Comic-Con #2; 'Tron' Panel & New Trailer

Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:

UPDATE: Here’s the new TRON trailer:

Patton Oswalt comes out and first thing notes how there have been TRON sequel presentations at the past two Cons. “We’re gonna show you 5 minutes of the movie every year for 20 years. It’s gonna cost you $10,000 to see the whole movie.” Immediately, a  mini-documentary screens, showing TRON references on The Simpsons, 30 Rock, Robot Chicken, Family Guy, Honda Civic ads, Daft Punk shows, and…TRON On Ice? Yes, apparently it happened.

Our panel is introduced: Director Joe Kosinski, Walt Disney Studios honcho Sean Bailey, original TRON creator Steven Lisberger (who looks like Jeff Bridges as “The Dude,” ironically enough), the real Jeff Bridges, and other stars Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen (who has a thick beard), Bruce Boxleitner (massive ovation for him – only at Comic-Con!)

Kosinski says original TRON looked like nothing else he’d ever seen and that doing a sequel was an honor but also a daunting challenge. It’s shot in 3D – no conversion (big cheer from the crowd for this). Costumes were fully lit on set, unlike in the original where it was all done in post. But, he says, the best special effect is new Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges who plays not only programmer Kevin Flynn, but also Flynn’s avatar Clu, who still looks like Jeff Bridges at age 35.

Panel says when they showed the test footage at Comic-Con two years ago it was to gauge reaction – they still had no script.

Sean Bailey says the film is very focused on the father-son story, and mentions there are casting surprises yet to be revealed. (Can we hope for David Warner?)

Bridges says the same thing appealed to him about the sequel as the original: to play around with cutting edge technology. He thinks the sequel makes the original look like black and white TV. Bridges says of the original that “it was pretty wild, psychedelic.” Best thing he likes about being in the new one is that now they don’t need to cast a younger actor to play younger Flynn. Instead, technology allows him to do both. (Oswalt jokes that younger Jeff was probably a pain on set, eating carbs.) Bridges adds that the younger him was always hitting on Olivia Wilde.

Hedlund says the costume was ¾ inch foam rubber, and would tear if he didn’t stand up straight.

Wilde calls her character Quorra a “powerful, tough, kick-ass woman” who has been a companion of Flynn’s for some time. Wilde has always wanted to play a warrior, and says that after all the tarining she got, she then had to learn it all again in 4-inch heels.

Sheen jokes that he came to the Con in costume. “I came as Jeff Bridges… and he shaved his beard off!” Says living in L.A. prepared him well for performing in fake reality. Jokes that the 27-year gap in playing the same character for Jeff Bridges isn’t that long, because Michael Douglas has gone 24 years between the WALL STREET movies.

Boxleitner jokes that when he got the call to be in TRON again, “I instantly threw my walker into the corner.”

Lisberger says the success of TRON proves that some really good things take a long time to happen. But no matter how good the technology is, the artists find a way to spend 105% of the budget, so there are always limitations.

Oswalt notes that everyone here has a device in their pocket with hundreds of times the power of the original TRON game.

Then we get an 8-minute clip:

-The Disney castle, TRON-style in neon blue.

-Hedlund as Sam Flynn, right after entering the computer world. “This isn’t happening!” The familiar red Recognizer vehicle lands on top of him. “This IS happening!” The floor collapses, and updated red guards with pikes herd him onboard. Aqs they fly over the futuristic cityscape, Sam goes “He actually did it.” His fellow captives are odd and deformed, speech full of added reverb.

-The Recognizer, and two others, fly to what looks like a central power core of the old MCP. Lightning strikes.

-Guards walk in front of each captive, saying either “Rectify” or “Games.” Sam gets “Games,” and is soon traveling down an elevator shaft that opens below him. Ends up in a room where sexy women in white, all with heels and bun hairdoes, slice off his clothes with their laser-fingers. A black symbiotic suit grows over him, and the ladies augment it with armor. Then he lights up, TRON-style, and is given an identity disc. The score at this point is very much old-school TRON – way cool.

-Sam asks “what am I supposed to do?” Woman responds, “Survive.” Sam walks into a white light, and is soon inside yet another elevator.

-Then we see Sheen, with white hair and cane, as some kind of flamboyant ringmaster type.

Montage: A helmet morphing onto Sam, lightcycles in action (including flying), red guards in flight backpacks…and digitally young Jeff as Clu, the only character glowing yellow.”

-Sam: “Dad?” Clu: “I’m not your father, Sam. I am very happy to see you.”

-Final image: Clu diving from a tower with a bar in hand, the kind of bar that used to morph into a light-cycle; this time, it forms a hi-tech jet plane.

Clip ends. And now we all get to be in the movie, as Kosinski wants to record us as arena crowd noise. We follow instructions onscreen to yell “Disc wars! Rinzler! De-rez!” Then stand up and stomp. As a special reward, we get a look at the fat “TRON guy” from Youtube on the screens.

Audience Q&A

Why did they pick Daft Punk? “You just look at those guys and it seems like a pretty good fit,” says Kosinski.

A fan asks Bridges to explain the father-son relationship. He says he’d rather keep it mysterious for now.

Lisberger – “The generation who grew up with TRON have accepted it as a founding myth.” He thinks the Internet proves the story came true, and he knew it would have an appeal “beyond suburbia’s ability to accept it at the time.” “We need modern myths that are up to date,” adds Bridges. He says the theme is that technology has developed faster than our ethics in dealing with it, which sets him off on a tangent about non-biodegradable water bottles. (Funnily enough, Peter Fonda went on a similar tangent a couple years back at a Ghost Rider panel.)

-On the set of the original TRON, the walls were lined with video games you could play for free. Bridges would have to be torn away from Battlezone, yelling “I was preparing, dammit!” Sheen adds “Joe just gave us Yahtzee.”

-Twin fans ask Olivia Wilde if she has a new appreciation for video game players. She says yes, can’t believe how elaborate they’ve gotten since Duck Hunt.

How has Bridges’ acting process changed in 27 years? “It hasn’t changed all that much..” Says the “playfulness of acting” has never gone away from him.

How did the title change from “TRON 2.0”? Bailey says he thought it was creatively appropriate for the team pushing visual boundaries, and the father-son story.

A kid asks Jeff Bridges “What’s your opinion on the remake of TRON?” Jeff: “I have a good opinion of it.” Notes that this isn’t really a remake – it’s a sequel, but can stand alone if you don’t know the original.

Now we see a trailer, which begins with young Flynn telling stories to his young son, talks about dreaming a world, as we see toys inspired by the first film’s events. Then a news bulletin says Flynn has gone missing, followed by stuff from the prior trailer, where Boxleitner tells Sam he got a page from a disconnected number at Flynn’s arcade.

Then we get the scene with the Recognizer that we saw before, and Olivia Wilde saying “Your father was the creator.” The rest is mostly a tighter edit of what we just saw, with one new shot of Bridges as old Flynn, in a white suit with the disc glowing through his back. Then a close-up of Clu going “Your move, Flynn, come on!” Final shot is Clu jumping into the light-jet, again. The money shot.

Panel ends. Some fans leave, but too bad for them, because they miss a 3-D clip of CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW! Johnny Depp in character, drinking rum, addresses the audience, says you may have heard he’s looking for the fountain of youth. It’s not true, he says, but if it weren’t “not true,” would we be interested in the voyage? It involves zombies, cutthroats, mermaids, and the vicious and vivacious Penelope Cruz. To get there, “I’d need a bloody map…or a Bloody Mary…or both.” Cut to the movie logo.

Then one more surprise: The logo of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride! A new movie is coming, and they show us a brief image – a green drawing of a ghost – along with some of the spiel from the ride. Oswalt asks who we think the perfect director would be. Crowd yells out “Tim Burton,” but goes crazy when GUILLERMO DEL TORO comes out! He says he’s nervous because it’s a Disney panel, which limits his vocabulary. He has ridden the ride at least once a year since he was a kid, says he always felt there were more story possibilities than just a horror movie. That said, “the scary will be scary. We’re being true to the spirit of the original Imagineers… We are not returning Eddie Murphy’s call.” It will be shot in 3D live-action, and the Hatbox Ghost is the pivotal character.

End panel, for real this time.

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