The sci-fi franchise that gets the award for having the longest time between sequels is clearly Tron. It's been a full ten years since Tron: Legacy became more famous for its Daft Punk score than its plot, and it's been 38 years since the original Tron bravely suggested (pre-internet!) that an entire sci-fi movie set inside of a computer could be awesome.
For the Tron loyalists (greetings, programs, I am one of you) the idea of more Tron is always a good thing. That said, with the recent news that Disney is moving forward with a new Tron sequel. (TR3? Threeon? Tro3?) starring Jared Leto, there are some big questions that must be addressed. So grab your disc and get ready to fight for the users. Here are three in-universe questions the new Jared Leto-led Tron has to grapple with for anyone to care at all.
3.Tron 3 must justify the existence of whatever Jared Leto's character is doing
Although we don't actually know anything about the plot of Tron 3 — it could be a black and white steampunk period piece about Alan Bradley's grandfather played by Leto — we do know Leto is starring in the movie which seems to suggest that the stars of the previous film — Olivia Wilde (Quorra) and Garrett Hedlund (Sam) — are out. Or, if they are in it, Leto's casting seems to suggest they'll have diminished roles.
Tron is a weird sci-fi franchise insofar as each major human character tends to have a doppelgänger who exists in the virtual world of the Grid: Flynn has Clu, Alan has Tron, Dillinger has Sark. In Legacy, Sam and Quorra are kind of the exceptions to this rule insofar as Sam only exists in the "real world" and Quorra — up until the very end — only exists in the Grid. So, the question is, what kind of character is Jared Leto playing? In a since-deleted tweet, Leto hinted that the title of Tron 3 is actually Tron: Ares, which might suggest that's the name of his character. Ares is the Greek god of war, known by the Romans as Mars. If Leto is playing a Program named "Ares," does that mean he exists in the real world, too?
2. The fate of Quorra and ISOs has to be explained
The virtual Grid in Tron: Legacy is not actually the same Grid from the original film. This is important because when Flynn built the new Grid, he somehow, accidentally, created something in the system that gave rise to Isomorphic Algorithms, better known as ISOs. (Short explanation: These are random sentient programs that were not created by the Users.) Quorra was the most famous ISO in Legacy, but by the end of the movie, we don't have a good sense of what is going to happen to her people next. We also have no idea what bringing her into the "real world" did to people's perception of A.I. in the real world. Did Sam keep her a secret? Would people even believe that she was born in a computer?
The ending of Legacy is kind of like the ending of Ducan Jones' film Moon. You get the sense that all of humanity is going to change because of this very specific revelation about the nature of life, and then... nothing. If Legacy was the last movie in the Tron mythos, this would be fine. But because this new movie is coming, literally everything about the ISOs, and Quorra in specific has to be talked about.
If Tron 3 ignores the ISOs and Quorra, the movie is going to have some trouble. This is the biggest change Legacy made from the first film. If Tron 3 is a real sequel to Legacy, this must be the focus.
1. What's up with ENCOM and Dillinger Jr. ?
Another fairly large plot point created by Legacy was the introduction of Edward Dillinger Jr., played by Cillian Murphy. In the film, Dillinger does not have a huge role — like at all — but for fans of the 1982 Tron, the introduction of the young Dillinger was a huge Easter egg that seemed to set-up an obvious sequel.
In the first Tron, Dillinger Sr. (David Warner) was the evil corporate leader of tech firm ENCOM, who, in creating the Master Control Program, basically created all the problems. By the end of Tron, Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) manage to take over ENCOM from Dillinger, but the loose backstory of Legacy implies that after Flynn disappeared, Dillinger Jr. became a major player at ENCOM. Around the time the cast of Legacy was doing interviews, Boxleitner heavily implied that Murphy's Dillinger would be involved in a sequel. "Let's just say... Cillian Murphy doesn't do cameos."
In Legacy, Murphy certainly plays his Dillinger with menace. You get the sense in his brief scenes that he knows more about what's going on in the Grid than he's letting on. And, in at least one Blu-ray Easter egg, he addresses some secret program as "Dad," which could mean that he has rebooted the MCP. Keep in mind that the main villain the original Tron was the MCP. But in Tron: Legacy, the big bad was the evil Kevin Flynn duplicate: the rogue program Clu.
If Tron 3 is going to pick-up any threads from the previous two movies, the return of the Master Control Program seems like the most likely. And if it's going to do that, that means Cillian Murphy's Dillinger has to be involved — even if it's only off-screen
Bonus-question: Is Daft Punk back?
Obviously, if Daft Punk isn't doing the music for Tron 3, there's going to be some problems. This confirmation, is, arguably, more important than any casting announcement. In fact, if I learned that Tron 3 would ignore the canon of the previous two films BUT Daft Punk would be back, I'd probably be fine with that.
Tron 3 is in development.