Via Daring Fireball, this fantastic article in The New York Times features images from an AI-generated imagination of ‘Tron’ if it were made by Alejandro Jodorosky.

This movie doesn’t exist.

Image by Johnny Darrell

All the screenshots in this article were generated by Johnny Darrell using MidJourney. He posted these images back in November to the MidJourney Facebook group.

Jodorosky is famous for his trippy, avant-garde movies like El Topo and The Holy Mountain. His surrealist style transports you to this dream-like universe where things aren’t as expected.

Jodorosky never attempted Tron, even though he’s somewhat famous for attempts at making grandiose films.

There’s a fantastic documentary called Jodorosky’s Dune that tells the tale of the avant-garde filmmaker’s epic attempt to create Dune back in the 1970’s. His vision was over-the-top in every regard: he wanted the film to run for an eye-watering 14-hours, featuring a cast including Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Orson Wells.

The movie was never made, but it ended up inspiring the likes of Star Wars, The Terminator, and even Flash Gordon.

image by Johnny Darrell

Go check out the full set of stills in the NYT, or browse Johnny Darell’s full collections on Facebook (be sure to check out part 1 and part 2).

This is a great example of generative AI shining, and could perhaps only be done in MidJourney — these results likely required very specific prompts — a human working with AI to create something special.

The NYT piece was authored by Frank Pavich, the director of the Jodorosky’s Dune documentary, so he has personal context for all of this. He ends his piece with thought-provoking questions:

What will it mean when directors, concept artists and film students can see with their imaginations, when they can paint using all the digitally archived visual material of human civilization? When our culture starts to be influenced by scenes, sets and images from old films that never existed or that haven’t yet even been imagined?

As AI advances, it increasingly looks like we’re going to have to develop entirely new ways of approaching culture.