Back in 2015, we got our first reports that Tron 3 was in the works, and could potentially go into production by the fall. Supposedly titled Tron: Ascension, the film would once again feature Garrett Hedlund reprising his role as the son of Jeff Bridges’ computer programmer from the original Tron, and would be directed by Joseph Kosinski, who brought such a distinctive visual flair to the franchise’s previous sequel, Tron: Legacy.
Obviously Tron never ascended to a third sequel. But in a new interview with Vulture, Kosinski says he really did come “so close” to actually getting the movie made. It was indeed back in 2015, but Disney eventually “pulled the plug on it” before sets could be built.
Ascension would have, in Kosinski’s words, “inverted” the concept of Tron. (“It was all that [computer] stuff coming into our world.”) As for the reason why, Kosinski blamed the project’s collapse on Disney’s successful expansion in the 2010s, with the acquisitions of both Marvel and Lucasfilm. As he put it:
It was a different Disney by 2015. When I made Tron: Legacy, they didn’t own Marvel; they didn’t own Star Wars. We were the play for fantasy and science fiction. And once you’ve got those things under your umbrella, it makes sense that you’re going to put your money into a known property and not the weird art student with black fingernails in the corner — that was Tron.
Kosinski went on to make the firefighter drama Only the Brave and now the fantastic Top Gun: Maverick so it worked out okay for him. (He’s got a new movie on Netflix, Spiderhead, also coming to Netflix later this month as well.) And supposedly Disney has not given up on a third Tron. The last we heard, Jared Leto was developing the material with plans to star in the project. Tron fans have heard that line before.