Tron: Legacy director reveals plot for back-burnered third movie

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Apr 28, 2017, 10:48 AM EDT (Updated)

Filmmaker Joseph Kosinski says that Tron 3 isn't quite dead ... just frozen.

The possibility of a third Tron film, tentatively titled Tron: Ascension, has been lurking around ever since the second movie, Tron: Legacy, came out in 2010. The project seemed to pick up steam in 2015, with Kosinski and stars Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde all apparently on track to return from Tron: Legacy. And then ... nothing.

So what happened? After a recent screening of Tron: Legacy, Kosinski spoke with Collider and delved into the subject of the elusive Tron 3. Amazingly, he hinted that the film could still happen, but also explained why it hasn't:

"I guess I can say that Tron 3 is in cryogenic freeze. So, it’s there. It’s not dead. It’s alive, but it’s sitting there, waiting for the right time to move forward. I mean, you have to remember that when we made Tron: Legacy, Disney did not own Marvel. Disney did not own Lucasfilm ... they own everything now. But this was before they owned everything, so from the studio point of view, they have a certain number of slots and a certain amount of money to make movies and if you can make a Star Wars spin-off or another Marvel movie, which are all doing incredibly well, a Tron movie, even though I think it would do very well, the question is: Would it do as well as one of those? That is more the reason we haven’t seen another Tron is that Disney stock is flushed with really successful properties right now. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see one at one point."

What he says makes sense. Tron: Legacy made $400 million worldwide on a budget of $170 million, just squeaking by in terms of profitability, but a far cry from the $600 million - $1 billion now generated by any given Marvel or Star Wars entry -- all of which move a ton of merchandise as well, something Tron never did.

So what would the third movie have been about? After confirming that it would have been called Tron: Ascension, Kosinski laid out the story:

"I think we got the script to about 80%. We were in good shape. We were probably eight or nine months out, which is still a good amount of distance from being ready to shoot it, but I think the script was in good shape. What I’m excited about is the concept, which is an invasion movie from inside the machine coming out as opposed to one we’ve usually seen. So we hinted at that at the end of Legacy with (Wilde's character) Quorra coming out, but the idea for Ascension was a movie that was, the first act was in the real world, the second act was in the world of Tron, or multiple worlds of Tron, and the third act was totally in the real world. And I think that really opens up, blows open the concept of Tron in a way that would be thrilling to see on screen. But there’s also a really interesting character study in Quorra and a 'Stranger in a Strange Land,' trying to figure out where she belongs having lived in the real world for a few years, and where does she fit in."

Kosinski added that he didn't see the characters "having super powers" in the real world, but that Quorra, "in her DNA itself, her being the first digital-human hybrid, there’s something in her being that allows objects from inside the Grid to exist in the real world and makes them permanent, so that was the idea."

The director concluded that Tron 3, while a more remote possibility every day, could still happen: "It's just a matter of the right time and the right place and the stars aligning as they have to do for movies."

Would you like to see Disney move forward with Tron: Ascension? Do you think it would be worth the company's time and money to take a minute out from making Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar films and continue this franchise?