UPDATE: KATEY'S FULL STORY, WITH IMAGES!
Every night after the daytime festivities of Comic Con have died down, the streets of downtown San Diego are filled with nerds. But tonight things were different. Tonight those nerds were on a mission to prove that Flynn lives.
When we showed up at the intersection of J Street and 1st Avenue, all we knew was that the Tron people had something planned. Maybe a lightcycle would drive by? Maybe they'd hand out T-shirts? But the answer was way more complicated than that-- a scavenger hunt, based on around posters hung all over downtown that proclaimed "Flynn Lives," and which revealed a secret code when swiped with a black light. Yes, they handed everyone black lights. Yes, the budget for this entire thing was ridiculous.
I teamed up with Slashfilm's Devindra Hardawar for the journey, though since we were both on orders from our respective editors to tweet, photograph and video as much as possible, we moved a little slower than the rest, and probably didn't do it right. By the time we collected all the codes and mapped out a grid over downtown San Diego, we had no idea where the information was supposed to lead us. But here's the great things about nerds: they're having such a good time, they'll help you out in a heartbeat. It didn't take long to get the message to head to 6th Avenue and J, where we'd be presented with the real prize.
And somehow, without anyone noticing, the crew had set up a giant neon sign reading "Flynn's" outside a 6th Avenue storefront. At the Tron teaser screened earlier in the day, the son of Flynn, played by Garrett Hedlund, enters a video game arcade called Flynn's, which is crammed with 80s arcade relics including a mysterious game, Tron. As Devindra and I joined the giant line winding outside Flynn's, it seemed pretty clear that that was what awaited us inside.
And oh yes, that's exactly what we got. A room filled with machines where you could play Space Invaders, Mrs. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Paperboy and plenty of other relics from our 80s youth. In the back a giant neon sign proclaimed "Home of Tron," and the lucky kids who reached the machine first actually got to play Tron, the game.
By the time I even got close, though, the brick wall behind the Tron game had opened up-- just like in the teaser footage. And that's where the jaws really dropped.
They had a lightcycle! An actual lightcycle, with an actual mannequin posed on top of it, all lit up and spinning around for us to gawk at. The viral effort had really been brilliant; if we hadn't spent an hour and a half running around town, chanting "Flynn Lives" and remembering fond Tron memories, the impact wouldn't have been half as substantial. As it was, people jumped up and down in joy, hoisted their cameras far overhead to get the best possible shot, and left Flynn's with shit-eating grins, promising those still waiting in line that the wait was totally, totally worth it.
I walked out with my very own "Flynn Lives" poster, which I think I must send to CB Head Honcho Josh Tyler, who loves Tron more than I ever could. And I also had my choice of shirts reading "Flynn Lives" or simply "Flynn's"-- and we even got to pick our own sizes! Now that's customer service.
Along with the experience of actually being there on the ground, seeing other groups sketching out their maps and occasionally cheering "Flynn Lives" to each other, I loved watching others following the whole thing on Twitter. Devindra and I got so many responses to our tweets that it was clear that, even if you weren't promised a video arcade tour at the end, people were very, very into what Tron: Legacy had to say. The footage and concept art they showed in Hall H was special, but Thursday night, on the streets of downtown San Diego, is when they really brought the fans into the fold.
Pretty incredible. Cinema Blend reader Dave Cobb was also there alongside with us with his video camera, and he sent in these additional, incredible videos which cover the entire event from start to finish. Watch and drool:
UPDATE! Disney has just sent us a new batch of even more photos from inside Flynn's, including pics of Jeff Bridges on the scene. To see those, visit our complete gallery right here.
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