We were treated to eight new minutes of awesome footage from Tron: Legacy — giving us a clear look at the virtual world, computer programs, and young Jeff Bridges. Plus, audience members got a chance to be in the movie!
Patton Oswalt kicked off this year's Tron panel by asking director Joe Kosinski about his goals in making a sequel to the original Tron:
It was an honor but a daunting challenge to do the next chapter of that story, and I knew that we had to push it, creatively, technically, and the story — to really tell a story that couldn't be told until now.
And we got our first look at that next chapter today, with eight minutes from the film. Unlike last year's teaser footage (which was set in Flynn's Arcade), this segment took place inside the virtual world, shortly after Garrett Hedlund's Sam Flynn lands. He finds himself hassled by soldiers rounding up rogue programs. The soldiers recognize that Sam has no identification disk and deem him a stray. They force him into a Recognizer, where he is chained along other "stray" programs. As Sam expresses his disbelief, one program tells him that he should be quiet if he wants to survive, another babbles desperately about the Games, and a third turns his face — and we see it is partially deleted.
The Recognizer lands and the stray programs are given their assignments. Most of the programs are designated "Rectify," but Sam and the babbler are both assigned to the Games. The babbler grows even more desperate, and breaks free from the guards, screaming "Erase me!" as he leaps to his death. Sam is meanwhile locked into a pad and shot town a tube into a sterile room.
Four equally sterile, model-beautiful women in sleek white suits and high heels move out of the walls in unnatural, robotic unison. Two of them beam lights from their figures and strip Sam down, although a black undersuit appears almost immediately. The walls open, revealing an armory. They outfit Sam in the armor, which immediately begins glowing. "This one is different," one muses. Then another woman takes an identity disk and implants it in Sam's back, explaining that it will record everything that happens from here on out. His eyes glow as they install the disk. Sam is summoned to the Games, and he asks the women what he is supposed to do. She stares at him blankly, "Survive."
It's obvious from the footage that a lot of love has gone into Tron Legacy. It's not just that the CG is beautiful (it is), but the details that have put into creating this moody virtual world. For example, the Recognizer's design has been reinterpreted in a clever way, giving it moving parts that pay homage to the original while updating the design. The suits the characters wear are actually illuminated — rather than illuminated in post-production — giving everything an eerie glow. And the film was shot in 3-D, rather than being converted, allowing for some special touches. At one point, we see Sam through a windowed hatch and it actually looks like we are looking at him through glass, with the reflections in the foreground. And there are hints of the epic nature of the overall film. Although the four women who prep Sam for the Games look better suited to a makeup ad than a science fiction film (and some of the shots only reinforce that feeling), they still behave like a mystical creature out of a classic fantasy film — despite their stripped-down appearance and environment.
And the young Jeff Bridges effect? Simply amazing. There were plenty of jokes that 35-year-old Jeff Bridges was actually hanging around the set — hitting on Olivia Wilde, eating all the carbs at craft service — from the brief moments we saw of him in the trailer footage, he looks like an actual, believable character in the film.
Here's a new trailer that just went up at Yahoo! Movies:
As an added surprise, audience members got the opportunity to lend their voices to the final film. Skywalker Sound was on hand to record audio for some of the movie's stadium scenes. The audience was asked to chant in unison: "Disk Wars!" "Riz-ler" and "Dee-Rez!" Assuming the recording turns out to everyone's satisfaction, it will be inserted into the film.
With Tron: Legacy coming out in December, one audience member wanted to know if we'd be seeing an original Tron theatrical re-release, possibly in 3D? Kosinski confirmed that the idea is on the table:
You can expect to see the original Tron in some exciting new formats, hopefully some time soon.
Meanwhile, at a press conference, we got a chance to take part in asking the film's stars and crew some questions. Here are some highlights:
Why did you decide not to use the Lora/Yorii characters, played by Cindy Morgan in the original film?
Joe Kosinski: Our story is a father-and-son story. It's the story of Sam Flynn searching for his father, who disappeared into the mainframe. You have to make difficult choices. For this story we chose to focus on he story of Sam and Flynn. The character played by Cindy Morgan is in the Tron Universe. However just not in this particular story.
For those who had to wear the iconic suits, what was that like?
And you can see the answer to that question for yourself!
Additional reporting by Meredith Woerner.