Tron: Ares release date, cast, plot as shooting dates revealed

Get three-ressed with another return to the grid

Tron: Legacy (Disney)
Tron: Legacy (Disney)

After years spent stuck in development cyberspace, Tron 3 finally looks set to materialise under the working title of Tron: Ares.

Audiences last left this retro-futuristic world over a decade ago when Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski uploaded a new hero into the grid for an all-new adventure that was both fresh and nostalgic all at once.

Tron: Legacy starred Garrett Hedlund as Sam Flynn, the estranged son of Jeff Bridges’ original 1982 Tron hero, Kevin Flynn.

After his gaming pioneer father goes missing following the events of filmmaker Steven Lisberger’s first film, Sam spends his days trying to track him down, eventually landing himself in the neon-hued world of the grid where he comes face-to-face with two versions of his father — one in current day form and another as a younger, antagonistic gaming program named Clu.

Read more: Tron at 40: The groundbreaking Disney flop that stood the test of time

Featuring perhaps our first major example of the actor de-ageing technology that’s now commonplace in movies, Tron: Legacy set the scene for more stories set in this slick world over the coming years.

After a hefty wait, Tron: Ares will finally make good on that promise.

Here’s everything we know about it so far.

Tron: Ares plot and cast

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 24: Jodie Turner-Smith attends the 74th Annual Parsons Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on May 24, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Parsons School of Design)
Jodie Turner-Smith has been cast in Tron Ares. (Getty Images for Parsons School of Design) (Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images)

While little is currently known about the Tron: Ares storyline, all available information suggests that it will stick closely to Tron 3's initial plans of bringing the gaming action into the real world.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the plot of Tron 3 will follow a sentient programme that escapes the grid and attempts to cause havoc in the real world which is “not ready for contact.”

On 30 June, THR reported that Jodie Turner-Smith had boarded the project alongside Jared Leto and Evan Peters, as is Greta Lee following her breakout performance in Past Lives.

Lee is expected to take on a leading role, while Turner-Smith is taking on an as-yet-undisclosed role.

Sarah Desjardins, who plays Callie Sadecki on Yellowjackets, has also joined the project as has Cameron Monaghan, with both roles currently under wraps.

Jared Leto at the 2023 Met Gala: Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2023 in New York, New York. (Photo by Lexie Moreland/WWD via Getty Images)
Jared Leto at the 2023 Met Gala. (Lexie Moreland/WWD via Getty Images) (Lexie Moreland via Getty Images)

After being attached for some time, Leto has been confirmed to star as rogue programme Ares, while Dahmer star Peters has also joined the project in an as-yet-undisclosed role.

According to reports, it has been suggested that Peters could play a digital soldier in the Tron world and also his human gamer counterpart — although this hasn’t been confirmed.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 10: Evan Peters poses with the Best Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Television Film award for
Evan Peters poses with his Golden Globed Best Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series, 2023. (Frazer Harrison/WireImage) (Frazer Harrison via Getty Images)

While commenting on the project in March 2023, Boxleitner and his original Tron co-star Cindy Morgan, who played program Yori and her human counterpart Dr. Lora Baines, have not yet been confirmed to return.

It’s also currently unclear whether Bridges will be back in the franchise.

Tron: Ares release date

A de-aged Jeff Bridges played Clu in Tron: Legacy. (Disney Enterprises, Inc)
A de-aged Jeff Bridges played Clu in Tron: Legacy. (Disney Enterprises, Inc)

While news that a third Tron movie is actually happening is pretty huge — exact details on when we can expect to watch it have not yet been revealed.

Filming was due to begin in Vancouver, Canada in July 2023, but because of the recent SAG-AFTRA strike, filming was delayed.

On Tuesday, 15 August director Joachim Rønning announced the delay on Instagram in which he shared a lengthy posts about his frustration with it.

He said: "Today was supposed to be our first day of principal photography on TRON: ARES (a movie subsequently about AI and what it means, and takes, to be human). Instead, we are shut down with over a hundred and fifty people laid off.

"It’s indefinite, which makes it exponentially harder for everyone. The AMPTP, SAG-AFTRA and WGA need to speed up the negotiating process and not leave the table until it’s done."

With the strikes now over, production on Tron: Ares can finally get underway, with Collider reporting that the film is set to go in front of cameras in the New Year, "after the holidays."

How long has Tron: Ares been in development?

Garret Hedlund and Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy. (Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
Garret Hedlund and Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy. (Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

The road to Tron 3 has been a long one, stretching all the way back to the early days of Tron: Legacy’s 2010 release. Originally, Legacy director Kosinski was due to return to helm the project, working from a third script penned by part-two writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis.

It was teased that this Tron threequel — then titled TR3N — would continue directly on from the end events of Legacy and follow the characters of Hedlund’s Sam and Legacy newcomer Quorra, played by Olivia Wilde as they embark on an adventure set in the real world.

Read more: Jared Leto lets slip Tron 3's title

Despite a short film released on the Tron: Legacy Blu-ray that acted as a mini TR3N teaser, Kosinski’s follow-up languished in development hell for the next few years, with various rewrites happening and new projects for its director getting in the way of a start date.

Tron 1982 Real  Steven Lisberger Bruce Boxleitner Cindy Morgan. COLLECTION CHRISTOPHEL © Walt Disney Productions / Lisberger Kushner
Cindy Morgan and Bruce Boxleitner in 1982's Tron. (Alamy/Disney) (Collection Christophel, Collection Christophel)

There were a few hopeful signs though. Original Tron star Bruce Boxleitner, who played the titular Tron programme and his human counterpart Alan Bradley in the first film and 2013’s sequel, was confirmed to return for part three, with Hedlund and Wilde remaining attached.

Eventually, the film looked ready to enter production in 2015 before Disney hit the brakes indefinitely, with Boxleitner later commenting that he may be ready to leave the role behind following multiple false starts. Talk died down slightly until Jared Leto was confirmed to join the franchise in 2017, working from a newly tweaked script by screenwriter Jesse Wigutow with Garth Davies replacing Kosinski as director.

Read more: Disney+ Tron series no longer happening

More behind-the-scenes shuffles ensued until Disney officially gave the third Tron movie the green light in early 2023, with Leto starring as a new titular character named Ares and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil director Joachim Rønning helming a finalised screenplay by Wigutow and Jack Thorne.

Is there a trailer for Tron: Ares?

With production on Tron: Ares yet to begin — let alone wrap — no footage is available for the movie. As soon as it arrives, you’ll find it here.

Tron: Ares is coming soon.

Watch the Tron Disneyland ride in action