In case you missed the news, Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney for the past 15 years, stepped down from his position somewhat unexpectedly. Taking his position is another Bob: Bob Chapek, to be specific. But Iger is not leaving Disney entirely — per the Hollywood Reporter, he’s moving toward restructuring their streaming services Disney+ and Hulu. And among many of the projects being moved and lost in the shuffle comes one we certainly didn’t know about: A proposed Tron series.
Yep, that’s right. The cult 1982 sci-fi film about a computer programmer trapped inside a vicious computer game, which spawned a cult 2010 sci-fi sequel Tron: Legacy and a 2012-2013 cult animated series Tron: Uprising, almost inspired a new Disney+ series. The project was shepherded by John Ridley, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave, which I find to be such a fascinating, engaging choice. Ridley set up the project through his overall ABC Studios deal (of which his underrated TV show American Crime) was made. What would it have been about?
Well, it looks like we’ll never know. The show was never announced publicly, and before it made it to being officially greenlit, it fell apart — the kind of situation I imagine Iger will be trying to soothe now that he’s overseeing Disney+ content. We can certainly speculate about what could happen in a Tron series, however — as we interviewed Joseph Kosinski, director of Tron: Legacy, about the aborted film sequel Tron: Ascension. Kosinski, in 2017, said Disney didn’t necessarily cancel the film outright, instead saying it was in “cryogenic freeze.” Kosinski went on to lay out the plot of Ascension, making sure to mark that the future of Tron projects didn’t necessarily have to stay on the big screen.
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 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.
It’s a classic script-flip — instead of humans in the computer world, computers in the human world! Kosinski also referred to this as his “invasion” movie — all of which speaks to an openness that could’ve played perfectly in a serialized, television format. Was Ridley using any of this material for his aborted Tron show? We may never know… unless Iger feels like hitting reset any time soon.