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Tomorrowland was supposed to be the continuation of a bright future for Disney’s 2015. Unfortunately, with the film languishing in box office hell after a week of general release, it looks like the studio has given up on the film becoming a money maker. Which means that it was almost like clockwork when the executives at Disney announced last night that Tron Ascension, after a good month of underground buzz that the film was going to start shooting this fall, was cancelled. While the studio hasn’t officially announced this as the cause of death, anyone could see the writing on the wall as Tomorrowland started to look like a less than sure fire hit.
Though it might look like Disney making the right decision on paper, it’s really a poor move on to cancel a project so anticipated as Tron: Ascension. In fact, there’s three really good reasons that come to mind when fighting for the fans that want to see Sam Flynn, Quorra, and the rest of the Tron Legacy gang come back for at least one last ride. It’s time to enter the arena and battle the naysayers, as we throw down the three big reasons Disney shouldn’t give up on Tron Ascension just yet.
The Story Needs ClosureWhen we last left the world of The Grid, Sam Flynn was ready to inherit the family legacy that is Encom, and Quorra was ready to learn about the world outside of the computer. Of course, the story didn’t end with what we saw in the movie, as the further unfolding story was told on the Blu Ray special features to Tron Legacy, setting the stage for an epic war between Flynn and the Dillinger family. With that huge thread dangling in the wind, there’s still quite a bit of story to tell.
Tron Ascension, by title alone, sounds like it’s about the story of Sam and his quest to bring the Flynn name back to its former glory. At the very least, Disney should close off the story that they started in 1982 with one final sequel, drawing the story of the Tron franchise to a close. Let’s not forget, Tron still has a lot of fans out there who’ll eat this up.
Tron Still Has A Faithful FollowingWhile Tomorrowland’s middling grosses could be taken as an indicator that the public might not rush to accept Tron Ascension, it’s a thin comparison at best. Tomorrowland was a newer idea to the public than Tron Legacy was when it was released, and when all was said and done Tron Legacy grossed $400 million on a budget of $170 million. While they weren’t the sort of numbers films like The Avengers would bring in, it’s certainly not the lukewarm reception Tomorrowland has received.
Box office aside, Tron still remains an influential film in science fiction history, and it still maintains a strong following of fans that want to see another installment of the series. Looking at the reaction to Tron Ascension’s cancellation is proof enough that fans are pretty upset that they’re being denied another chance to see one of their favorite franchises, while Disney focuses their original IP energies on projects like sequels to Frozen and Finding Nemo. But perhaps the most important reason for Tron Ascension’s importance is the one you’ve been hearing repeated quite a bit in the past week.
Disney Needs To Support Original Sci-FiThe failure of Tomorrowland has caused a great deal of people to assume that the marketplace isn’t supporting enough "original sci fi" properties. While the originality of Tomorrowland can be debated, it is still an original story that is based off of a pre-existing concept and history that inspired it. Audiences rejection of Tomorrowland shouldn’t dampen the creative spirits at Disney. Independent of that film’s marketing campaign, fans were begging for the studio to confirm the rumors that Tron Ascension was going to be green lit any day now. Just because one film didn’t work out doesn’t mean the whole operation needs to get shut down, and now more than ever Disney should be blazing the trails for more original ideas to arrive at on the big screen – even if they’re doing so with a sequel to one of their original ideas.
Tron Ascension seems like an idea that’s poised to make a good amount of money, so long as Disney markets the film correctly and scales back on the budget to make for a cleaner margin of profit – something it’s forgotten to do in the case of not only Tomorrowland, but also John Carter before it. Making one last Tron film is still a very good idea, one that people are energized for. All it takes is the right combination of care and restraint to make sure that the possibly final adventure of Sam Flynn and company scores another win for the happiest studio on Earth.