Given the firestorm that that "TRON" test footage created at last year's Comic-Con … Well, it only made sense that the creative team behind this highly anticipated follow-up to that landmark 1982 film would then return to San Diego to reveal even more to this year's attendees.
The only problem is … Director Joseph Kosinski just completed principal photography on "TRON: Legacy" last week. Which means that - with the exception of one brief scene (Which showed Sam Flynn [played by Garrett Hedlund] visiting the long-shuttered Flynn's Arcade. Where Sam then searched for clues relating to the disappearance of his Dad, Kevin [played by Jeff Bridges]) -- Disney didn't really have anything significant to show all those "TRON" fans in the audience.
Well, that isn't entirely true. Everyone who was seated in Hall H "Oohed" & "Aahed" when last year's test footage was shown again. Only this time in 3D. Which then gave a hint of how dazzling the finished version of this Disney Digital 3D film will be.
Likewise the hall erupted in cheers as Bridges bounded on stage to talk about what it was like to once again play Flynn.
Bridges said that it was surprisingly easy to revisit this character, to pick up where he left off 27 years ago. "It wasn't that difficult," he explained. "You'd think that you'd kind of forget these things. But you eventually fall back into it."
Mind you, Jeff knew that there was some real pent-up demand for a "TRON" sequel. In an interview session after Thursday's Disney 3D panel, Bridges talked about how - whenever he'd be out doing press for some of the other films that he's made over the past 25 years - one of the reporters would invariably ask him about some "TRON" follow-up that was supposedly in the works.
"They'd tell me the proposed storyline of this picture. About how Flynn had now become like Colonel Kurtz and gone rogue inside of cyberspace," he laughed. "I said ‘That sounds really interesting. But nobody's ever talked with me about a movie like that.' "
But that said, "TRON: Legacy" producer Sean Bailey did touch on the 10 - 15 years that a "TRON" sequel has been in development at Disney. "This really wasn't a case of us going through our film library and then saying ‘Let's remake this & this & this.' This is a project that was driven by vision. If Joe (Kosinski) didn't have a strong vision about how we could revisit the world of TRON, the stories that we could tell there, the things we could show the audience, we wouldn't have made this film."
Speaking of which … Though Kosinski & Bailey strove to make "TRON: Legacy" a standalone film (Translation: Even if you haven't seen the 1982 Walt Disney Productions release that this project is based on and/or don't really remember any of the characters or the plot from that Steve Lisberger movie, you'll still be able to enjoy "TRON: Legacy), there will be lots of little nods & winks to the first film that "TRON" fans are sure to enjoy.
And speaking of Mr. Lisberger … Steven (who's been working on getting a "TRON" sequel made at Disney for almost a decade now) is just glad that the planets have finally aligned. That - for one reason or another - it now seems like the right time to make a follow-up to the first film. "It almost seems like a generational thing," Lisberger said. "That we had to wait ‘til cyberspace actually caught up with the world that we created in that first film before we could then revisit that world. Go out and explore the frontier. See what else there is to the World of TRON."
Steven and Joseph promised to return to Comic-Con next year with the finished version of their film. To show "TRON: Legacy" to the very people who - thanks to their incredibly vocal response to that "TRON" test footage last year - convinced Disney executives to then greenlight production of this "TRON" follow-up.
Which (I'm thinking) means that - this time next year - I'm going to spend another 2-plus hours standing in the sun outside of Hall H. Ah, the joys of covering Comic-Con.