Joseph Kosinski is currently riding high on the incredible success of Top Gun: Maverick, but just over a decade ago, he was making his feature directorial debut with Tron: Legacy. Even before the release of Tron: Legacy, a third film was in the early stages of development. Disney later greenlit the project with Kosinski set to direct and Garret Hedlund and Olivia Wilde returning as well, but in 2015, they pulled the plug on Tron 3.
Exactly why Disney decided to scrap Tron 3 wasn’t revealed at the time, but Joseph Kosinski told Vulture that he thinks it’s because the studio had two very exciting new toys to play with — Marvel and Star Wars.
I got so close. I really tried. I got close in 2015, and Disney pulled the plug on it. I hadn’t built anything, but I had the whole movie storyboarded and written. I was really excited because it was inverting the idea: It was all that stuff coming into our world, and it was about the blending of the two. But it was a different Disney by 2015. When I made Tron: Legacy, they didn’t own Marvel; they didn’t own Star Wars. We were the play for fantasy and science fiction. And once you’ve got those other things under your umbrella, it makes sense that you’re going to put your money into a known property and not the weird art student with black fingernails in the corner — that was Tron.
Looking on the bright side, Joseph Kosinski said that if he had made Tron 3 at the time, he likely wouldn’t have been able to make Only the Brave and his other movies, but added that he “couldn’t be more thrilled” that Tron: Legacy has grown into a cult classic just like the original.
Although Joseph Kosinski’s Tron 3 may have been shelved, Disney hasn’t completely given up on the Tron franchise. Jared Leto has long been attached to star in a Tron sequel that will be directed by Garth Davis (Lion). Leto gave an update on the project earlier this year. “I’m a super fan of Tron, and we are working hard on Tron with our incredible partners at Disney,” Leto said. “Just an amazing group of creative people. We’re getting closer. We’re getting closer and closer, and who knows? Something may be [coming] sooner than later.” Are you still holding out hope for Tron 3?