The last trailer for Tron Legacy left us with plenty of questions, so we went to producer Sean Bailey for answers. In our exclusive interview, we scan and decipher Tron's identity discs, Sirens and Flynn's relationship with Quorra (Olivia Wilde.)
And it should go without saying, there are spoilers ahead.
One of the things we noticed in the footage were the updates on the recognizer, what other things have been upgraded in this new Tron world?
I'm really glad you noticed. Joe and his team are certainly the most detail-oriented team I've seen. Every little touch. If you also looked you can see that when the recognizer lands, the feet take the weight, and how a couple big flaps flip up, because they were a part of the landing. The light-cycles, I remember Joe going through with a laser pointer saying, "What does this do, and how does this work? I need this piece here." Every piece on the vehicle had a function, so that the vehicle would look and feel like they actually existed and served their purpose. It wasn't just "cool design — ship it." There was a lot of thinking about how this all actually works.
How important are the identity disks people wear on their backs? They seem pretty important.
I'm glad, I'm glad [you noticed]. They are really important in the plot of the movie. They are really important to what happens and what they mean and what they ultimately come to represent. We do view it as the characters in this movie, it's ultimately their soul. It's what has everything about them. So the idea that you can be separated from that is an interesting thing. Part of the reason we picked the piece we did was to showcase this is where he [Sam] gets his disc, this is where he is armed for the the world he's about to experience. [In the Comic Con footage we saw a clip of Sam getting suited up and receiving his identity disc, more information here].
Olivia Wilde's character Quorra, what's her relationship with Flynn?
She's his confidant. She's kind of the one person in the world who's been around him for a while now. And her character has a lot of surprises in store. So she's the one character we don't talk a lot about. She is a wonderful vivacious ass-kicking addition to this world.
Is there a romantic relationship between these two?
It's not a romantic relationship. It's a little more of an apprentice-type relationship.
The battle scars that were shown, they were pretty violent looking. There was one character whose face was half digitized away. I'm curious was that a battle scar, a game scar, was it self inflicted samurai style? And how horrific is this movie going to get?
That was a battle scar. We envisioned that, that was something that happened to him while traveling throughout the world. It's wasn't quite derezzing — which you also saw in the piece when the disc goes through [one character] and the guy breaks into cubes of glass. We wanted the movie to feel very visceral and real, and when you get hit you feel it. There's no blood in our movie. The wounds are digital wounds, but we wanted them to feel very very strong.
In the footage that you screened in Comic Con one of our first reactions to the shots with the three women, whom you call Sirens, dressing young Flynn in his Tron armor, was that this looked like a fantasy movie. They reminded us of a sages, a three-headed monster, or an oracle. So is Tron a modern-day fantasy story? Is Sam the new Knight in shining armor?
I think we wanted this digital world — we made a couple big decisions early on. We thought this isn't an internet movie. This is about a [virtual] universe that was left alone. And it developed, like a Galapagos, over time. It evolved into it's own distinct thing. So in terms of a character from our world going into a brand new universe, with all of its hopefully dimensions of factions and different ideologies and a history of its own ruler [who] came into power. That was a big part for us. Is it fantasy? I don't know that, I guess it depends on your definition. But it is certainly when you're in the room with the Sirens, as we call those characters. It certainly has a mythological feel to it.
Are there other nods to mythology or ancient times in the film?
I think it's a combination of things. We never really want to get too bogged down in any particular nomenclature. We didn't want a lot of tech speak. We didn't want to be talking about downloads and K and RAM. It's all there, I think, as metaphor. We treat the world very material. For the people that live in this system, they don't know that there's anything else out there. So this world for them is all there is, so it's completely legitimate in their minds. And they have their own terminology for how everything works. What people want to read into that, I do think it's a mythic story. We tried for a story that did have some ambitions in terms of commenting on the relationship of biological and digital, Father son, and what is the legacy of this pioneering.
What do you think is the hero's journey in this?
Sam Flynn — our lead — his father disappears when he's a young boy. He doesn't know what happened to him. it's kind of a Bobby Fischer style disappearance. In 20 he's really confused and really scarred, and he's probably not the man he otherwise would have grown up to be. He then gets a clue as to his father's whereabouts, and he follows that clue. And in doing so learns a lot about himself, what happened to his father, and hopefully kind of becomes the man, in a Joseph Campbell kind of sense, that maybe he was meant to be.
Is Sam a bad kid?
Troubled kid. Complicated kid. He's trying to figure out and growing up in the shadow of this legend. It really is confusing to him. It's manifested itself in some interesting behaviors.