What Tron 3’s Rumored Title Could Mean For The Future Of The Franchise

Tron Legacy Sam riding his lightcycle inbetween his enemies

Sometimes all it takes to revive a project that’s languished in the shadows like Tron 3 is the right amount of buzz. Recently, that sort of anticipation is what’s been powering the project, as director Garth Davis and star Jared Leto have boarded the project’s early stages of active development. But another interesting note has been making the rounds with fans, as it looked like Leto, in his excitement, may have accidentally let the working title of this new film slip: Tron: Ares.

Should this be the actual title, or even just the name of the film in this phase of development, we could be looking at some very exciting developments for the future of the Tron franchise. Here’s what I'm thinking about the possibilities of Tron: Ares:

Blade Runner 2049 Jared Leto sitting down for a conversation

Jared Leto Is More Likely To Be Playing Ares In Tron 3

It’s been rumored for some time that Jared Leto was playing a mysterious character named Ares in the world of Tron. So if the title of Tron: Ares is accurate, this assumption sounds like it’s finally been confirmed. Right from the beginning, knowing that Leto could very much be playing that figure shrouded in secrecy is a pretty powerful key to unlocking the rest of the project’s strategy moving forward. It also leads to some exciting assumptions and pathways that Tron 3 could take to make an interesting sequel even more promising.

Tron Legacy Sam and Quorra riding on his motorcycle

Ares Is A Holdover From Tron: Ascension, Which Means That Draft Could Be In Play

Since roughly 2017, when Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski dropped the first hint at a Q&A he was attending, Jared Leto as Ares has been rumored to be a thing. However, this was also the time that Kosinski was talking up the then-current draft of Tron 3, named Tron: Ascension. When the recent wave of developments kicked off, it was also specified that the last writer on that draft, Jessie Wigutow, was the current author of the film’s story. While this isn’t a direct sequel to Tron Legacy, it’s pretty likely that Tron: Ascension’s plot and characters are already factoring into Tron 3. If Ares is our lead, this also could mean something pretty big for this new film.

Tron Legacy Clu meets with Castor and Gem

Tron 3 Could Be A Villain-Centric Movie

We’ve always seen the world of Tron from the perspective of the heroes. Kevin Flynn and Tron’s work in the original film, as well as Kevin’s teaming with his son Sam and his protégé Quorra, have been the focus of the series so far. So if Tron 3 isn’t a direct sequel, but it’s taking place in the same universe, what could possibly be happening? Well, with a character named Ares, the possibilities are quite dark. Again, this is without any knowledge of Tron: Ascension’s deeper story, but Ares sounds like a villain in the world of The Grid. So what if we’re seeing Jared Leto playing an evil program, working with Tron’s ultimate villain team: the Dillingers! Cillian Murphy and David Warner could reprise their roles as Edward Dillinger Jr. and Sr., respectively, and raise holy hell in this particular world.

Tron Legacy Clu gives his speech

The Machine War From Tron: Ascension Could Still Be On

Ares, for you classic mythology nuts out there, was the Greek god of war. So it would be pretty fitting for a movie titled Tron: Ares to be focused around the bad guys. But there’s another quote from Joseph Kosinski’s talk about Tron: Ascension that further stokes the fires that we could be seeing the villains of the Tron world embarking on an all-out war. Specifically, Kosinski mentioned this as one of the most exciting things about the next sequel in the Tron series:

What I'm excited about is the concept, which is an invasion movie from inside the machine.

If we’re still working with characters from Tron: Ascension, you can bet big moments and set pieces are probably on the menu as well. Tron: Ares just sounds like it promises a gigantic conflict between humans and machines, though it could very well be a setup for something greater.

Tron Legacy Quorra and Sam talking in Flynn's hideout

Tron 3 Could Be A Big Setup For Future Tron Movies

Combine everything we’ve theorized about Tron: Ares above into one neat package, where Jared Leto’s Ares is a militaristic mastermind launching a war on humanity. Helping the Dillinger family try and conquer both humans and programs, Tron’s first villain heavy movie could either see that war starting up and ending on a cliffhanger that doesn’t show us the total field of battle. Returning once more, here’s Joseph Kosinski’s notes on the plot structure to Tron: Ascension:

The idea for Ascension was the first act was in the real world, the second act was in the world of Tron, the multiple worlds of Tron, and the third act is totally in the real world.

Disney is a studio that always keeps its eyes on the future of a particular brand. With Tron: Ascension offering all of those possibilities on its own, there’s a chance that this movie may have had its story split off into sections. Should Tron: Ares succeed in whatever it has planned, we could see Sam, Quorra or any other characters return from wherever Tron: Legacy left them to join a future fight to close out the Tron saga, or push it further along into new territory.

A New Approach To Tron 3 Could Lead To A Successful Revitalization Of The Brand

Ultimately, Tron: Ares could be a gambit to bring new fans to the table, as well as win old fans back into the fight. Nostalgia alone only got Tron: Legacy so far, and while the film was technically a success, it didn’t quite hit the heights Disney live-action fare has traveled to before. A new approach with Jared Leto and Garth Davis at the head could go a long way to making new Tron fans, with the loyalists showing up anyway to keep their favorite franchise in the minds of the studio.

We’re still in the early days of Tron 3’s development, and if Joseph Kosinski’s talk about where the film was headed before Tomorrowland allegedly killed it has taught us anything, Tron: Ares could disappear as quickly as it was announced. But we here at CinemaBlend like to have hope and fight for The User; so we’ll keep it optimistic and run any updates that come across our desk pertaining to the future of Tron. Let’s just hope it looks a little something like what we’ve discussed above.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.