‘Tron: Uprising’: An early look at Disney’s return to the Grid

Feb. 20, 2012 | 11:28 a.m.
127522 0001 ‘Tron: Uprising’: An early look at Disneys return to the Grid

The Light Crawler is one of the new vehicles designed for "Tron: Uprising." (Disney XD)

The Grid, a world of shimmering, digital wonder, was introduced to moviegoers in 1982 film “Tron” and then taken to a new visual level in “Tron: Legacy” in 2010. Now the Grid is going to television and expanding with a wider mythology and new characters — and more of the sleek, glowing vehicles that fans love.

“Tron: Uprising,” which begins this summer on Disney XD, was developed by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, the same tandem that wrote “Tron: Legacy,” and they say the freedom of animation is allowing to explore the Grid without the constraints of a special effects budget.

“The fun thing about animation is all the stuff we couldn’t afford in [‘Tron: Legacy’], either because they were financially or technologically prohibitive, we can now do because it’s animated,” Kitsis said.

The duo, now also working on its freshman ABC show “Once Upon a Time,” has picked up the Grid’s story right after Clu takes over, which happened years before the events of “Legacy.” The new show isn’t about users — those are humans who go into Grid, such as Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) or  Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund)  in the films — but focuses instead on programs, the citizens of the Grid. The main character is Beck (voiced by Elijah Wood), the unlikely leader of a revolution against Clu.

As Kitsis puts it: “What happens when you find yourself occupied by a force that is not in your best interest – how do you fight back?”

As for the new vehicles, “Tron: Legacy” designer Daniel Simon is back on the job with creations such as the Light Crawler — which you can see in the exclusive early-look image above — and a Light Rail, which Kitsis calls “basically the coolest train you’ve ever seen — it goes upside down.”

tron premiere21 ‘Tron: Uprising’: An early look at Disneys return to the Grid

Edward Kitsis (left) and Adam Horowitz at the premiere of "Tron: Legacy." (John Sciulli / Getty Images)

In one episode, a fight takes place on the roof of the Light Rail, just one moment that evokes the western spirit that exists beneath the show’s high-tech trappings. The Grid, Horowitz explained, is “essentially a frontier town.”

Mandy Moore and Bruce Boxleitner (reprising his title role from the two movies) join Wood in the cast, while  Charlie Bean (“Ren & Stimpy,” “Samurai Jack”) is the show’s director-showrunner. “Tron: Uprising” also features the music of Daft Punk.

– Emily Rome

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Comments


47 Responses to ‘Tron: Uprising’: An early look at Disney’s return to the Grid

  1. Shaka says:

    TRON: Legacy had a lot going for it. Unfortunately, the writing was not one of those things.

  2. Steve Kidd says:

    That video's been around since July. IT'S NOT NEW.

  3. @BetterKevin says:

    These guys are good at TV shows so I'm sure it'll be more palpable than the writing of legacy

  4. Ira Owens says:

    Yeah I love that writers always say that it was the budget that got in the way…not the writing?

  5. Troff says:

    The writing was not, in any way, good. Nor, already from the sounds of it, will be the series.

    Even if you ignore the fact that Legacy pretty much spits all over the original (not to mention, not even a single nod to "TRON 2.0"), Legacy contradicted the associated materials "Betrayal" and "Evolution" – the other, star-appearing, Disney-backed stuff. how do you reconcile TRON's end in Betrayal with Legacy? How do you reconcile Quorra and Flynn's complete failure to mention the start of Evolution?

    Just looking at Legacy in isolation, the writing was poor. Why didn't Sam have any of Kevin Flynn's powers (even the powers of young Kevin)? How were Sam and Quorra able to escape the Grid when CLU and Rinzler couldn't go "off-road", but had flying LightJets?

    … and for that matter, would it have killed Kitsis and Horowitz to interview a couple of programmers to see how insane the idea of a spontaneously-generated program is? We live in a world where the Internet is everywhere; being ignorant of these things is like not being able to read a few hundred years after Gutenberg died. In a REAL world with gigabit Ethernet, different operating systems, Wi-Fi, RFID, Quantum computing basics, Beowulf clusters and VIRTUAL COMPUTERS… did K&H think they'd run out of source material before pulling this out of their asses?

    Legacy ignored what made TRON so special – it was a DIFFERENT WORLD where special laws of physics, utterly under the control of Humans are what apply.

    The Grid can't be a "frontier town" – remember, it's a COMPUTER. If it's a lawless place and programs are being destroyed everywhere (and there's no User to be writing or running new ones), then the computer is going to crash. Think how frustrated you get when Word or Excel crashes on you. Think what happens when (even a UNIX-like Solaris-knockoff) computer runs for 20 years, with programs crashing every minute. How long is the computer going to stay up?

    The fact that the "new designed vehicles" are such a big focus is a double-bad thing: bad because it means that characterisation and good writing are being sacrificed for flashy neon/latex designs (which, unlike original or TRON 2.0, aren't at all suggestive of Programs). Even worse, because we never got to see any of these new flashy vehicles in the now-later-set Legacy, or Evolution, or Betrayal.

    Time to re-install TRON 2.0 and install some of the fan content packs like Killer App, or start subscribing to TRON fanfic sites or even (this is the Open Source era) writing your own… because Kitsis, Horowitz and today's Disney don't understand what they have in TRON at all. As expensive and rigidly controlled as Apple; as blundering and bureaucratic as Microsoft; as over-reaching and community-hurtful as Oracle. Maybe, like IBM, they could start to re-invent themselves.

    If they could see the need. But they won't. It's all about the shekel, not about the product. Ironic, given what (thanks to Bonnie MacBird, more than Steven Lisberger) the original TRON movie had to say about people toiling away like slaves in cubicles… but their spirit lived on in every single work they created.

  6. Richard says:

    when are companies gona just gona let go of the fact other countries exist and let us watch too. depressed canadian here…i love tron great story

  7. sirving says:

    and video block edin Canada.. gotta love that BS.

  8. memeplex says:

    Can't view that video in Baja California, it's blocked……LET THE INTERNET BE FREE!!!!

  9. TronnedOut says:

    Troff, you're obviously a computer nerd and not a filmmaker. I am both, and Tron Legacy lives up to the expectations to be called a sequel in so many levels and so many layers of subtext. Stop going through forums and live life a little bit to understand the purpose of movies versus what we expect. For example, an elevator isn't going to pop open instantly every time. Stop being selfish. Every movie will not meet every bullet point on your list. But a good movie will wake you up and say think a little bit outside your own perspective. Tron Legacy is what sequels are supposed to be: built on the foundation of the previous and but evolves the subtext (the f-ing point of the movie). Maybe avoid typing a page of nonsense found from googling and maybe go understand filmmaking. I could go on for pages about the excellent writing in Tron Legacy but whats the point… people who understand decent filmmaking already know…

  10. JA_sni says:

    I like to watch TRON, but why this not allowed to my country, Malaysia, bro?

  11. Darren Carter says:

    I had an idea for a Tron sequel that would have rocked.

    Here is the premise… the MCP was decompiled in the original movie. If you recall, the MCP was a massive program that had swallowed many other "conscripts" to become what it was. My idea is this: After the MCP was knocked off-line, ENCOM sells off various components of the MCP code to different corporations around the globe. 30 years later, all of these companies have gone online except one…and they go online. All of the original MCP code is now connected via the internet, forming an enormous Neural network and the MCP regains consciousness, once again going after world domination – this time with the power and resources of the world wide web. In order to save the world from total control of a self-aware terrorist Master Control program, ENCOM sends Flynn & Co into the Internet to take on the MCP on his turf.

    Sure it could use some polishing, but I think there is potential there…

  12. Stranton says:

    I think if they do make a third movie, it needs to be more on the Grid Games. I thought the second movie would be like that. Still…I'm a big fan of Tron and plan to be forever.

  13. Not A Program says:

    Hey Troff, it's a movie. Not real life. Just an FYI.

  14. Andrew says:

    As long as it has Daft Punk Still ill be happy!!!

  15. Fernando says:

    Cool! “The uploader has not made this video available in your country”. That’s why I hate Disney and their publishers.

  16. Hamezandcream says:

    I was disappointed for a few reasons some of which are covered above. I felt Tron Legacy was a step backwards from the Matrix films, which at least attempted some philosophy such as how dependent we are on machines/computers. Also, in the original Tron film the Master control program was in essence like a Frankenstein's monster in that it had been created but was taking control. This was tapping into a paranoia such as the Terminator franchise of the day when technology takes over from humans (and bad stuff happens). There was no real threat in Tron-Legacy as if those 'baddies' came into the real world, I don't think we'd be that scared, but if in like 'war games' they control Nukes, then we're in the shit.

  17. Atrus says:

    Children, children!

    If you didn’t like legacy and have already made up your minds about not liking the cartoon then why are you reading this. Like you momma said if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Some people liked legacy some didn’t and the animated series will be the same just like the star wars prequels, Indiana jones, and a hundred other remakes and spin-offs. If you don’t like it then don’t watch it, it doesn’t mean it’s BAD it just means its not for you!

  18. Troff says:

    To Not A Program:

    > Hey Troff, it's a movie. Not real life. Just an FYI.

    Oh, I know. But the original was a movie that got me started in my career and life-long interest; as it did to so many other people. I have a lot of love for it, that's all.

    ——-

    To Atrus:

    > If you didn't like legacy and have already made up your minds about not liking the cartoon then why are you reading this.

    Because it has great source material, such better potential; and we hope for more.

    ——-

    To TronnedOut:

    > Troff, you're obviously a computer nerd and not a filmmaker.

    Don't appreciate your terminology, but you're basically correct.

    > I am both, and Tron Legacy lives up to the expectations to be called a sequel in so many levels and so many layers of subtext.

    Please elucidate these levels and layers. There are many professional reviewers who quite openly claim that Legacy does not.

    > Stop going through forums and live life a little bit to understand the purpose of movies versus what we expect.

    "Going through forums"? Oh I'm so sorry, did my opinion offend you?

    And what, precisely, are you doing here then?

    People like you who keep accepting the pap that comes out of Hollywood are the reason they get away with continually producing such pap.

    > For example, an elevator isn't going to pop open instantly every time.

    Stop being so thoroughly silly. Not once did I say that the original TRON movie was technically accurate; however, its innovation and the inspiration it provided to an entire demographic, whether through technical achievement or even in concept of story, is still undeniable.

    > Stop being selfish.

    Damn you to hell sir, I will not. I reiterate: people like you who keep accepting the pap that comes out of Hollywood are the reason they get away with continually producing such pap. If Hollywood wants my money, it has to get that precisely by satisfying me.

    William H. Macy said "It seems to me that throughout the entire history of film-making, every year there have been about two really wonderful movies, about ten others that are pretty good, and a whole pile of garbage. That seems to be consistent year after year, if you ask me".

    If Hollywood wants more money, it should skew that Bell Curve towards the positive. But hey, if you're willing to give up your cash for substandard, below average, intellectually crippled mindless trash, that's your problem. However, you may NOT enforce your foolishness on others.

    The entire point of progress in human technology and society is to do what we do, then learn to make it a little better. You have no right whatsoever to tell me I can't expect a group with Hollywood's and Disney's resources to keep coasting and not put some better work into their product if they want my loyalty.

    And quite frankly, I fear for your nation if they're composed of people who're happy to let such quality slide.

    … continued in part 2. Longer comment spaces please, LA Times?

  19. Troff says:

    Part 2: to Tronned Out:

    > Every movie will not meet every bullet point on your list.
    Olivia Wilde's emotional expression as she discovers the Real World. Daft Punk's soundtrack. It would've been nice if it had met more than TWO.

    > But a good movie will wake you up and say think a little bit outside your own perspective.
    The original TRON succeeded.

    After being comfortable with works like Cory Doctorow's and Benjamin Rosenbaum's "True Names", or the workds of Greg Egan or Charles Stross, "TRON Legacy" failed to even turn the key in the door of "my own perspective".

    So even by your definition, "TRON Legacy" fails to be a "good movie".

    > Tron Legacy is what sequels are supposed to be:

    Under-thought, conceptually stolen-and-slapped together cash grabs without a single real attempt at understanding the deeper philosophy of the innovative and inspirational source material as a vehicle for merchandising to a public who've learned to accept the lowest common intellectual denominator?

    Are you American? Because frankly, you're ringing all the bells that non-Americans have been seeing come out of American culture. I'm pegging you as an O'Reilly fan rather than, say, a Stewart or Colbert watcher.

    > built on the foundation of the previous and but evolves the subtext (the f-ing point of the movie)

    What subtext? Precisely what evolution? By all means, earn my apology by pointing to some genuinely intelligent subtext!

    Director Kosinski has said explicitly; that he hadn't rewatched the original before making the new movie; more, that this became about "the human story", rather than everything that had made the original movie groundbreaking and unlike EVERY OTHER MOVIE IN THE WORLD that tries to be about "the human story". The whole point of any kind of science-fiction is to show how the new, the invented, the different will change us. Instead, Legacy just became another "oh boo-hoo, my dad's gone".

    And I find it more interesting that you haven't answered the other criticisms – that Kitsis and Horowitz failed to write consistently within the logic of their own SINGLE movie, let alone with the storylines that came out of the associated materials "Betrayal" and "Evolution"; that unlike original writer Bonnie Macbird, they didn't even bother trying to understand the computer industry before embarrassing themselves with the Boardroom scene.

    > Maybe avoid typing a page of nonsense found from googling and maybe go understand filmmaking.
    First you call me a "computer nerd", then you're simply assuming that I'm commenting on this topic by copying-and-pasting somebody else's text, rather than actually having an idea on the topic? Are you too fanboy angry-and-offended to think clearly or just too immature to seek quality?

    > I could go on for pages about the excellent writing in Tron Legacy but whats the point… people who understand decent filmmaking already know…
    Let's see what Roger Ebert had to say: `may not have legs, because its appeal is too one-dimensional for an audience much beyond immediate responders. When "2001" was in theaters, there were fans who got stoned and sneaked in during the intermission for the sound-and-light trip. I hesitate to suggest that for "Tron: Legacy," but the plot won't suffer'.

    Thank you; for demonstrating that you have absolutely no idea of what you're actually saying. I won't call you stupid, but you've certainly demonstrated that you enjoy wallowing in ignorance. You've provided no reason to believe that you're either computer nerd or film-maker instead of some thirteen-year-old.

  20. Long live Tron says:

    Wish there was a 2nd movie after Legacy. Regardless of torn now becoming a t.v show, you'll most likely be finding me infrint of a t.v. =P

  21. fred says:

    Troff = knob. It was a brilliant movie.

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