Shooting the film lasted only 64 days. Post-production, due to the heavy special effects, required 68 weeks.
A partial replica of Flynn's Arcade was set up at Comic-Con 2009, complete with several Space Paranoids consoles, and other 80's video games. A full-scale model of the new light-cycle was also displayed.
The building featured as Flynn's Arcade in TRON (1982) was in reality the historic Hull Building in Culver City, CA. As of 2009, when this sequel was made, the location looked very different from its appearance in the original film. So, the movie makers opted to painstakingly recreate the original interior and a portion of the exterior in Vancouver instead, with the rest of the location filled in with CGI. The exterior even includes the "Space Paranoids" billboard on the roof, but with the addition of the "TRON" logo - in-universe, TRON is an arcade game that Flynn created after the events of the first movie.
At Comic-Con 2010, this movie became the first film to be promoted at the annual con for three years running.
The references to The Black Hole (1979) within this film are more than coincidental. The director of this film, Joseph Kosinski, is also directing a remake of that movie, The Black Hole (2012).
Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is seen wearing a stylized "89" on the back of his helmet in the motorcycle scene in the real world. This is to represent the year that Kevin Flynn disappeared and was mailed as a sticker decal to those who participated in the "Flynn Lives" viral marketing campaign in the months leading up to the film's release.
The suits worn by the actors proved to be problematic on set. Every single one of them was fitted with a small lithium battery that powered the circuitry for the embedded light strips, but each battery only lasted 12 minutes. In order to maximize the output, the light strips had to be switched on right before each take and turned off immediately afterwards. The circuitries inside the suits were also very fragile, so the actors could not simply sit between takes but had to recline against upright boards.
Olivia Wilde's futuristic gear was so effective that when she showed up on the set one day as "herself" after 2 month's work, she was stopped by a security official who demanded to see ID.
Olivia Wilde had to learn her stunts a second time upon discovering the high heels her character wears.
As seen in the theatrical trailer, Sam's childhood bedroom features an original 1980s Macintosh computer, toys from the original TRON (1982), and a poster for The Black Hole (1979) (another film from the same era as TRON, and a similar Disney foray into science fiction with cutting-edge (at the time) special effects, including computer animation (see trivia for The Black Hole)). Director Joseph Kosinski's next project is a remake of The Black Hole for Disney. The film also ties into the history of the "TRON" films because originally, for the first film, Disney wanted proof that Steven Lisberger could not only direct, but proof that the back-lighting effects to have the live action characters glow worked. Disney lent Lisberger and his company props and costumes from "The Black Hole" (which had recently wrapped) to use for their test film.
The popular Tron (1982) arcade game (a tie-in to the original film) makes an appearance. However, the console shown is credited to the in-universe software company Encom, rather than the real creators Bally-Midway.
The name of the character 'Alan Bradley' is likely a reference/homage to the founders Allen Bradley who are the namesake of the famous brand of electronic controls. Conglomerate Rockwell International purchased Milwaukee based Allen Bradley a long time ago, and then divested many companies. Rockwell then moved its HQ to Milwaukee and is now called Rockwell Automation, but it's really (just) the Allen Bradley brand these days.
The original TRON (1982) character of Yori does not appear in the sequel. According to online media Sci Fi Wire: "Fans have been lobbying for actor Cindy Morgan to be in the movie". There are active campaigns online, such as "Yori Lives" on Facebook, which is independent of Cindy Morgan herself. She did, however, make an appearance in character as Lora at the WonderCon viral event. It was revealed that Lora had married Alan Bradley.
During the disc wars, a display of the competitor's names shows one named "Cray", which is a line of real-life supercomputers founded in 1972. A Cray X-MP was shown in the original Tron, and was listed in the credits.
The suits the actors had to wear were extremely hot, and when the cameras were not rolling the cast would sit underneath giant yellow air conditioning tubes to cool off.
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