List of Tron characters
This article covers notable characters of Tron franchise, including all of its various cinematic, literary, video game adaptations and sequels.
- 1 Development
- 2 Tron
- 3 Tron 2.0, Tron: Killer App, Tron: The Ghost in the Machine
- 4 Tron: Legacy, Betrayal, Uprising and Evolution
- 5 References
For the first film, Richard Rickitt explains that to "produce the characters who inhabit the computer world, actors were dressed in costumes that were covered in black-and-white computer circuitry designs....With coloured light shining through the white areas of their costumes, the resulting characters appeared to glow as if lit from within....optical processes were used to create all of the film's computerized characters..." Frederick S. Clarke reports that "Tron: Legacy will combine live action with CGI," adding that "several characters...will be completely digital..."
Kevin Flynn is the protagonist of the first film. He is played by Jeff Bridges.
Kevin Flynn is a former employee of fictional software company ENCOM. At the start of the first movie, he is manager of "Flynn's", a video arcade where he impresses his patrons with his skills at games that (unknown to them) he designed at ENCOM, but remains determined to find evidence that CEO Ed Dillinger plagiarised Flynn's work to advance his position within the company. Throughout most of the film, Flynn travels around the digital world, accompanying the eponymous character Tron; but later discovers that as a User, he commands the physical laws of the digital world, enabling him beyond the abilities of an ordinary program. Eventually, he enables Tron to destroy the Master Control Program shown to oppress the digital world, and upon return to the material world obtains the evidence necessary to expose Dillinger, and becomes ENCOM's CEO himself.
In the novelization of the film, Flynn's name is revealed to be Kevin O. Flynn.[clarification needed]
Clu (short for Codified Likeness Utility) is a hacking program (also played by Jeff Bridges) created by Flynn to expose Dillinger's plagiarism. Clu is first seen in the opening of the movie operating a tank program in the search to uncover the stolen data, but is captured by the Master Control Program and absorbed into it. The information gained from Clu is subsequently used against Flynn as he tries to escape the game grid on a light cycle.
Alan is the creator of the Tron program that monitors communications between the Master Control Program and the real world; but finding its progress confined, assists Flynn in exposing Dillinger. In the film, Tron addresses Bradley with the username 'Alan-1'.
Tron (also played by Bruce Boxleitner) is a security program created by Alan Bradley to monitor communications between the Master Control Program and the real world. In the movie, Tron is captured by the MCP and forced to play on the Game Grid, but freed by Flynn and instructed by Alan to shut down the MCP. In the film, Tron's program name is "TRON-JA307020".
Bit is a representation of a bit (binary digit), and as such is only capable of providing (0,1) answers to any question, through which it managed to convey various emotions. Bit appeared twice in the movie, once at the beginning of the movie as companion to CLU and later as a companion to Flynn himself, and was originally to have a more extensive role; but has only two minutes for scheduling reasons. Despite this, the co-creators of Max Headroom, in their book Creative Computer Graphics, called it "one of the most memorable characters in the film." At the time of the film's release, the character represented an innovative use of vector graphics and morphing.
Physically, Bit was represented within the movie by a blue polyhedral shape that alternated between the compound of dodecahedron and icosahedron and the small triambic icosahedron (the first stellation of the icosahedron). When the Bit announces the answer "yes" it briefly changes into a yellow octahedron, and when it announces "no" it changes into the 35th stellation of the icosahedron, colored red.
Lora is one of the designers of the laser that teleports Kevin Flynn into the digital world. She is the girlfriend of Alan Bradley and ex-girlfriend of Kevin Flynn, and the creator of the Yori program that befriends Flynn in the digital world, having long been a friend of Tron.
Walter Gibbs was the founder of ENCOM. He continues to work there as a scientist along with Lora Baines, working on the teleporting laser. After voicing concerns about heavy restriction to the company mainframe computer in a meeting with Ed Dillinger, Dillinger responds by threatening him with being dismissed. He is portrayed by Barnard Hughes.
Ed Dillinger is the Senior Executive Vice President of fictional software company ENCOM and the "real world" antagonist of the first film. He is played by David Warner.
Dillinger was a worker in ENCOM before plagiarising Kevin Flynn's original work, whereafter he became its "senior executive". He contributes to the rise of the Master Control Program that controls the ENCOM mainframe and the user of Sark that acts as the MCP's second-in-command. As Flynn seeks the evidence of Dillinger's theft of his work, Dillinger authorizes the MCP to tighten security controls. When Ed starts questioning MCP about going against his plans to capture other programs, MCP threatens to expose who really made the video games. Ed Dillinger is defeated when the MCP is destroyed and his misdeed exposed yet he is relieved that MCP is no more.
His son Ed Dillinger, Jr. appears in the film's sequel (portrayed by Cillian Murphy).
Master Control Program
The Master Control Program (MCP), voiced by David Warner, is the main antagonist of the first film.
It is an artificial intelligence created by ENCOM founder Walter Gibbs and improved by Ed Dillinger that ruled Encom's mainframe computer. During the rule of the MCP, many programs are enslaved and forced to play games against its henchmen. To gain information and power, the MCP threatens to reveal Dillinger's plagiarism of Flynn's creations to the public. Dillinger used the MCP to administer the company's computer network (in effect an AI Superuser); but the MCP, empowered by him, begins to steal data from other systems, and comes to desire control of external corporations and even governments. Eventually, the MCP is destroyed by Flynn and Tron.
Before its destruction, the MCP ends most of its conversations with Dillinger with the computer programming phrase "End of line". In the sequel, Tron: Legacy, the digital world has a music club called the "End of Line Club", as a tribute to the Master Control Program.
Ram is an actuarial program who "worked for a big insurance company" before being captured by the MCP and forced to play on the Game Grid. He is played by Dan Shor.
While involved in the games, Ram exceeds his original programming to become a proficient gamer, and expresses a fair amount of confidence in his abilities while between contests; but took pride in his work as an actuarial program, which he seemed to associate with humanitarian purposes. He is injured by a game tank after escaping the game grid with Flynn and Tron, and later dies in the company of Flynn.
Sark is chief lieutenant to the Master Control Program. He is created by ENCOM CEO Ed Dillinger, and shares Dillinger's voice and form. Sark oversaw the training of new programs kidnapped and brought to the Game Grid by the MCP, and was known to enter the games himself from time to time. He is destroyed by Tron near the end of the film. In the novelization, his program name is "SARK-ES1117821".
Yori is the romantic interest of Tron and Flynn. She is also played by Cindy Morgan.
She was in charge of the creation of digital simulations (such as the Solar Sailer) and assisted in the de-rezzing procedure of the digitizing laser. Yori is reunited with Tron after he rescues her from the clutches of the MCP, and helps Tron and Flynn reach the core of the MCP, where their combined efforts destroy the MCP and its factional programs.
Dumont is a Tower Guardian charged with protecting the ENCOM mainframe's I/O Tower. He resembles his user, Encom founder Walter Gibbs, and has a similar closeness with Yori that Gibbs had with her user, Lora Baines. He is also played by Barnard Hughes.
Crom is a timid and pudgy accounting program who was captured by the MCP and forced to play on the Game Grid. He is played by Peter Jurasik.
Crom and Flynn are forced to battle each other in the ring game. Flynn gains the upper hand, but refuses to kill a defenseless Crom, twice defying Sark's command to do so. Sark then derezzes the piece of the playing field that Crom is hanging from, sending the hapless program freefalling to his death.
Tron 2.0, Tron: Killer App, Tron: The Ghost in the Machine
The video game Tron 2.0 was a direct sequel to Tron but is now non-canon with release of Tron: Legacy and its various related titles. The comic book Tron: The Ghost in the Machine further explores the Tron 2.0 characters and storyline.
Jet Bradley is the son of Alan Bradley and Lora Baines Bradley and the protagonist of the game Tron 2.0. Jet is digitized while searching for his missing father. Within the digital world, he is tasked with locating the Tron Legacy Code.
Jet is also the basis for the experimental program that is the central character of Tron: The Ghost in the Machine. This version of Jet is a digital backup of the original User, copied and stored within the system. Due to the complexities involved in making a copy of a human being, the program version of Jet is corrupted and split into three separate aspects. Eventually, all aspects of the program are united and given the choice to ascend from the digital world into the real world.
Mercury is a female humanoid computer program. She is voiced by Rebecca Romijn. She is known within the computer world as a champion lightcycle racer but also shows some combat skills during the course of the game. She returns in Tron: The Ghost in the Machine as one of the leaders the resistance against the red version of the program Jet, who is masquerading as the MCP.
Ma3a is a female computer program. She is voiced by Cindy Morgan. Unlike most other programs in the computer world, Ma3a is shaped like a sphere. When she was originally written by Alan Bradley in March 1988, she was known as Ma1a, followed by Ma2a in the June 1996, and by 2003, Ma3a. Ma3a carries many of Lora Bradley's personality traits and even sounds like her (considering Cindy Morgan also played Lora in TRON). Some Encom employees have come to believe that part of Lora was digitized into Ma3a's code in the midst of the 1994 digitizing accident that resulted in Lora's death. In March 2003, Alan Bradley was given the "Digital Pal" award for Ma3a.
J.D. Thorne was an executive from fCon who was improperly digitized into the computer and became corrupted, spreading like a virus throughout the system. Corrupted programs that follow Thorne as "The Master User" are called Z-Lots (pronounced "zealots"). Thorne is derezzed after a battle with the Kernel. Before he dies, he passes along vital information on fCon to Jet Bradley.
The Kernel is a security program commanding the system's ICPs. He was destroyed by Jet Bradley during a battle with the corrupted user Thorne.
Byte is similar to Bit in visual design and also speaks in a modulated voice. Unlike Bit, Byte is able to speak in full English sentences.
Data Wraiths are digitized elite hacker Users that were employed by fCon to create havoc in computer systems around the world, steal top-secret data and destroying the databases of fCon's competitors. When they derez in the computer world they are kicked out of the computer and return to their original human form, unconscious.
Seth Crown, Eva Popoff, and Esmond Baza
Seth Crown, Eva Popoff, and Esmond Baza are three fCon executives who attempted to transfer themselves into the computer world unaware that the correction algorithms necessary for proper transfer had been disabled. Without the algorithms, the digitization process went awry and the three executives were merged into one horrible monstrosity. After being defeated and pushed out of the digitzing stream by Jet (both for his safety and theirs, as their corrupted state would have killed them in the real world), they are stored in a hard drive so Alan can fix their code.
Tron: Legacy, Betrayal, Uprising and Evolution
Tron: Legacy, its comic book tie-in Tron: Betrayal, the animated television prequel Tron: Uprising and the video game tie-in Tron: Evolution are all direct sequels to Tron. Several characters appear in all four pieces of the franchise while others are specific to one component. All four parts establish a specific time line of the Tron universe.
Sam Flynn is the son of Kevin Flynn who works as a controlling shareholder at ENCOM and the protagonist of Tron: Legacy. After 20 years of his father's absence, Sam is lured onto the Grid, where he reunites with his father and catalyzes the action of the second film, culminating in the destruction of CLU. Deciding to take responsibility of ENCOM, he names Alan the Chairman of the Board and takes Quorra to see her first sunrise.
Anon is the protagonist of Tron: Evolution. He is a security program written by Kevin Flynn to try and maintain order in the grid and to investigate conspiracies. He teamed with Quorra in trying to stop CLU from taking over the grid but was derezzed saving her from falling debris.
Quorra is a skilled warrior and confidante to Kevin Flynn, who saved her from CLU's purge of the ISOs. She is the last remaining member of a group of 'isomorphic algorithms' destroyed by CLU. Anxious to experience the outside world, Quorra accompanies Sam to escape the grid and enter the real world; both her name and her story-arc appear to relate to the Greek myth of Persephone." Quorra, unlike humans, has triple-stranded DNA.
Abraxas is the main antagonist of Tron: Evolution. He is voiced by John Glover. Formerly an ISO named Jalen, he was re-tasked by Clu as a computer virus to justify the purge of the ISOs from the Grid.
Anon is the protagonist of Tron: Evolution. He is a security program written by Kevin Flynn to try and maintain order in the grid and to investigate conspiracies. He teamed with Quorra in trying to stop Clu from taking over the grid but was derezzed saving her from falling debris.
Beck is the protagonist of Tron: Uprising. He is voiced by Elijah Wood.
Beck is a young program that leads a revolution against CLU 2 and his armies from within the digital realm of The Grid. He is trained by Tron and looks to him as a mentor throughout his time as a games warrior. Beck eventually becomes as powerful as Tron and challenges the tyranny of Tesler and his oppressive forces.
Clu 2 (Codified Likeness Utility 2.0) is a program created by Kevin Flynn to oversee the development of the Grid and the main antagonist of Tron: Legacy. He is physically played by John Reardon, with Jeff Bridges lending his likeness and voice to the character.
CLU was created by Flynn to oversee the development of the Grid, so that Flynn could live as CEO of ENCOM and with his son, Sam. Programmed with the command of creating a "perfect system", CLU grew to resent Flynn – particularly, his fondness for the 'imperfect', spontaneously-generated Isos, or isomorphic algorithms. CLU later betrayed Flynn and Tron to seize total control of the Grid, and then enacted genocide upon the Isos, and forced Flynn into hiding for twenty years.
Over this period, CLU kept the Grid under his own control, reprogramming his opponents as soldiers for his own army, led by a reprogrammed Tron under the name 'Rinzler'. He continued to seek Flynn for his "identity disc", whose contents would allow CLU to cross into the real world; and later lured Flynn's son Sam onto the Grid. After first trying to destroy him, CLU uses Sam to draw out Flynn, and obtains his identity disc. He is destroyed after a long series of struggles, at whose end Flynn 'reintegrates' CLU into himself, apparently destroying them both.
The ISOs (short for isomorphic algorithms) are a race of programs that spontaneously arose on the Grid. CLU saw them as an obstacle to his creation of a perfect system whilst Kevin Flynn saw them as the next stage of evolution; wherefore CLU betrayed Flynn and destroyed most of the ISOs. The last remaining ISO is Quorra, saved by Flynn and sent to the real world with Sam.
Castor is the flamboyant owner of the End of Line club located inside the Grid. Although an ally of Flynn's and the ISOs' under his former name 'Zuse', he betrays Sam and Quorra to bargain with CLU; he wishes to control the Grid once CLU leaves for the real world. However, though CLU seems to agree to the bargain, he traps Castor in his club, setting off explosions that kill him and his associate, Gem (played by Beau Garrett).
Rinzler is CLU 2's right-hand man. Considered a master warrior, he uses two identity discs in combat and displays advanced acrobatic talent. The two-disc DVD edition of the original Tron revealed that in the late 1970s, Lisberger Studios had produced an early demo animation showing the character 'Tron' similarly armed with two "exploding discs", (see Tron Origins). Later in the story of Tron: Legacy, it is revealed that Rinzler is a repurposed version of Tron. Though it appears in Legacy that Tron was defeated in the initial strike of CLU's coup, Tron: Uprising reveals that he initially escaped capture, at the cost of severe injury, and served as a mentor to the program Beck in inciting insurrection against CLU's new regime; it has yet to be shown at what point in the time between Uprising and Legacy that Tron was captured and repurposed. As Rinzler, he has several encounters with Sam Flynn throughout Legacy, culminating in an aerial pursuit, during which he remembers his past identity and turns against CLU, who sends Rinzler plummeting into the Sea of Simulation. Rinzler/Tron's ultimate fate is left unknown, but as he sinks into the Sea, his red markings (indicating alliance to/control by CLU) fade to his original blue colors.
Rinzler is named after Lucasfilm Executive Editor, J.W. Rinzler, author of several books including The Making of Star Wars, The Complete Making of Indiana Jones, and Making of The Empire Strikes Back. Director Joseph Kosinski chose the name during a working session with the writers when one of Rinzler's books happened to be on the table.
Rinzler is played by Anis Cheurfa, a well-known martial-arts performer cast for his abilities. His stunts and acrobatic talents can be seen throughout the film. Rinzler is voiced by Bruce Boxleitner.
Jarvis is CLU 2's chief bureaucrat and administrator. While probably efficient in his function, his personality is shown to be sycophantic and cowardly. Jarvis attempts at every turn to impress CLU and win approval. After Jarvis fails to prevent Sam Flynn from taking back Kevin's disc, CLU derezzes him. Jarvis is played by James Frain.
Tesler, also referred to as 'General Tesler', is the main antagonist of Tron: Uprising and is voiced by Lance Henriksen. Tesler is in charge of the forces occupying Argon City; Paige and Pavel report directly to him.
Edward Dillinger Jr.
Edward Dillinger Jr. is the son of Ed Dillinger (one of the main antagonists of the first film). He is the lead programmer on the ENCOM operating system and is seen attending an ENCOM board meeting in the beginning of Legacy. It would seem he inherited his father's habit of betraying others' beliefs to further his own profits as well as those of the company.
- Able is a character in Tron: Uprising and is voiced by Reginald VelJohnson. Able runs Able's Garage, where Zed, Mara and Beck all work, and knows Tron.
- Gem is a character in Tron: Legacy, servant to Castor while ostensibly working for CLU, but is presumably destroyed by CLU alongside Castor. Played by Beau Garrett.
- Mara is a character in Tron: Uprising and is voiced by Mandy Moore. A friend of Beck's at Able's Garage, Mara is attracted to The Renegade.
- Paige is a character in Tron: Uprising and is voiced by Emmanuelle Chriqui. She is one of Tesler's field commanders. While hardened and dedicated, she is less antagonistic than Tesler and takes a personal interest in the new "Tron".
- Pavel is a character in Tron: Uprising and is voiced by Paul Reubens. Sadistic and power-hungry, Pavel seeks to undermine Paige and General Tesler.
- Zed is a character in Tron: Uprising and is voiced by Nate Corddry. Zed is one of Beck's friends at Able's Garage and has a romantic interest in Mara.
- Richard Rickitt, Special effects: the history and technique (Watson-Guptill, 2000), 126.
- Frederick S. Clarke, Cinefantastique, Volume 35, Issues 1-6 (2003): 60.
- Jankel, Annabel; Rocky Morton (1984). Creative Computer Graphics. Cambridge University Press. p. 67. ISBN 0-521-26251-8.
Unfortunately, Bit's extensive role in the film was curtailed to two minutes for scheduling reasons, but it remains one of the most memorable characters in the film - not bad for a pint-sized polyhedron.
- Sobchack, Vivian (1999). Meta-Morphing: Visual Transformation and the Culture of Quick-Change. University of Minnesota Press. p. 91. ISBN 0-8166-3318-5.
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