[This article contains SPOILERS for TRON: Legacy.]
TRON 3 reportedly entered development even before the second TRON installment, TRON: Legacy, opened in theaters in 2010 - and yet, the film has yet to materialize. That is expected to change soon, as Legacy director Joseph Kosinksi is reportedly set to begin shooting the new TRON movie this fall - with Legacy leads Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde starring once again.
It's not clear yet what the plot is for TRON 3 (rumored to be titled TRON: Ascension) or who penned the most recent script draft. However, Wilde has confirmed one obvious detail: that the third TRON feature will build on the finale to Legacy and explore what life is like now for Quorra - after having made the jump from being a digital creation of "The Grid" to a flesh and bone person - in the real world.
Wilde told Collider that she's also heard that TRON 3 may begin production in Vancouver this October, before she clarified that the on-again/off-again status updates for the film these past years was the result of the movie's ongoing story development process.
“The delay has only ever been story, finding the right story. It hasn’t been anything else. There’s never been a time where we wanted to go and then schedules got in the way. It’s only been like, ‘That’s not the right story.’ So, in the past year, the right story kind of came together and we felt, ‘Oh, this actually – this might be the right one to tell.’ And, you know, there’s still a lot to be done before it could actually happen, but the fact that there’s a goal of this year to start is really exciting.”
Legacy did a fair amount of heavy-lifting and world-building for the TRON franchise - resulting in a movie that often gets bogged down in heavy amounts of exposition. The upside of that, as Wilde has noted in the past, is that it might better allow TRON 3 to "really focus on character development," especially for Quorra - but also for Sam Flynn (Hedlund). Plus, now that the modern aesthetic and visual design have been established for "The Grid", there's more room for Kosinski and his collaborator to play around in this shiny sandbox they've helped to develop.
There are several directions in which Quorra and Sam's story may go from here, which helps explain why the TRON 3 filmmakers have taken their time determining the right direction for this project - not necessarily what the most obvious direction would be, based on the setup provided with Legacy. Jesse Wigutow (who also worked on the upcoming The Crow reboot) penned one of the more recent screenplays for TRON 3, though it's not clear yet if he significantly changed the story featured in previous script drafts.
Wilde confirmed to Collider than she's read a script for TRON 3 - without elaborating beyond that - before adding that she's always been actively involved with shaping the Quorra character beyond these movies' screenplays:
“I love this character of Quorra so much and I’ve built her with Joe Kosinski and we took her such a long way from what was written to what we made. I mean, I fought for her to be this kind of androgynous child and that’s so not what you typically see in these movies, so I’m so grateful that the producers let me play with her and make her this strange little being. And I’m really excited to see what happens to that character when put into the real world. I think it’s an interesting concept. I’m fascinated by all discussions of AI, and especially now today and now with virtual reality becoming something that’s like a personal device, I think it’s the time to tell this story.”
The original TRON was Kevin Flynn's (Jeff Bridges) story while Legacy was Sam's, so it would be fitting for TRON 3 to serve as Quorra's tale. Kosinski has continued to mature as a director since making Legacy (with his work on the sci-fi adventure Oblivion), so he's perhaps better qualified than ever to deliver a third TRON installment that's better - though not necessarily bigger - than Legacy, when it comes to combining the human drama and spectacle with the TRON franchises' heady themes (referenced by Wilde).
Next step, of course, is for Disney to confirm that TRON 3 is actually moving forward (and all this talk isn't just, well, talk)...
TRON 3 is expected to begin production this fall; we'll let you know when the film gets an official release date.