Tron: Legacy Panel Electrifies Comic-Con Fans

If your Comic-Con panel generates unbelievable fan response, it’s a no-brainer to bring it back again. That’s why for the third year in a row, Disney brought the house down with a program devoted to its holiday 2010 tentpole Tron: Legacy. As host Patton Oswalt put it, ‘We showed you the first footage here and you guys were crazy. So we figured we will show you five minutes of the movie each year for the next 20 years, and it will cost you only $10,000 to see the whole thing!’

On Thursday, Disney screened eight minutes of the much-anticipated sequel to the 1981 movie and brought the film’s charming stars Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner, who are also featured heavily in the sequel, as well as new cast members Garrett Hedlund (who plays Sam Flynn, son of Bridges character Kevin), Michael Sheen (ambiguous villain Castor) and Olivia Wide (Quorra) to the panel. Also in attendance were the film’s director Joseph Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey and the original Tron’s writer/creator Steven Lisberger.

In addition to featuring state-of-the-art stereoscopic 3-D technology, the film showcases a digital version of Jeff Bridges’ character who still looks the same when the first movie was shot 27 years ago. ‘Tron was one of those movies I remember seeing as a kid on VHS and it looked like nothing else I had seen,’ said Kosinski. ‘Both technically and conceptually, it was decades ahead of its time. We shot this thing with Fusion Camera 3D’no cheap conversions here. We have fully illuminated suits which illuminate each other and their environments. In the first movie they had to trace the light around the characters by hand!’ ‘This is not like Avatar, that cheap piece of junk!’ added Oswalt.

Bridges told the audience that it felt ‘wild and psychedelic to play a younger version of his character. ‘It always bothered me as an actor when another actor had to play a character as a young man, now you can play yourself at any age,’ he said. ‘I haven’t seen the final version of the film, but I can’t wait to see it’it’s a truly ground-breaking movie.’

British actor Michael Sheen said he is used to living in a ‘false reality’ because he now lives in Los Angeles. ‘I would say that the movie is 4-D, because Jeff Bridges brings an extra dimension of awesomeness to it.’

Tron creator Lisberger pointed out that the generation that grew up with Tron embraced the new mythology for our times and was a foreshadowing for the tech-consumed world we all live in. ‘I’d look at the world and see that it was more and more like the world we created in the movie,’ he said. ‘Thanks for all the fans for holding out all these years.’

‘One of the things that attracted me to this film was the fact that it explores the dark side of technology,’ added Bridges. ‘It all happens so fast that we haven’t developed the ethics and the real knowledge of the long-term aspects of the technology.’

Disney’s Tron: Legacy will open in theaters on December 17, 2010.