Disney has a horrible reputation for developing interesting programming content and then failing in advertisement, especially if it is a show like Tron: Uprising. The DisneyXD exclusive animated prequel series to Tron: Legacy, was a hit with fans and critics alike.
The House of Mouse decided that, for some reason, it just didn’t fit into its programming focus. The show has never been renewed for a second season, but has also never been officially canceled either. What Disney did have was a beautiful piece of television, the likes of which they’ve never produced again.
Tron: Uprising, told the story of a mechanic named Beck (voiced by Elijah Wood) who trains to become the new Tron after Tron himself (voiced by Bruce Boxleitner) has been damaged almost beyond repair after being betrayed by CLU. The series follows Beck as he carries out Tron’s missions. He tries to form a resistance against CLU, the purges, and the ideas of perfection on The Grid.
The show is similar to Tron in that the programs have been brainwashed into believing that the Users (ie, people like us) do not exist and believe in such nonsense is likened to religious fanaticism. It’s an interesting dichotomy and theme but because Disney abandoned it after only one season, it was never given the opportunity to thrive.
The style of Tron: Uprising is anime-like. Body proportions are not human-like at all and many of the programs the audience are introduced to don’t even look human. This lends to the fantastical and science fiction elements in the show. It’s a distinctive style that Disney had never used before and hasn’t used again but for this TV and this subject matter, it works.
The only quibble I truly have with Uprising is the script. While neither of the Tron films can be praised for their scripts, Uprising takes even their lackluster dialogue and makes it even more stilted. Beyond that, though, the story for the TV show is in line with the films even if it never fully connects to Legacy in the way the creators wanted it to.
What it does do is flesh out the character of Tron much more than either film did, and it gives Boxleitner some great voice-over work to do. The Tron we meet in Uprising is jaded and harsh and much more multi-layered because of the betrayal. For fans like me who loved Tron as a character, it’s a delightful deep dive into his psyche.
For fans of the lore and the films Tron and Tron: Legacy, Tron: Uprising delivers some world building that will delight and excite you. Look for the episodes “Scars: Part 1” and “Scars: Part 2” as well as season finale “Terminal” to enjoy.