If you're like me, when you heard that the planned sequel to Tron: Legacy was kaput you were probably a bit disappointed.
That is, till I gave it a bit of thought and realized that there are four reasons why there will be a sequel to 2010's Tron: Legacy at some point.
First, The Cancellation Was The Result Of (Irrational) Fear Based Upon An Entirely Unreleated Property
According to the trades, Tron 3 production was cancelled because Tomorrowland flatlined at the box office, which worried Disney executives.
Do you know what? I could understand it if we were talking about Tomorrowland 2, or a movie that was close to it, stylistically speaking.
The only similarities that I can see–I haven't see Tomorrowland, though I have seen the trailers–are that they are both high-concept, futuristic dramas.
And that's pretty much it. It's worth keeping in mind that despite what some people think, corporations aren't people, though that's what they're made up of.
And people panic, which as far as I can tell is what happened at Disney.
Though the thing is, if you sit down and take a breath, you can overcome panic.
So let's think just think of the current cancellation of Tron 3 as Disney taking a breath and re-evaluating their position.
Second, Tron is a known property
I honestly have no idea why Tomorrowland performed as weakly as it did–especially since, if people were suffering from franchise fatigue as much as some like to think they are–that an original production would have been exactly what they were looking for.
But it's a double-edged sword in that for all the reasons that make original productions attractive–they take advantage of the romance, the novelty of new things and their immunity to franchise fatigue–can also by their nature, be risky for studios to undertake.
Though Tron: Legacy has a following big enough to power it to earning over $400 million worldwide (and that's despite that fact that the the original film was made 18 years earlier). In other words, Tron and Tron: Legacy represent known properties, and that kind of brand recognition is worth literally millions of dollars.
Though enough to warrant a sequel? I have no idea, though if I were in search of a movie franchise I'd take the risk.
Third, other movies have been cancelled before production began, only to end up being made
It may seem shocking that Tron 3 was cancelled before production began, but the thing is, it's actually not all that unusual. Do you recall when Universal was working on an ambitious take on Stephen King's Dark Tower novels?
There was supposedly going to be a television series and AND a bunch of movies, before the project was cancelled.
And that was the end of development of The Dark Tower.
Till it wasn't. In fact, they're looking for a director right now. I suspect that the take this time around won't be as ambitious as they were originally planning, but I'll take 'scaled back' over 'not at all' any day of the week.
In other words, if you're like me and were expectantly waiting for a sequel to Tron: Legacy, don't get off the light cycle just yet.