In Like Flynn

Jeff Bridges is back for Tron 3.
Jeff Bridges Returning for ‘Tron: Ares,’ Says De-Aged Character in ‘Tron: Legacy’ Looked ‘More Like Bill Maher Than Myself’
Jeff Bridges recently said that he is going to appear alongside Jared Leto in “Tron: Ares,” the third installment in the “Tron” franchise.

"That's right, man. I got in."1

Jeff Bridges is going back to the grid.

The 74-year-old actor told the Film Comment podcast (via The Playlist) that he is going to appear in “Tron: Ares,” the third film in the long-running sci-fi franchise that Bridges inaugurated with “Tron” in 1982 and reprised with “Tron: Legacy” in 2010. The new film stars Jared Leto as the titular character Ares, with Joachim Rønning (“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”) directing from a script by Jesse Wigutow and Jack Thorne.

Great news but also necessary news. It's impossible to think of a Tron movie without Flynn. It would be like a Matrix movie without Neo. And while the first film was iconic, I view the second movie, Tron: Legacy, as highly underrated. If nothing else, it has a style that lingers.

It also helped launch the career of director Joseph Kosinski, now best known as the director of the $1.5B grossing Top Gun: Maverick. For a while, there was talk of a direct sequel to that film, with Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde coming back to play Sam (Flynn's son) and Quorra (The Grid's latest digital creation), respectively. Alas, Disney let Kosinski,2 and thus the sequel, get away, it seems.

So now we seemingly have a Tron with what presumably would be a similar theme to that would-have-been sequel:

Hedlund and Wilde, however, aren’t slated to join “Tron: Ares,” which instead will focus on Leto’s character, another digital program who crosses into the human world. The film costars Evan Peters, Greta Lee, Gillian Anderson, Jodie Turner-Smith, Hasan Minhaj, Arturo Castro, Cameron Monaghan and Sarah Desjardins.

One more bit of good news from Bridges:

Bridges added that he’d heard that “there’s going to be even less AI stuff” in “Tron: Ares” and that the production is using more “practical sets” for the new project. “There are beautiful sets that I’ve seen,” he said. “So we’ll see.”

By "AI stuff", Bridges means the digital effects that were used to de-age him back into the 1980s version of Flynn, which he clearly didn't like!

“I didn’t like the way I looked in it,” Bridges said. “I felt like I looked more like Bill Maher than myself. It was kind of bizarre.”

But I'm guessing there will still be plenty of plot points around AI given the universe of Tron. And that element should resonate more than ever, I imagine.

1 The opening alone of Tron: Legacy is brilliant. A perfect Bridges voice-over bridging us to perhaps the best movie soundtrack of all time. One thing perhaps even more critical than Bridges: Daft Punk better be back.

2 Currently busy with the still-untilted Brad Pitt-starring Formula 1 movie for Apple.