Nostalgia for the Future: How TRON: Legacy's Paratextual Campaign rebooted the Franchise

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Nostalgia for the Future: How TRON: Legacy’s paratextual campaign rebooted the franchise

Like many film franchises, TRON has been nourished by a steady flow of spin-offs, adaptations, special editions and re-releases on every conceivable format from Betamax to Blu-ray. But what distinguishes TRON from others of its kind is the time which has passed between the original film release in 1982 and the production of its sequel TRON: Legacy in 2010, nearly thirty years later.
When it came to marketing the long anticipated sequel, a promotional campaign was designed by the award winning company 42 Entertainment which had established a reputation for producing the multi-platform interactive campaign for The Dark Knight in 2008. This chapter explores the ways that narrative ‘work’ was undertaken by the Flynn Lives campaign to bridge the temporal gap between the two films and effectively reconditions the story for the next instalment of the franchise. It shows how the film’s canonisation was cultivated, traditions were invented and nostalgic sensibilities were nurtured for a film not yet seen.
The campaign created an entertainment, arguably as absorbing as the film it sought to promote, but the success of the paratext was not entirely in its hands. The reasons why TRON captured the imagination of a generation are considered here as well as how the excitement generated by TRON’s vision of a digital future transformed into nostalgia. Drawing on writings in the field of Memory studies, this chapter argues that the campaign was able to capitalise on the nostalgia which had grown up around the original film and in the emergent game culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Ephemeral Digital Media
EditorsSara Pesce, Paolo Noto
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages248
ISBN (Electronic)978-1138857926
ISBN (Print)1138857920
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in New Media and Cyberculture


  • Nostalgia
  • film marketing
  • paratext
  • adaptation
  • media memory cultures


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