It’s been so long since the first “Tron” film that Hall H panel host Patton Oswalt joked that he wanted to show an in memoriam package for “all the people who died waiting for this.”
He didn’t, but Disney and “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski did unveil eight minutes of footage from their December release, in which Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), son of “Tron” hero Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), is sent back into a virtual universe to fight a futuristic battle and, ultimately, meet his father, the wrongly accused ENCOM hacker.
The footage and a new trailer, which focused on Sam Flynn’s indoctrination into the virtual world, had the sleek modernity that fans have wanted since the sequel was first announced. “I wanted to tell a story that couldn’t be told until today,” Kosinski said, citing numerous technological leaps since the the original, which was itself considered cutting-edge when it came out in 1982. Panelists also emphasized how much Tron has sunk into pop culture, with a video montage showing references to Tron in clips ranging from “The Simpsons” to a Daft Punk show. (The French techno duo provided the soundtrack to the new film.)
The Hall H panel also saw an unusual moment in which the entire crowd, numbering about 6,000 people, was asked to quiet down and then instructed by some text on a giant screen to shout out various catchphrases (“Disk. Wars”) and stomp their feet in unison. It could have been an elaborate psychological experiment in group behavior, but the idea, Kosinski said, was to mix some of the sound into the final cut of the film so that the Comic-Con attendees would essentially become vocal extras.
Reprising his role in said film as Kevin Flynn is Jeff Bridges, who, through the art of some nifty technology, appears in the new film not only as his 60-something self but as his 30-something self, with the two sharing the screen. (The conceit is that the old Kevin Flynn has been trapped inside the virtual world in the nearly three decades since the first movie came out.)
In a Dude-like moment, the actor talked about “the darker side of technology” and encouraged attendees to visit a website dedicated to the eradication of plastic water bottles. Then he gave a rather punchy answer to why he wanted to come back to the franchise. “It’s a different world. There was no Internet [then], and we carried phones around in a suitcase,” he said. “But the same thing that attracted me to the original did to ‘Tron: Legacy,’ and that was a chance to play around with the technology.”
Other cast members on the panel marveled at their personal progress with technology. “Video games are such a complex world,” said co-star Olivia Wilde. “The last video game I played was ‘Duck Hunt.’ Things have changed.”
Photo: “Tron: Legacy.” Credit: Walt Disney Pictures
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