‘Tron Legacy’ Toys Defy Gravity, Recognize Friends & Foes And Give New Meaning To Face Modeling

Friends, there is a reason the blog wasn’t updated heavily this afternoon. That’s because I spent most of mine at a media demonstration showing off Disney’s upcoming “Tron Legacy” toys & tech. Watch the video now; we’ll talk afterwards.

If this is what toys are like in the future, I’ll take some of that “Benjamin Button” serum, please. Lots of cool stuff on display. The first think you see is the Tron Zero Gravity Light Cycle, a remote controlled vehicle which uses fancy vacuum technology to allow for driving on walls. In a cool twist, a beam of light spits out the back of it; if another Light Cycle breaks the beam, it “de-rezzes.” Or, in real world terms, it falls off the wall. Neat, right?

Then there are the action figures. The larger ones not only light up, they project the face of the character onto the faceplate, with accompanying movie dialogue. It’s kind of awesome to sit and watch a little image of Jeff Bridges’ face pop up, whispering “Flynn lives.” The smaller action figures, the ones that can ride on Light Cycles of the non-wall adhering variety, are equipped with recognition chips. The Light Cycle responds to the chip, turning blue or orange depending on whether a hero or a villain is slotted in as a rider.

The tech is pretty neat as well. Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 owners have “Tron” controllers to look forward to, veined with lines of blue lights. PC gamers aren’t left out either; Razer has developed a pretty slick keyboard/mouse combo, complete with a detachable keypad and lighting effects. You also might catch a glimpse in the video of a device shaped like one of the movie’s discs. This is actually an iPod dock, designed to sync with an App being released this summer which will feature games and assets from the movie in addition to specialized dock controls.

If there was a big takeaway from the event for me, it’s this: Disney intends for 2011 to be the year of “Tron.” They were only showing off a handful of what’s coming today. More will be revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, but the lion’s share — the “coolest stuff,” said Disney Consumer Products VP Chris Heatherly — is going to have to wait until December and January, so as not to spoil elements of the movie for fans. There will be plenty more vehicles (bring on the Recognizers!) as well as comics, books and who knows what else.

As a fan, I have to say… being surrounded by all of that “Tron” swag got me pretty excited for what’s coming. I learned that toys in the future are cool, sure. But I also learned that Disney seems to be pulling out every stop imaginable for “Tron Legacy.” They’re angling to be this year’s “Avatar,” no question. And they’re going to blitz you with Awesome until you agree.

Or send Security Programs to silence your dissent.