Aug 01, 2008 01:04 PM EST

GAME OVER for TRON's First Director

t's been a week now since that "TR2N" teaser trailer ran at Comic-Con. And Disneyana & sci-fi fans are desperate for additional information about this Summer 2010 release.
Well, let me share some info that I'm sure will send all of you "TRON" fanboys out there straight off the Game Grid. Guess who's the real power-behind-the-throne (The Master Control Program, if you will) on this particular Walt Disney Pictures production? Would you believe John Lasseter?
Yep, the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios has quite the soft spot when it comes to the original "TRON." Lasseter still remembers when he first saw this Steve Lisberger film. Which was back in 1981 when John was just a lowly animator toiling away on "Mickey's Christmas Carol."
One lunch hour while wandering around the Disney lot, Lasseter came upon the trailers where all of the 16 X 20 Kodalith cels that were used in this 1982 production were stored. And it was here that John first saw "TRON" 's lightcycle sequence. And as Lasseter looked at this CG sequence ...
"It absolutely blew me away! A little door in my mind opened up. I looked at it and said, `This is it! This is the future!'"
Mind you, John was quite taken with the look of "TRON" (as well as -- of course -- that film's use of computer animation). But as for that movie's storyline ... Lasseter wasn't really a fan. He felt that Lisberger had missed some obvious opportunities to create a truly compelling piece of entertainment. Something that would have touched an audience's emotions as it dazzled their eyes.
Which is why -- even though Steve (i.e. "TRON" 's original director & co-writer) has spent the past five years developing a script for a sequel -- none of that material will now be used in the production of "TR2N."
Don't get me wrong, folks. Lasseter is still extremely respectful of all the groundbreaking work that Lisberger & his production team did on the first "TRON." Which is why Steve will receive a co-producer credit on this 2010 Walt Disney Pictures release. But as for Lisberger having any real creative input on the sequel ... "GAME OVER !," man.
"So -- if Steve isn't working on the 'TR2N' screenplay anymore -- who is then?," you ask. Well ... Allegedly at John's insistence, Disney hired Eddie Kitsis & Adam Horowitz to create a script for this sequel. Given their long association with "Lost," Kitsis & Horowitz have lots of experience when it comes to guiding colorful characters through surreal settings. Which made Eddie & Adam an obvious choice for the "TR2N" assignment.
And if Lisberger's no longer slated to helm the "TRON" sequel, who's Disney now going to get to direct this movie? Joseph Kosinski. Who has yet to actually direct a full-length feature film but has created some award-winning commercials for Saab, Nike and X-Box.
In fact, if you want to get some sense of the visual look that Joseph wants to bring to "TR2N," click on the above links. Or -- better yet -- check out Kosinski's animated architectural renderings. These will give you a better sense of Joseph's eye. The way this guy moves a camera. Which offers a hint of how truly dazzling a Kosinski-directed version of "TRON" could be.
Speaking of which ... To convince Disney executives that his vision for "TR2N" was commercially viable, Joseph spent six months working in secret with the folks at Digital Domain. Laboring to create a vivid, updated version of "TRON" 's famous lightcycles. With the hope that this three-minute-long sequence would then prove to the suits that a sequel to this 26-year-old film would actually appeal to today's gamers.
Which brings us to Disney Interactive Studios' involvement in the "TR2N" project ... To help prime the pump for this potentially-hugely-profitable profect, Disney's gaming division actually released an Xbox 360 version of those classic arcade games, "TRON" and "Discs of TRON," last summer. Given the huge number of units that were then sold to video game players as well as "TRON" fans ... It was clear that there are a lot of people out there who -- just like John Lasseter -- have a very soft spot in their hearts when it comes to this particular Walt Disney Productions release.
But that said ... There are still those at the Studio who are saying that it may be a mistake to release a "TRON" sequel 28 years after the fact.
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