Comic Publishers

November 21, 2010

Disney Reviews: The Art of Tron: Legacy

The Art of Tron: Legacy
Justin Springer
Publication Date: November 23, 2010
Price: $40.00 Hardcover Edition

Greetings, programs! We may have to wait until December 17 to see Tron: Legacy in theaters, but on November 23rd you can get an extensive look at some of the film’s visual stylings in The Art of Tron: Legacy. A sleek looking hardcover from Disney Editions that showcases concept art and film stills from the upcoming movie which is a sequel to the 1982 film, Tron. Even back then it sported a distinctive look that set it apart from any other sci-fi movie to come out during that era with its pioneering use of computer animation. Now, twenty-eight years later, the visual works of Syd Mead and Moebius serve as the building blocks for what we see here in The Art of Tron: Legacy!

The film’s production designer, Darren Gilford, provides a forward that goes into brief detail regarding some of the accomplishments the first film had made visually, along with an explanation about how the look has transformed for the sequel. There was a purpose to the artificial feel of the Grid (the digital world of the film) in Tron, however due to the passage of time the Grid has evolved and so has its look. He also states how the use of today’s technology would be effective in elevating the visual look of the film, but the core elements, like those recognizable light lines, would be a very important part in maintaining that connection to the original film. Darren also goes on to give credit to the team he assembled to make sure our visual senses were blown away while watching Tron: Legacy.

Before we are shown the updated looks for the iconic vehicles like the Light Cycle and Recognizers, we’re taken back to San Diego Comic Con 2008 where unknowing fans were shown a two minute visual test which takes place before the events of Tron: Legacy. The combination of director Joseph Kosinski’s enthusiasm and the overwhelmingly positive reaction from those fans helped ease Disney’s fears of reviving the franchise and to go ahead and eventually green light the film. From there we’re given a bit of background on the process that helped bring the movie’s visual look to fruition, along with the process it took to age Jeff Bridges back to his mid thirties.

From here on we are treated to various concept sketches, story boards, and paintings that helped bring about the look and feel of Tron: Legacy. The team assigned to bringing all of this together has done some fantastic work as some of the paintings looked very much like stills from the actual movie. Many of the designs build on the look established by the artistic visionaries on the original, and then takes those ideas to another level of awesome that can only look better on the big screen.

As I turned the pages in The Art of Tron: Legacy there wasn’t a design that I didn’t like. There were even some early designs that, in my opinion, looked better than what ended up being the final choice. The updated look of the Identity Disk gives it a much more deadly appearance, making it look like an actual weapon than a playful frisbee. The new version of the Light Cycles is probably the most recognizable, and we find out that the open canopy look of the new versions were actually the look that was intended, however the technology back in 1982 didn’t allow for it to be done effectively. In the film we will see Flynn’s Light Cycle’s design that bridges the gap between the two styles, effectively combining the old with the new.

Flynn's Light Cycle

You can’t have Tron without the light cycles. I mean, the first enduring image of the original Tron is the light cycles: these beautiful streamlined motorcycles emitting a trail of glassy fire from their rear wheels.
– Jeffrey Silver, Producer

We are even introduced to many of the new characters and how they started out on paper to how they will appear on the big screen. Familiar faces get an updated and much welcomed streamlined look while we are also treated to the visual evolution of the new characters that will populate the Grid’s battle arenas, clubs, and city streets. From Sam Flynn to the dual disk-wielding badass Rinzler, it’s going to be near impossible to find something that doesn’t appeal to the eye. What was even more impressive (well at least to me) was the massive scale of the game arenas along with Clu’s main ship.

This book is a definite must have for fans of the original Tron film as well as any new fans interested in seeing Tron: Legacy. Not only are you treated to page after page of great work from a group of talented artists, but a history of what it took to get the final product to the big screen. The forward by Darren Gilford, the afterword by Director Joseph Kosinski, along with the text by Justin Springer help complete a great looking book. The Art of Tron: Legacy would look good on any coffee table sporting its jacket that displays the classic blue lines of a light cycle, while underneath on the actual cover is Clu on his cycle. If I had a complaint about the book I would say that there wasn’t enough artwork, but then that would be me just being greedy! With one hundred and fifty-seven pages of stills and artwork your eyes will thank you when you’re finished with this! Also, if you look close enough you can find a few easter eggs and nods to the original film in the various stills and paintings.

I have to give Steven Lisberger, Syd Mead, Moebius and the other designers of Tron immense credit. In 1982, before most people had desktops, they imagined a world where people would go live alternate realities as avatars, and today we find ourselves in a world of Second Life and MMOG’s. The world they imagined-it has happened.
– Sean Bailey, Producer

The Art of Tron: Legacy will be available on November 23rd at various book stores and online retailers. And if the film is as good as it looks here, then it’s worth a trip to the Grid to risk getting derezzed!

Till next time, programs!

Infinite Speech



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Luis García and Comic Attack, Gid Freeman. Gid Freeman said: Greetings, programs! The Grid awaits with The Art of Tron: Legacy! @ComicAttack #tronlegacy […]

  2. […] be spoiled for you that you haven’t seen in the trailers. I’d also suggest checking out The Art of Tron: Legacy if you’re a longtime fan of the franchise or if you’re new to the Tron […]

  3. […] There was a bit of laughter when the villain was in full costume, because it looked like Sark (from Tron) and Magneto’s costumes got together and had a kid! Another great scene was The Ray being […]

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