Have you ever wondered, “Why not LEGO TRON?” Walk with me. Right before my sixth birthday in 1982, I saw the highly anticipated Disney movie, TRON. Given that I’m writing about it here 30 years later, it’s an understatement to say that it had a lasting impression. As an adult, I rewatched the original film when it came out on DVD in 2002 and, admittedly, had to do a lot of “looking the other way” in order to get through it…its shiny lights and cool sci-fi motifs were enough to satisfy me when I was six, but after being weened by three decades of ever-evolving levels of sophistication with genre film and television plots, themes, characters, and special effects—I’m talking Terminator, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, and the Marvel films, to name a select few—let’s just say the original film didn’t quite stand the test of time. Then two years ago, TRON: Legacy gave the franchise a much needed update, and I was one of the seemingly few who really enjoyed it. Sure, it wasn’t without its faults, but I found myself intrigued by the possibilities. So what does this have to do with LEGO?
Well, it’s important to note that when Disney tried this reboot of the franchise, I was knee-deep in my personal LEGO Renaissance after a decade-long Dark Age. I was all up on the AFOL forums and shared my ideas on a TRON theme over on FBTB. Interestingly enough, those three posts chronicle my growing enthusiasm over the idea of bringing TRON to LEGO—first I was intrigued by the pre-release concept art that the marketing folks were tossing around, and then, after seeing the film, I was convinced that this franchise was rife with possibility. Why? Not only was the film filled with stunning visuals, but the vehicle and architectural designs seemed to lend themselves to the shapes achievable in official LEGO sets. Then there was the fact that Disney and LEGO were already playing well with one another, with Disney Duplo sets and licenses for Prince of Persia, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story and the like. Sure, there’s violence, but hey, it’s Disney with a PG rating…but let’s not rehash our talk about LEGO and violence just yet. So yeah, it seemed like a likely candidate. Fingers were crossed…
…but the movie didn’t do as well as planned, despite making $330 million after production costs. (Yeah, movie finances baffle me too. Isn’t that good? Whatever.) But TRON never quit…he always fought for the users. As a nerdy TRON fanboy who’s an even bigger geek over LEGO, I’m gonna give it another shot. And now seems like the perfect time. It looks like Disney isn’t walking away from this franchise anytime soon. They’re finally releasing the new TRON: Uprising animated series this Summer…yup, a cartoon series targeting the same audience as the Ninjago series. (Ya feel me?) I’d create a CUUSOO project, but apparently that might not be worth it…okay, I’ll stop now with that.
So how does this new show look? Well, you tell me. Above is the entire first episode officially presented by Disney XD on YouTube before this week’s special preview night. I was impressed. (For the record, both the six-year-old “I love lights!” me and the soon-to-be thirty-six-year-old “Can I get just a little character, theme and plot with my eye candy, please?” me were impressed.) And it’s clear that Disney believes in this franchise. First, they’re clearly not holding back on production value given that they’re pushing the envelope with a pretty bold design direction for this “kid’s cartoon” that looks a bit like a mash-up of Aeon Flux, Clone Wars, and Jet Grind Radio. Oh, and did I mention that it’s voice acted by the likes of Elijah Wood (Frodo!), Lance Henriksen (Bishop!), Mandy Moore (…umm…), Paul Reubens (Pee Wee!), and…wait for it…Bruce Boxleitner (TRON himself!)!!! I’m thinking something like an itty-bitty LEGO licensing deal is a real possibility. Unfortunately, there’s no telling what TLG will do. The good news? It’s LEGO silly…no need to wait for “offical” anything. Build it! Or if you’re more into gawking, I’m clearly not the only AFOL with TRON on the brain. Check out the amazing TRON-themed MOCs peppered here and let’s start drumming up a bit of buzz in the hopes that someone in the two corporations at play—TLG and Disney—notices.
Check out more pictures of the above MOCs as well as other TRON-inspired favorites: