IAR Exclusive: Bruce Boxleitner Gives an Update on 'TRON' Sequel and Animated Series

Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:59 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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IAR Exclusive: Bruce Boxleitner Gives an Update on 'TRON' Sequel and Animated Series

In 1982, writer-director Steven Lisberger's TRON represented a major step forward in visual effects, but its technical accomplishments didn't make it the commercial success Disney was aiming for.  The film then spent two decades gaining a fervent cult following, prompting Disney to create a big budget sequel in 2010.  The studio made it abundantly clear that TRON: Legacy was meant to kickstart a new franchise, but there's been little movement on another theatrical TRON in the last year.  Now, star Bruce Boxleitner himself has provided an update on the third TRON, as well as this year's animated series TRON: Uprising.

The actor has an extensive resume, and is well known to genre fans as Captain John Sheridan on Babylon 5, but he is certainly most well known for his role in TRON.  In fact, he played two roles in the film.  In the real-world scenes, he appeared as Encom computer programmer Alan Bradley, but once the story entered the digitized world, Boxleitner played the title character, an heroic security program. In TRON: Legacy he again played Bradley, as well as Tron, in flashback scenes that featured Boxleitner looking almost thirty years younger thanks to some digital effects. 

At a Playboy Mansion party celebrating the Blu-ray and DVD release of Relativity Media's Immortals this week, IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick had the opportunity to talk to Bruce Boxleitner about the possible second TRON sequel. 

While Tron did appear in TRON: Legacy, many fans were displeased that there simply wasn't enough of the character.  Asked if we'd see more of Tron in another film, Boxleitner said simply, "Yes," and went on to say the story would be a direct continuation. "The last movie didn't end," he said. "It actually started the next movie and then went to black."

Director Joseph Kosinski made his feature directorial debut on Legacy, and the film's $400 million in global grosses made it the biggest debut in film history.  The tremendous expense involved in producing and promoting the film, though, meant a smaller profit margin than that massive figure suggests.  As such, there's been plenty of talk that another TRON might not go forward, but Boxleitner is enthusiastic.

"It's in the works," he explained. "Anything could happen, but all I can say is, it's in its formative stages.  [Joseph] Kosinski, who is slated for it, he's shooting another movie now, and then they'll get around to doing that.  I think somewhere around 2014, maybe.  I'm talking way out of school here, but they can't shoot me because I'm Tron."

Kosinski is currently directing another science fiction epic, alternately titled Oblivion and Horizons, for Universal Pictures.  That film is set to hit theaters on July 19, 2013, after which, according to Boxleitner, the next TRON will proceed.

In June of last year, Disney hired screenwriter David DiGilio to write a script for the still-hypothetical sequel.  Legacy screenwriting duo Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz could not return due to their duties executive producing the ABC series Once Upon a Time, but they're still involved TRON: Uprising, the animated series set to air on Disney XD this year.  The reception to that series, which bridges the narrative gap between TRON and TRON: Legacy, will almost certainly be a gauge for the studio to determine continued audience interest in going back to the Grid.

Boxleitner lends his voice to TRON: Uprising, and said of the series, "I'm very proud of that.  It's, I think, every bit as good as the movies.  We have this tremendous talent, Elijah Wood, myself, Lance Henrikson, Mandy Moore, Paul Reubens, it just keeps going."

Asked about his exact role on the animated series, Boxleitner happily replied, "Who else would I be?  I'm Tron.  It's going to be on my gravestone, 'He was Tron.'"

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