Shortly after the release of TRON: Legacy, Disney began hinting that they would reformat 1982’s favourite security program for the small screen. The concept seemed interesting, but in the wake of Legacy’s painfully mediocre storytelling, I wasn’t quite ready to let myself get invested in this project. Months past and thoughts of Tron on television drifted from my mind. This morning, as I waited for the Wednesday update to one of my guilty pleasures, a gaming web series called Continue?, I saw the brand new preview trailer for TRON: Uprising. I don’t know how Disney keeps doing it, but once again they’ve managed to suck me into the grid. Here’s the video.
The concept actually seems like something that could work. Given that Legacy glazed over CLU’s rise to power, the very conflict that the series is set to explore, there’s certainly room for some creative freedom. Yet CLU’s war against Flynn, free programs, and the ISOs had a particularly dark air about it; words like “purge” and “holocaust” featured prominently within the discourse, if I recall correctly. Beyond that, there’s the “Bread and Circuses” nature of life in CLU’s regime that sees unregistered programs and political dissidents executed in public spectacles. To my recollection, only two western animated series have ever dealt with ideas of genocide, asynchronous warfare, and the totalitarian state with any level of sophistication: Exo-Squad and Transformers: Beast Machines. I’d love it if TRON: Uprising became the third, but the giant Disney production stamp gives me pause for consideration.
I’m also interested to see what sort of hand waving, or perhaps even retconning, will be used to deal with the Tron/Rinzler question. The trailer suggests that Tron is dead. Yet the implication is that Beck is being trained by a growly voiced Bruce Boxleitner. I imagine the series will give us an episode or two of Tron training Beck before Bruce Boxleitner gets too expensive bad things happen and a fully indoctrinated Rinzler emerges. Then again, if they can afford Elijah Wood, Lance Henriksen, Mandy Moore, and Emmanuelle Chriqui, Boxleitner’s presence might be more than a short-term way to lure existing fans into the series.
Speaking of luring people in, I really hope that the series keeps using Daft Punk’s TRON: Legacy soundtrack. The mind boggles at how it didn’t earn an Oscar nomination for best original soundtrack.
The only other concern that comes to mind after watching Uprising’s trailer is the inevitable question of prequels: how do you keep the audience interested if they already know the ending? It’s certainly possible, as evidenced by the success of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which is returning for a fifth season in the Fall of 2012.
So let’s recap. If we take it as a given that Tron: Uprising is going to look pretty as all hell, the series is already teasing us with solid voice actors, a potentially smart concept, and more Daft Punk. I think that’s a win.
TRON: Uprising releases on Disney XD and bit torrents near you in June of 2012.