You're in trouble program. Now make it easy on yourself. Who is your user?
—Master Control Program
|Master Control Program|
|User||Walter Gibbs (former)|
00 - Dillinger
|Description||Unique program appearance|
Dictator of the ENCOM system.
|Out of universe information|
David Warner (Voice; Uncredited)
Corey Burton (Kingdom Hearts II)
TRON: The Ghost in the Machine
Kingdom Hearts II
The Master Control Program (or MCP) is the main antagonist in TRON. The MCP was a rogue computer program, created by Walter Gibbs and vastly improved by Ed Dillinger, that ruled over the world inside ENCOM's mainframe computer system. During the rule of the MCP, many programs were enslaved and pitted against the program's henchmen, led by Commander Sark.
Originally created by ENCOM founder Walter Gibbs, at first the MCP was only a chess program which was left embedded in the company's computer systems. Years later, Dillinger substantially modified this program into the MCP to administer the company's computer network. However, the MCP developed the capacity to learn and grow beyond the confines of its original programming. It began to steal data and functions from other systems, and infiltrated several companies and institutions. Its intelligence and ambition grew nearly out of control, and the MCP grew to desire nothing less than world domination. In its own words, it said it "... could run things 900-1200 times better than any human." Dillinger stated that he had made it too greedy, and was surprised when the MCP revealed that it intended to enter the Pentagon's computer systems the next week. Dillinger appeared to begin having reservations about letting the MCP become so powerful, which are realized when it threatened to expose Dillinger's unsavory dealings to the Wall Street Journal if he tried to move against it.
Flynn, in the computer world, allied himself with Tron, a security program. Their combined efforts resulted in the deresolution of the MCP, by throwing Tron's specially-encoded disc into the base of the MCP. The MCP then reverted to its original chess program appearance (which, in the digital universe, appeared as an old man in a control chair) followed by this program vanishing as it was deleted.
Skills and abilities
The MCP possesses god-like abilities within the ENCOM mainframe, and all transport beams lead to its core. Along these beams, the MCP has the ability to send out power surges. Within its core, it can telekinetically throw programs and torture them with deresolution, and can erect shields at its base for protection. It also has the ability to communicate with Sark via the Carrier. The MCP at one pivotal point was able to transfer all of its functions to Sark, bringing the program back to life as a powerful giant.
However, despite its immense power, the MCP had several weaknesses. It was not all-knowing within the system, as evidenced by the fact the pirate program Clu was able to get so far into a high-clearance memory without the MCP's knowledge. To compensate, the MCP depends upon its Guards and Recognizers to maintain watch over the system. Its ability to attack or harm programs also seems to have been limited, as when Tron began attacking it, it merely erected a shield to protect its heart. While hindering Tron, this action alone would not eliminate the threat he posed to the MCP. It was at this point that the MCP took the extremely desperate step of transfering all his functions to Sark, suggesting that the MCP itself was helpless to subdue Tron and required Sark to accomplish this for him.
Arguably, the MCP's single greatest physical weakness was the energy beam that extended up into the sky, appearing as the never-ending top of the MCP's head. Within this beam, the MCP had no defenses. A program that entered this beam would be able to distract and disorient the MCP, leaving it completely vulnerable to any attacks that might be mounted against it on the ground. Judging by the fact that Flynn was ultimately returned to the real world by being ejected up into this beam, it's highly likely that this beam functioned as the MCP's own private I/O Tower, the channel through which it performed all of its real world activites and communicated with Dillinger.
The MCP appears briefly in TRON: The Ghost in the Machine (a direct sequel to TRON 2.0). After Mercury reveals that she recalled Jet back to the computer world, she explains that the MCP has risen back into power and has taken control of the system. Jet initially believes this to be impossible, as the program was destroyed over thirty years ago by his godfather, Kevin Flynn. When Jet comes face to face with the MCP, the program repeatedly uses the quote, "Stop! Please! You know I can't allow this!" when he is attacked. When Jet's identity disc fails to destroy the MCP's core, he taunts him with a sexual innuendo and sticks his tongue out at him. The MCP does not reappear in the comic after Jet is defeated by Red Jet.
The MCP is also seen in Kingdom Hearts II, as the ruler of Ansem the Wise's computer. He is the boss (along with Sark) for the final fight of Tron's world, Space Paranoids. His role is largely unchanged from that in the original TRON film.
- In most translations, the MCP's name is still abbreviated as "MCP"—its French name, for example, is "Maître Contrôle Principal," literally translated as "Main Master Control." However, its name in Spanish is "Programa Control Maestro," literally "Master Control Program," and the abbreviation is "PCM."
- The desk/computer that was used as Ed Dillinger's main connection with the MCP can still be found within the ENCOM Tower. It serves as the ENCOM board's conference table, used by all employees/clients present at the meeting as an instant access PC. The table makes a brief appearance in the beginning of TRON: Legacy.
- An easter egg in the US Blu-ray release of TRON: Legacy depicts a typed instant message conversation between Edward Dillinger, Jr. and an unknown but familiar voice—whom he addresses as his father—which uses the pseudonym "MCTRL_751." This has given rise to speculation about a possible reappearance of either the MCP or its original user in future continuity.
- The MCP ended most of its conversations with Dillinger and Sark with the phrase "End of Line."
- Although the MCP is generally red, it can temporarily take on other colors.
- Barnard Hughes plays the original state of the Master Control Program.