comic-con 2010

Tron: Legacy at Comic-Con, with Young Jeff Bridges

At Comic-Con’s Tron: Legacy panel this afternoon, moderator Patton Oswalt pointed out that this was the film’s third year at the Con. Three years ago, test footage was shown in the enormous Hall H to see whether there was interest in a sequel to the 1982 sci-fi video-game film. Clearly Disney got the answer they were hoping for, because in 2009 they were back with a teaser reel that Tron devotees went crazy for, and today the director and stars returned again with another eight minutes of footage and a new trailer. “We’re going to show you five minutes of Tron for the next twenty years,” said Oswalt. “It’s going to cost you $10,000.”

The audience first donned their 3-D glasses after a brief video about Tron’s pop-culture legacy, which featured clips from 30 Rock, South Park, a Honda Civic, and many more examples that nodded at Tron’s unmistakable light-up color lines. Then came the footage, which started with Garrett Hedlund’s Sam Flynn, son of the original’s Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), getting mistaken for a program and sent into the game, where several ladies in skintight white bodysuits transformed his shirt and jeans into proper Tron gear.

The revelatory moment came when original Tron star Bridges arrived onscreen; in the sequel, he looks like his 60-year-old self as Kevin, while his avatar alter ego, Clu 2.0, has been digitally altered to look like Bridges did at 35. In the subsequent Q&A, the actor very Jeff Bridges–ishly described the experience of watching himself in the film as “pretty wild” and “psychedelic.” His Dudespeak seems to have caught on on the set: His co-star, Michael Sheen, said that the 3-D Tron: Legacy is really a “4-D film because Jeff Bridges bring an extra dimension of awesomeness.” (Incidentally, it was revealed that they are considering upgrading the original film to 3-D.)

The audience seemed amped at the footage, but just in case they weren’t entirely onboard, they got an extra bribe. Skywalker sound technicians filmed the crowd as the screens prompted them to yell phrases like “Disk! Wars!” and “Dee! Rez!” and stomp their feet. They were promised that if they did a good enough job, the footage would be Tron-ized and then inserted into a game-arena scene in the new film.

But for now, they’ll have to keep themselves happy playing the new trailer over and over again, which debuted at the end of the panel, and you can see here.

Tron: Legacy at Comic-Con, with Young Jeff Bridges