As Tron turns 40, here's how to catch-up on the Tron universe - MrLiambi's blog


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Friday, 8 July 2022

As Tron turns 40, here's how to catch-up on the Tron universe

Tron is celebrating its 40th anniversary having first been released on 9 July 1982 in the US. Tron has enjoyed a cult following, being one of the first films to make extensive use of CGI - computer generated imagery - and exploring the world of computers that was still new to a lot of people.

That imagery became culturally iconic presenting a world that hadn't really been imagined before. Instead of the alien worlds so common to contemporary science fiction, this was a world of entirely artificial construct.

It's a world that's more relevant than ever as we toss around expressions like "metaverse", but also opened the door for others to follow from The Lawnmower Man (1992) through The Matrix (1999) to Ready Player One (2018).

It was really Tron that kicked off this movie genre that's now commonplace, although we see it in sci-fi literature that precedes its release, for example through the empathy box in Philip K. Dick's seminal Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968), the inspiration for Blade Runner - also released in 1982.

Beyond the manifestation of a virtual world, Tron plays to a paranoia that's explored repeatedly in sci-fi - fear of the machines taking over.

Tron isn't alone in its universe: to celebrate and explore this synthetic world, here are the Tron movies and the order to watch them in. You can find most of Tron on Disney+.


Tron (1982)

Tron, created by Steven Lisberger, introduces us to Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) a former employee of ENCOM who is attempting to hack back into its mainframe, and discovering that ENCOM's Master Control Program is trying to takeover. Flynn attempts to deploy Tron - a program designed to protect the system by his friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) - and is digitised by an experimental laser, finding himself in the mainframe's virtual world.

Tron Legacy (2010)

Acting as a sequel to the 1982 movie, Legacy sees Flynn's son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) discovering a hidden basement in Flynn's old arcade, with a laser, which digitises Sam and sends him to the Grid, a virtual world created by Flynn. Sam takes part in various games and ends up discovering his missing father trapped in the Grid and takes on Clu. This movie was soundtracked by Daft Punk.

Tron The Next Day (2011)

The Next Day is a short film that picks up right after Legacy finishes, but takes the form of assembled newsreels exploring the Flynn Lives movement and some of the history between the first two movies. It features Alan Bradley and Roy Kleinberg (Dan Stor).

Tron Uprising (2012-2013)

The animated Tron Uprising centres on Beck who leads the revolution in the Grid and Clu, the villain of Tron Legacy. Although this comes after Legacy, the events happen in the Grid in the intervening period between the two movies. It's a TV series, with 19 episodes.

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