Your Quick Guide to Tron: Legacy

Your Quick Guide to Tron: Legacy

Dec 14, 2010

Tron: Legacy is almost here! Excited much? Word is that Disney will be sending out costumed goon squads to hustle anyone between the ages of 5-35 into theaters. You have more to fear than some starving actor dressed as Goofy getting in your face, however. Unless you’ve got the geek cred of a Certified Tron Fan, you’re going to leave Legacy dazed, confused and a bit sad. Guys: It’s like the feeling you get after your significant other takes you to the latest Twilight movie. Ladies: Same thing, but replace Twilight with Transformers.

Chances are, you either haven’t seen Tron or if you have it’s been years--so it’s a good thing you’ve wandered over to this corner of the internet. Read on if you don’t understand why Tronmotorcycles crap colored walls, and you think “derez” means “suck” in Spanish—our guide will only help you decipher one of the year’s biggest releases.


Kevin Flynn: Brilliant video game developer and computer programmer, visionary. Kevin Flynn was originally a programmer at ENCOM. He was fired shortly after a co-worker, Ed Dillinger, stole his designs for several of the company’s future hit video games. Together with friends and former co-workers Alan Bradley and Lora Baines, Flynn breaks into ENCOM intent on uncovering proof of Dillinger’s deception. It is there that Flynn is zapped into a digital universe and embarks on the adventure that unfolds in Tron.

Alan Bradley: Computer programmer, creator of Tron, future CEO of ENCOM. Alan Bradley created the security program Tron, which plays an instrumental role in the events of the original movie. In the time between the two movies, Bradley becomes CEO of ENCOM and then retires after Kevin disappears.

Ed Dillinger: ENCOM programmer, creator of the Master Control Program. Not as brilliant as Flynn or Bradley but talented enough and completely unscrupulous. He’s the human villain of Tron. Though initially framed as a serious threat, it soon becomes clear that Dillinger is little more than a pawn in the self-aware MCP’s master plan.


Tron: Security program created by Alan Bradley. Kevin meets Tron during his first trip to the Computer World, with the pair working together to bring down the malevolent, self-aware Master Control Program.

Clu: Incidental character in Tron, a program designed by Kevin Flynn to work from outside ENCOM to root out the information needed to prove that Flynn’s work was stolen by Dillinger. Clu takes center stage as the villain in Tron: Legacy… though how that comes to be you’ll have to learn from watching the new movie.

Master Control Program: Also known as MCP. Created by Dillinger to oversee the workings of ENCOM’s internal network, though it eventually becomes self-aware. Involved in a plot with Dillinger to steal top-secret information from various corporations and governments around the world. Under MCP’s rule, resident Programs in the Computer World are conscripted into taking part in the Game Grid. Those who excel receive the dubious honor of joining the MCP’s elite guard.


Lightcycle: The Computer World equivalent of a motorcycle, lightcycles on the Game Grid leave behind them a colorful trail of light – a jetwall –that takes on a solid form. In competition, racers must attempt to force their opponents into crashing into a jetwall. Created by Kevin Flynn.

Recognizer: A hovering, arch-shaped vehicle in the Computer World. These are the enemies which must be shot down in Kevin Flynn’s game Space Paranoids and they are seen most frequently in Tron under the control of the MCP’s forces. Created by Kevin Flynn.

Solar Sailer: Seems to be the Computer World equivalent of a train service. A long, thin vehicle with a four-piece retractable sail positioned in front. Solar Sailers travel on a fixed path, following data transmission beams (ie beams of light).

Tank: It’s a tank. Armored. Slow. Big gun that goes boom. The Tron flavor tends to hover, but you shouldn’t have any trouble puzzling this one out when you see it.


Program: In the Computer World of Tron a Program is quite literally a computer program in the form of a person. The fiction has established that Programs often resemble their users (i.e. Bruce Boxleitner plays both Alan Bradley and Tron). The color of the circuits in a Program’s uniform determines its allegiance. Blue, for example, indicates a belief in the Users (they’re the good guys). Red (the bad guys) does not.

User: Us. Human beings. The folks on the outside who create and operate the Programs. Some residents of the Computer World look at the Users as gods. Those under the sway of the Master Control Program deny the Users’ god-like status and actively work against them. Users possess powers that Programs do not in the Computer World, all of which revolve around an ability to manipulate energy.

Digitization: This is how Users travel into the Computer World. A laser beam is used to disintegrate the traveler and then convert the atoms that make up the person’s body into a digital signal.

Disc: Every being within the Computer World receives a disc, which doubles as both a hand/throwing weapon and a data storage device. All of a disc-owner’s experiences are recorded on their disc. It is also a formidable weapon, and a necessary tool for those who wish to participate in Disc Arena competitions.

Derez: Pronounced dee-rehz. People die, Programs derez. Instead of blood, a derez is typically accompanied by a bright burst of pixels.

Game Grid:

Arena-like area of the Computer World devoted to pitting Programs against one another in a series of games. Used by MCP to weed out those Programs unworthy of joining his army. Competitions include lightcycle matches, a modified version of jai alai and the combat-oriented Disc Arena.

Check out our exclusive interview with Tron star Garrett Hedlund.

Weigh in: Will you see Tron: Legacy when it opens?

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