor Garrett Hedlund, who is the star of the new film).
Watch the video below:
It would have been much cooler if the event had ended with this big reveal, but the people on the ground were left wondering if there was going to be anything more. The Flynn Lives crowd stuck around for a good ten minutes, some expecting footage, or, something. I think this is great promotion for the film ut it should have ended with some payoff from the film, but it a scene or trailer, or something other than some guy riding off in a car. The weather was a big issue, and there probably should have been a more organized back up plan, but in the end the video online is what most people are going to see, and it looks pretty damn cool.
These events are getting bigger and more elaborate — I can’t wait to see what they do at Comic-Con this year. How do you top Flynn’s arcade and this?