SDCC 09: Tron 2 Gets a New Title
What's the verdict on Flynn's return in 3D?
by Phil Pirrello
July 23, 2009 - Tron 2 is so last year's SDCC. It's now Tron: Legacy. Adjust accordingly.
Since last year's geek gathering, fans were teased by the return of Tron, the 1982 film that put Jeff Bridges into a live-action, CG hybrid that developed quite the cult following.
A sequel is ready to give the fans what they want, and Disney's Hall H panel provided a sampling of Tron 2's Light Cycle goodness. TRON producers Sean Bailey and Steve Lisberger greeted an enthusiastic crowd with concept art, kicking off with a first-look (in 3-D) at the new title treatment.
Olivia Wilde (who plays a loyal friend of Kevin Flynn), Garrett Hedlund and the Dude, Jeff Bridges were on hand for some Q & A. No trailer, no final footage persay, as it was announced that they had just finished shooting last week. But we did see a rough assembly cut of a key scene in the film: Spoilers from our next trip to the ENCOM mainframe begin here.
Hedlund as Flynn's son pulls up to his father's condemned arcade, and the scene milks some genuine -- and surprising -- tension using, wait for it, a Journey song.
Flynn's son enters an arcade full of old arcade games sporting dust covers. He moves further into the room, as Journey's "Separate Ways" blares from a still-functioning jukebox. (You were expecting Guitar Hero?).
The son explores further, past arcade games draped in plastic, to a game in the back that is still on, a game under a neon sign that reads TRON. We glimpse the young Flynn playing the original TRON arcade we pumped quarters into growing up. Flynn's son tries to drop a quarter into the slot and the game refuses it, spitting out his quarter to the floor.
Journey is still blaring from the jukebox, and the tension is really pounding. Flynn's son picks up his quarter and sees that the game conceals a secret passage behind the wall. He pushes aside the game, opens the passage, and enters -- the song continues as the game closes in over the passage, locking Flynn inside before cutting to titles.
The panel also showed the teaser trailer from last year's SDCC, but now in 3-effin'-D. The trailer features a new Light Cycle chased by an old one of sorts, its rider sporting black and yellow grid attire as the yellow rider's light wake destroys our new rider's bike. The rider is knocked into the air and lands on the ground, stalked by the yellow rider on foot -- as an older Flynn (Bridges) watches from a cliff-face lair. "You've won, alright?!" begs the new rider, as the Yellow Rider readies a disc.
"It's just a game," the new rider insists -- inches from death. The yellow rider's face shield then flickers to life, revealing a digital visage of a young Flynn -- before he answers, "Not anymore" -- and brings the disc down for a killing stroke as we cut to black.
Rounding out the panel was a sneak peek at the new world of Legacy via concept art, which blends the worlds of Blade Runner and A.I. with that of the original Tron.
Expect scenes off the grid to play a significant role in the new movie, as the panel revealed a new look for Tron City, one surrounded by very black, very rocky terrain a la the wasteland outside Zion in the Matrix movies.
Disc Wars were up next, and they get a huge evolution. We saw a rendering of a new arena for the games, which feature 16 combatants on various platforms that recombine as the matches widdle down to 2 players. The goal now for players is two-fold -- strike down your opponent with the disc or score a knock out into de-res for the win.
Footage shot of an athlete engaging in awesome, beyond wire-fu Disc War moves concluded the behind-the-scenes showcase. The coolest thing about this part, aside from the guy spinning 360 in mid-air, was that he did it without the aid of wires. Without the aid of CG or a springboard. This athlete is a human Neo, apparently, which he reminded us by finishing a spin move and tossing the disc in John Woo slow motion.
TRON: Legacy was arguably the best presentation from the Disney panel, right after Johnny Depp's surprise appearance. No one knew quite what to expect, but everyone wants this movie ASAP. We all left with mouths wide in awe at a sequel that promises to make its mark in the competitive 3-D landscape.