The Real Reason The Tron Trilogy Never Got Finished

Point for point, 2010's Tron: Legacy should've been the biggest hit of the year. It had everything that its target demo of nerdy dudes between 18 and 34 were looking for: Dubstep, obscure and borderline unwatchable source material that one could condescendingly explain to their significant other ... and Jeff Bridges, during that period of time now fondly remembered as the Second Renaissance of the Dude.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Tron: Legacy, a sequel 28 years in the making, under-performed. On an estimated budget of $170 million, the film grossed just $172 million stateside, according to Box Office Mojo. The international market more than doubled that, but it wasn't enough to justify sinking even more money into an intellectual property whose fan base seemed limited in a world where a big budget film isn't successful unless it hits a cool billion. However, if the lackluster numbers from Legacy hadn't done enough to hurt the movie's chances for a sequel, the failure of another high-concept science fiction project definitely cooled Disney's jets altogether.

Light bikes, magic hammers, or lightsabers?

In an interview with MTV, Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund stated that it was Tommorrowland (a box office bomb that's surprisingly worth watching) that truly wrecked our odds of returning to the Grid. As reported by Screen Rant, Hedlund said, "When the next Tron was supposed to start — we were greenlit and ready to go — and then (Disney) had troubles with how Tomorrowland did. And I think they asked them to give them like a hundred reasons why they should do (Tron 3)."

And then, there arrived the final nail in the coffin — namely, Disney's acquisition of a pair of more recognizable "boy movie" franchises. When Tomorrowland came out in 2015, the House of Mouse had become pretty well warmed up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a property they'd obtained just before Tron: Legacy was released. Add to that their $4 billion purchase of a certain space opera from a galaxy far, far away, in 2012, and you can see why dumping money into a niche series from the eighties would feel like a step backwards.

However, don't give up hope. In 2017, Vanity Fair reported that a Tron reboot was in the works starring Jared Leto, who fans best remember as the lead singer from Thirty Seconds to Mars, when he's not busy leading a bizarre cult.