Despite only consisting of two films, the Tron franchise has developed a notable following over the years. With that fanbase in mind, the consensus seemed to be that 2010’s Tron: Legacy would eventually lead to a third installment, but almost eight years later, nothing has happened yet. Now, according to Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund: it seems that Tron 3 never happened because of the mediocre reception to Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland. Per what Hedlund revealed on the Happy Sad Confused podcast:
Everything seemed ready to go on Tron 3, but when Tomorrowland ended up not earning the critical or commercial accolades that were expected of it (it has a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and a $209 million gross against a $190 million budget), the rumor mill at the time noted plug was pulled on Tron. As a result of this open schedule, Hedlund was then able to move onto other projects like Steven Soderbergh’s Mosaic, as well as the Oscar-nominated 2017 Sundance favorite, Mudbound.
Now, Garrett Hedlund’s remarks seem to confirm that. From a business point of view, this arguably appears to make a certain degree of sense for Disney. In terms of themes and visuals, the Tron franchise and Tomorrowland certainly share quite a few similarities. Both focus on genius scientist heroes and both involve immersing outsiders in richly-constructed sci-fi worlds. Even with Tron‘s built-in fanbase, investing enormous sums of money in a third installment (especially when Tron: Legacy similarly received a lukewarm reception) likely didn’t seem like a wise decision.
This Tron situation isn’t the first time that a failed franchise film has paved the way for Garrett Hedlund to work on a smaller project. Additionally, on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Friday Night Lights actor explained how he was initially attached to an unmade Akira adaptation, but that film’s failure to get off of the ground eventually led to his role as Johnny Five in Inside Llewyn Davis.
Of course, none of this necessarily means that we will never see another film in the Tron universe. Rumors about a possible Tron reboot circulated online as recently as last October, with Blade Runner 2049 star Jared Leto reportedly attached to the potential project. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the third Tron movie will ever actually make it to the big screen, but it sounds like the iteration that Garrett Hedlund was originally going to star in is now long gone.