This article is about the computer program, Tron. For other uses, see Tron (disambiguation).
I fight for the users.
|Compile Date||1980 (Version 1)|
1983 (Version 2)
|Circuitry Color||Blue (ENCOM mainframe)|
White (Tron system)
|Description||Regular program appearance|
|Vehicles||Light Cycle (1st generation)|
Light Cycle (4th generation)
Light Cycle (TRON: Uprising)
|Out of universe information|
TRON: Evolution - Battle Grids
Kingdom Hearts II
Tron is a security computer program written by Alan Bradley, and in 1982 was taken prisoner by the self-aware Master Control Program and forced to play on the Game Grid. His legendary skills and devotion to the users turned him into a formidable warrior and Disc Arena master.
A prototype of Tron was completed in January 1980 by ENCOM programmer Alan Bradley as a self-monitoring security program. The full name of this program was TRON-JA-307020. Work continued on Tron until 1982, but when the program was almost complete, Alan discovered that his access to Tron and the ENCOM computers had been suspended as a security measure against a hacker, who turned out to be Kevin Flynn. Due to this suspension, Tron was held captive under Sark and the MCP, and forced to play gladiator video games on the Game Grid, winning battles with up to four enemy programs at once and gaining a reputation as a program who fought for the users.
Meeting with ENCOM's then Senior Executive Ed Dillinger in a bid to regain access to his program, Alan explained how Tron worked:
Dillinger asked if Tron was part of the MCP; Alan denied it, and added that the program could "watchdog the MCP as well." Privately, the MCP scolded Dillinger for allowing Tron to be developed, since its illegal appropriations were exactly the kind of activity Tron had been created to combat.
Flynn and Alan conspired with Lora to break into ENCOM so that Tron could be unleashed to shut the MCP down and release evidence of Dillinger's perfidy. During the ensuing hacking attempt, Flynn was digitized by the MCP, who ordered him thrown into the same gladiator video games that Tron was trapped in. Tron was astonished and suspicious when Flynn called him by his user's name, but Flynn gained his trust by claiming to be a program from a user who knew Alan and revealing that he too was out to destroy the MCP.
Tron, Flynn, and another conscript, Ram, were forced to play a gladiator game of light cycles against three programs from Sark's army. Tron's first gambit caused one of the programs to crash into a wall of the game grid, leaving a deep fissure in the wall. While he and Ram systematically entrapped another enemy, Flynn used the hole to break out of the confines of the game, leading Tron and Ram in a wild flight from pursuing tanks and recognizers until they were able to hide out in a canyon, recharge, and locate their next destination.
To destroy the MCP and change the system, Tron needed data from his user, "Alan-One" (Bradley), to be encoded on his identity disc. He could sense Alan's summons from the canyon, but to communicate with him, he would need to reach an I/O Tower whose use by programs was strictly forbidden by the MCP. While on the way to the I/O Tower, the three conscripts were spotted by one of the pursuing tanks, which fired, hitting Flynn and Ram's light cycles. When Tron looked back to see if they were still alive, there was no trace of life and no response. Upset with the loss of his friends, Tron evaded the rest of the tank armada and continued toward the I/O Tower.
Before reaching the Tower, Tron made a detour to free Yori, his lover; her friendship with the Tower Guardian, Dumont, got him the time he needed to communicate with Alan-One. His conversation with his user was brief and characteristically task-oriented, but left him rejoicing with the information he needed to destroy the MCP. Dumont was captured by Sark, but Tron escaped with Yori by stealing a Solar Sailer simulation and flying it towards the heart of the ENCOM system, where the MCP was located.
While traveling towards the MCP, Tron was reunited with Flynn, who had survived the tank attack after all. Tron was delighted to see him alive, but grieved that Ram had not made it through as well. He introduced Flynn to Yori, but was dismayed by Flynn's interest in her resemblance to Lora.
As the Solar Sailer progressed, Flynn thwarted an attempt by the MCP and Sark to stop it from reaching its destination, and was revealed to be a user. Tron, sceptical, asked him if everything he'd done so far had been according to a plan; Flynn laughed at the idea, and Tron found it strange to think that users could control their own lives as little as programs could.
Sark finally rammed his carrier into the Solar Sailer, derezzing it. In the chaos, Tron was cut off from Yori and Flynn, who were flung into a landing bay of the Carrier, slated to be derezzed along with the ship when Sark disembarked to bring Dumont and his other prisoners to the MCP.
Unbeknownst to Sark, Tron had survived the crash, clinging to the outside of the carrier; unaware of Flynn and Yori's predicament, he hung on to the skin of its escape pod as it traveled from the derezzing carrier to the MCP's vast mesa. Sark's lieutenant remained with the pod to guard it, but Tron waited until Sark had left with his prisoners, killed the soldier with a disc throw from his hiding place, and then followed.
Tron's presence distracted the MCP from its attempt to absorb Dumont and the other Tower Guardians. Sark, dispatched to deal with the warrior on the mesa, recognized Tron, and the two dueled with their identity discs, avoiding the crevasses in the mesa while attempting to catch one another off guard. Sark taunted Tron, calling him a slave and at the same time criticizing him for not joining him, as they "would have made a great team." With one mighty throw, Tron smashed Sark's disc in half, dealing a mortal wound to Sark's head; as Sark fell, dying, Tron raced past him into the MCP's citadel.
Deprived of his protector, the MCP channeled all of his functions into reviving Sark, summoning him repeatedly as Tron threw his disc at the weak point his user had designated. At first, Tron's disc was unable to penetrate the MCP's shields, and he was further beleaguered as Sark - enormous and invulnerable due to the MCP's power - appeared and attempted to squash him.
Seeing Tron's plight, Flynn, who had preserved himself and Yori due to his user abilities and was approaching on the deck of Sark's half-derezzed carrier, jumped into the citadel's beam, disorienting both the MCP and the giant Sark enough for Tron to cast his disc through the shields. Tron watched the MCP derez, and guided Dumont and the other Tower Guardians away from the mesa just before its citadel exploded. Yori and Tron reunited and shared a kiss (which Tron found both pleasing and surprising, since kissing had not been customary for programs), and stood with Dumont to watch the system restore itself and all of the I/O Towers light up again.
TRON: Betrayal 1983-1989
During this time, Tron was upgraded and copied over to Flynn's personal server in order to help protect the Grid, and had a city named in his honor. He was also present when the ISOs began emerging. When Clu gradually started to effect his rule over the Grid, Tron became suspicious of his friend's actions and - on at least one occasion - managed to save a program that had been defeated in the games from being derezzed on Clu's orders.
TRON: Evolution 1989
Tron assisted a prototype system monitor program named Anon to prevent system-wide infection by the viral program Abraxas. When the virus attacked the ceremony of peace between ISOs and Basics, Tron arrived just as Anon fended the virus off. After a brief discussion about Abraxas, Tron decided that Kevin should leave the Grid, due to it being too dangerous. Deciding that he would escort Flynn to the portal, Tron ordered Anon to track down the virus, promising to return and assist him after Flynn was back in the real world. Then on the way to the portal, Tron and Flynn were attacked by Clu. After telling Kevin to run, Tron was forced to fend off Clu's elite Black Guard. During the conflict, Tron acquired one of the guard's identity discs and proceeded to use this in tandem with his own to help finish the fight. He then turned to Kevin who had fallen under attack from Clu. Tron attacked Clu, buying time for Kevin to escape, but ultimately fell to a blow from Clu's identity disc. With Tron out of commission, Anon was forced by the circumstances of the situation to take up his superior's duties.
TRON: Uprising 1989-2010
Tron was captured by his former friend, Dyson. Severely damaged and imprisoned along with programs who were repurposed by Clu, Tron was spared as Dyson wanted him to join Clu willingly. For this he tortured him, severely injuring his code. His torture caused the sympathy of one of the guards, Cyrus. When Tron was to be carried on a recognizer, Cyrus caused an explosion and the recogniser fell in the Outlands, allowing Tron to escape.
Tron went into hiding in the Outlands near Argon City. Tron's sudden disappearance led most programs on the Grid to believe that he was derezzed in the crash, and Clu encouraged this rumor, using Tron's apparent demise as leverage in his takeover of the Grid. Tron meanwhile kept watch from his hideout, using a device of his own to keep his injuries at bay, but was unable to enter action himself.
Beck's actions in rebelling against General Tesler drew Tron's attention, and, disguised with red circuits and a jet black helmet, Tron tracked down the young program and took him under his wing. Unable to lead a revolution himself due to the injuries he had sustained, he wanted Beck to become his successor as protector of the Grid. Initially sceptical, Beck agreed and, under Tron's guidance, began the training that would set him on a path to "become the next Tron."
When Beck lost his identity disc, Tron guided him to Purgos in order to buy a stolen one. They were ambushed by Kobol who intended to deliver Beck to Clu's forces. After their fight, Tron had to unmask himself before Lux who had a change of heart and sacrificed herself to buy time for Beck and Tron to escape from the army.
When Dyson came to Argon for inspection and report, Tron was enraged and ordered Beck to capture him for interrogation. However Tron actually wanted to derezz Dyson for revenge to his treachery. Tron's rage made him neglect himself, and his injuries once more expanded. Beck noticed Tron's change of character and was reluctant to cooperate with him. When Tron went off to hunt Dyson, Beck attempted to stop him, and the two eventually fought. However a memory of Cyrus who rescued him, echoing something Beck had said earlier -- "I can't let the revolution end before it has a chance to start--" changed his mind, and let him live only to deliver a message. Dyson informed Clu that "Tron lives."
As the series progresses, Tron learns to trust Beck eventually accepting him as his friend. Because it later became necessary for him to leave his hideout in the Outlands, Tron created for himself a discreet, almost-completely black light suit so he would not be recognized or attract any attention.
TRON 2.0 2003
- Tron Legacy Code e-mail fragments, a message from Kevin Flynn to Alan Bradley stated that Tron would have to be "shelved" after the request for an upgrade on their digitization research was denied. The Legacy Code was originally intended to be an upgrade of Tron, so the program could better maintain the Game Grid and keep the arena free of unauthorized users. When a high-level compiler for the Tron Legacy Code asked Jet where Tron was, Jet responded by saying that Tron was "retired." Tron does not make an appearance in TRON 2.0; however, he is mentioned on several occasions. During Jet's search for the missing
Some time earlier, Tron (presumably version 2.0) was called back into the fray when an mysterious and powerful virus attacked the ENCOM systems. He bravely fought off the intruder, going back to stasis afterwards, never to be heard of again...
TRON: Legacy 2010
By 2010, Tron had been recaptured and repurposed, serving Clu under the new name of Rinzler, with twin identity discs, his former dark disguise, red circuits, and only the familiar "T" insignia on his suit hinting at his true identity. With little apparently left of his old personality, he served as Clu's enforcer and right-hand man, and was the final, unbeatable opponent conscripts were forced to face when thrown into the Games. He did, however, retain enough knowledge to recognize Sam's blood as a sign of a User. Pursuing Sam, Quorra, and a now-elderly Kevin Flynn across the Grid, he was recognized by Flynn, who had long presumed that Tron was dead. He captured Quorra, but was defeated by Sam, and, together with Clu, took up the pursuit again when the three escaped in a stolen Light Jet. During the ensuing dogfight, a flight over their jet brought him briefly face to face with Flynn, and he began to overcome Clu's programming, experiencing flashbacks and disorientation. Finally, regaining some part of his former self, Rinzler growled that he fought for the Users and made a partially successful attack on his former master that demolished both their light jets and left them both falling over the Sea of Simulation. He was attempting to activate a new light jet from his extra baton when Clu wrestled the baton away and used it to escape, leaving Rinzler to plunge into the Sea. Rinzler's red circuitry cut out briefly, but reactivated with its earlier white glow as he sank out of view.
Personality and traits
Tron's personality is that of a determined warrior, willing to do anything for the users and for the freedom of his fellow programs. He is usually serious and task-focused and has a deep reverence towards users, especially his own user, Alan-One. Tron displays a particularly high loyalty to Kevin Flynn, who is both his friend and a user. Tron bravely stood his ground against a superior number of soldiers, including Clu, to protect Flynn.
Skills and abilities
Tron possesses unparalleled skill within the computer world - so much that even Commander Sark expressed a degree of professional respect for him, despite otherwise viewing him as a slave - and is a master at all of the Game Grid gladiator games, especially Disc Wars and Light Cycles. Tron easily defeated four of the MCP's game programs in the Disc Wars game and later engaged Sark in solo combat on his way to help fight the MCP, ultimately dealing Sark a lethal blow.
Tron also has the ability to remove the effects of the MCP's brainwashing, as shown when he successfully restored Yori to her normal self. His complete topographic understanding of the system makes him a master tactician and effective leader.
Tron's abilities include complete mastery of his identity disc, which allowed him to quietly snipe Sark's Lieutenant. After he was copied to the Tron system, he initially used his identity disc and two batons. Later, Tron acquired a second disc from one of Clu's Black Guards and redeveloped his combat style to employ both discs together.
In TRON: Legacy, Tron was shown to still be an excellent fighter as he took on four Clu's elite Black Guards and defeated them with ease. Repurposed as Rinzler, he lost none of his deadly skill, fighting with two identity discs instead of one. He was also able to read the energy traces of footprints by placing his hand on the floor of the Grid, an ability shared by security programs such as Dyson.
In TRON: Uprising, Tron resented no longer being able fight as well as he used to, due to extensive injuries that repeatedly opened again unless he was able to constantly access a healing chamber. Despite this, Tron was a skillful and deadly fighter, able to dodge Beck's attacks with both his hands behind his back and roundly defeat one of Clu's top enforcers. It is also worth noting that Tron took a direct hit from Clu's identity disc but survived. However, his need for a constant power source and regular access to a healing chamber - without which he would derez - prevented him from being able to retake the Grid himself.
In 1982, Tron was in a relationship with Yori, a program responsible for digitization and simulation supervising. The romance was mirrored in the real world, as Yori's user Lora was in a relationship with Tron's user Alan; the two users ultimately married, but Yori's whereabouts as of 2010 are unknown.
Behind the scenes
Tron is portrayed by actor Bruce Boxleitner, the same actor that plays Alan Bradley, Tron's user. At first, Boxleitner (raised in the mid-west and usually performed in Western roles on television) was hesitant about playing a computer program until he found out that Jeff Bridges was signed for the movie. He also signed on due to the fact that this was his first feature film.
Tron was originally conceived as part of a demo video for Steven Lisberger's new Boston-based animation studio, and was later sold to a radio station for a TV advertising campaign. In the video, a luminescent character hurled two frisbee-like discs out at the viewer, and caught them on their return in an anthropomorphic tribute to Pong. This character was named "Electronic Man", from which was drawn the nickname "Tron". It was generated entirely using an animation-masking technique that caused selected areas of the screen to glow vividly and brightly, a method for which Lisberger had a particular affinity. The character of Tron was subsequently incorporated into Lisberger's vision of a heroic defender of freedom living inside a digital world. It wasn't until after the movie that he found out that programming languages such as BASIC used a debugging command called TRON which literally meant "Trace On" - and allowed the programmer or user to watch code execute.
The 1982 Bally Midway coin-operated video arcade TRON's ending credits show the term: TRON, "To Run On Nothing", as the last line of the credits when the user completes all 12 levels of the game.
- Tron shows signs of left-handedness, as the actor portraying him, Bruce Boxleitner, is left-handed.
- In the new Grid, Tron has expert-class privileges in Light Cycle, Light Tank, and Recognizer operation.