Warner Bros.' Pan released in theaters this weekend but flopped at the box office. That makes it that much more odd that a certain sequel also starring Garrett Hedlund - one that would make a lot more money than Pan - currently isn't happening anymore. Despite confirming its returning cast and director, Disney cancelled development on TRON 3 which was originally set to begin shooting this fall in Vancouver.
Debuting 28 years after the original, 2010's visual spectacle TRON: Legacy successfully re-imagined the digital Grid and went on to bank $400 million from worldwide ticket receipts. A followup quickly entered into development and so Disney pulling the plug earlier this year came as a bit of a surprise.
Speaking with CS while promoting Pan, Hedlund explains that TRON 3 development was going very well and that there was positive buzz for what it planned to do for the franchise. Was the project really moving forward though up until Disney stopped pre-production a few months ago?
"Yeah, it was, and it was just sort of I guess put on hold. I don’t have all the answers. I mean, ever since [TRON] Legacy came out, they’d always wanted to get a concrete story for the next one. I knew that the new characters that we were introducing were going to be incredible. The script was really getting to a place to where everybody was getting really excited. The common comment was, 'This one’s going to blow Legacy out of the water.' I was really excited for that."
Hedlund had read the latest scripts and was keeping involved. So, what happened? Did Disney just pause it indefinitely?
"I guess so, yes. But yeah, I guess. That’s all I really know. Joe [Kosinski] was going to come back on and direct and everybody’s super excited, and who knows? Maybe there’ll be a time and a place for it. Maybe it will be resembling to the space that was in between from the ’82 version to maybe I’ll be… I’m going to be the Jeff Bridges in the next one and our press junkets, we’ll be talking about how, 'It’s been 30 years since I’ve been in that suit, man.'”
TRON: Legacy was a rather unique IP for Disney and one that earned an animated series, merchandise lines and even a few video games - including most recently, its characters appearing in Disney Infinity. Legacy's $400 million worldwide box office haul earned at the end of 2010 is very close to this summer's Ant-Man, which sits at $409 million worldwide as it finishes up its run. Ant-Man had a sequel announced last week despite making TRON-level money even with its Marvel branding boost and proximity to Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Going forward, Disney seems to be building an annualized film schedule that will be including one Star Wars movie, three Marvel Studios features, 1-3 Pixar or Walt Disney animated features and a live-action fairy tale retelling, plus the usual end of year Oscar attempts. It's surprising TRON isn't part of that since it seems with the right marketing, it'll easily match or surpass its predecessor.
And what really matters for moviegoers - it'll offer something different in Hollywood. The hard part, modernizing the world of the Grid and re-designing its tech and vehicles, is already done. There deserves to be more stories told after Legacy.