Fans of TRON: Legacy can rest easy. Not only due to the fact that production on a sequel, rumored to be titled TRON: Ascension has now finally been set, but that the previous film's stars Garrett Hedlund (Pan) and Olivia Wilde (The Lazarus Effect) are now confirmed to be returning for the sequel.
The duo will be reprising their roles as Sam Flynn (son of Jeff Bridges' Kevin Flynn) and Quorra, a digital being made flesh and blood in the film's closing moments. It was assumed that both Hedlund and Wilde would be turned to for the next chapter in the TRON saga, but exactly where the story will find them after the prior film's events is still a closely-guarded secret at Disney.
Confirmation of the cast's return comes courtesy of THR, after the previous report of TRON 3's Fall 2015 production date implied Hedlund was already on board. Enough years had passed since Wilde expressed her feeling that "everyone would be game" for another entry in the series for some doubt to creep in, but even if Bruce Boxleitner has yet to officially return, it seems the studio's intention to keep their core cast intact.
They would certainly need to, considering Legacy's closing twist, setting a matured Sam Flynn off into the world with one of The Grid's spontaneously-created "Isomorphic Algorithms" - dubbed an "ISO" by his father, and promised to revolutionize the way humanity viewed medicine, science, technology, and religion.
Director Joseph Kosinski - who is also returning behind the camera - has previously revealed that while as much time will have passed for the characters as the audience once TRON 3 arrives, the film will be picking up right where Legacy left off. Legacy also implied a potential villain in the works at ENCOM, but now that Sam and Quorra have left The Grid behind them, the question becomes how Kosinski intends to tell a real-world story that will still please TRON fans.
There's no denying that Disney will wish to make TRON 3 more financially successful than its predecessor (bringing in $400 million worldwide), implied by Kosinski himself when describing the "broader" story in mind for the sequel:
This is a story we’ve been working on since 2009, so that’s four years now. I’m really excited about the idea that we have for it. I think it delivers on the promise that both TRON movies have made. It opens the movie up, in a way that I think is going to give it a much broader appeal. Whereas [the previous film] really, ultimately, in the end, catered most to TRON fans, this idea broadens it some more, in really exciting ways.”
That shouldn't be cause for concern for the fans who were most catered to by Legacy, as the director has maintained that a return trip to the franchise (or The Grid, still dangling around Sam's neck) would only happen if the story made it worthwhile. Comparing the TRON 3 story pitch to "Empire Strikes Back" is setting the bar fairly high, but the film now has its two core pieces in place to give it a try.
Now fans must patiently wait for Bruce Boxleitner (whi played the original Tron) to sign on the dotted line, and find out if Cillian Murphy's (uncredited) Legacy role as son of original TRON villain Ed Dillinger was a one-time gig. The sons of a brilliant programmer and power-hungry executive carrying on their father's feud is almost too predictable for a Disney adventure, but hopefully more clues will come in time.
Are you TRON fans relieved to see both Hedlund and Wilde reprising their roles? Care to make any predictions about where the intervening years have taken their characters? Share your thoughts in the comments.
TRON 3 (or TRON: Ascension) is set to film this Fall, currently without a release date.