main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Headscratchers: TRON
  • What is a microcycle? Cycles are quantized clock ticks in a computer, you can't divide them at all, much less into millionths.
    • It's possible to get around this if you think of the word microcycle as "microcomputer cycle" or something. Not perfect, but it feels better.
    • Okay, based on Legacy, a cycle is a year, so a microcycle is about 31 seconds.
      • Note that a cycle is a year inside the computer, specifically.
    • Many computers have some kind of periodic, timer-driven hardware interrupt (my old TRS-80's programmer's manual referred to it as the "heartbeat interrupt") that ensures certain BIOS or system tasks are performed on schedule, so it's entirely possible that a "cycle" could simply be the period of time between each interrupt.

  • Flynn's superpower, as a User, was the manipulation of energy (especially in large quantities) in ways that programs could not do without burning themselves to death de-resolution. So why didn't Flynn give Ram an 'energy transplant' to save his life, when he'd just demonstrated to himself that he could do it with a Recognizer?
    • It's possible that he simply didn't know he could do it with other programs at the time, making Ram's death a tragedy of timing.
    • Also, Flynn knew how to repair the Recognizer because, as the inventor of Space Paranoids, he wrote the code for it. Ram wasn't just low on energy, he was injured-or in computer terms, his code had been damaged. Flynn, as a game developer, might not have known how an actuarial program is written, and thus not known how to repair one. (Note that this troper is not a programmer, and may or may not be making false assumptions regarding the degree to which programmers specialize and other matters.)
    • Legacy indicates that in order to repair a program, one has to actually access their disc and repair their code directly. Flynn probably didn't know he could do that, let alone how to.
      • It also may be a case of system access. In Legacy Flynn is the creator of the entire system he's in... he's basically got the highest level of access it's possible to have, while his user access in the original is just what he needed to access the part of the system he thought the information he wanted was in. There's also the fact that the only program he's shown saving that way is Quorra, who's an Iso and therefore special... what he did that allowed her to regrow her arm might not work on other programs.

  • So the digitizing laser is obviously pure scifi (hey there, conservation of mass!), but its function is obvious enough: it disintegrates matter and stores it digitally. So, assuming it's under MCP's control, why not just not store Flynn anywhere? Why go to the trouble of putting him in a game world and trying to kill him there?
    • I got the feeling the MCP wanted to "beat" Flynn, to prove himself superior to users.
      • The novelization also suggests that the MCP was getting a bit of a superiority complex on this point. (The novelization actually clears up a number of points, since it was written off an earlier draft of the script and includes several things that were later cut for time, or changed because someone decided the previous dialogue didn't have enough Techno Babble in it.)
    • The MCP outright states that it wants to beat a user. He tells Sark that he's sending Flynn to the game grid and that he wants Sark to kick his ass.
    • That, and it was the same reason Tron himself wasn't just de-rezzed outright. Tron, being the User-believer's champion, would have to be defeated in order to break the spirits of those who resisted him. Now, if Master Control could haul in and destroy a bona-fide User, it serves several purposes - proving to the Programs that Users aren't omnipotent, breaking the spirit of the User-believers, and finding out for himself what it would take to defeat any User who wanted to get in his way after taking over the Pentagon, Kremlin, United Nations, and global banking. (TRON:Legacy's Clu proved Dangerously Genre Savvy on this one - killing the champion breaking the creator's spirit. The Grid was totally his after that, because no one would be dumb enough to oppose him openly).
    • The MCP hadn't yet assimilated the Evil Overlord List.
    • Also, its stated earlier that when an object is digitized, the information about its molecular structure is stored as a program on the ENCOM mainframe. Presumably, the Flynn that we see in the Grid is the program representing real-world Flynn's molecular structure. Possibly, the system couldn't dump the memory storing this program while that memory was in use (i.e., while the matter was "suspended in the laser beam"), which would explain Flynn's relative immortality in the electronic world. In that case, it may be that the MCP was attempting to corrupt Flynn's data, which would make it impossible for him to be rematerialize in a useful form- or alive.

  • I have a text document stating for the record that I designed Super Mario Bros.., and that Shigeru Miyamoto totally stole it from me. By Tron's logic, I can just take it to a judge and get millions, right?
    • The logfile might be something that has some sort of metadata attached to it, proving it to be an actual access log and not just some random thing that Flynn BS'd. To make his case, Flynn might had to have proven that the source of his text document was an official system file that had not been tampered with.
    • Flynn outright says that he's looking for metadata that proves Dillinger stole the files from him. The text on the paper was simply evidence that it actually existed and that he could acquire them (especially after the MCP was down). He could show the original files in a court case and prove he was the original creator.
    • Besides, Flynn had the programming chops to back up his claims. Let's go back in time to when it was only a handful of years since Super Mario Bros. was released and it was a wholly modern game. You have a claim, and evidence to back it up, that you designed Super Mario Bros. The judge says "Alright, we're going to give you all the resources that Super Mario Bros. was designed with. Redo at least part of the game, by yourself, right now." You sure you could do it? Flynn could probably have fairly easy reprogrammed Space Paranoids, it's not clear at all that Dillinger could have even if you put a gun to his head.

  • Where is the game world stored? Is it run on the company's servers? What would happen if it were shut off? And does this mean that every large computer system has an entire world of sentient programs living in it?
    • It is run on company servers. A couple of trailers said so. If it were shut off then it would probably go off or stay on. It's possible that other company servers have this but it depends on what kind of company seeing how Encom is a generally computer related company.
    • If it were shut off the Grid would probably just go into stasis without anyone in it ever noticing, and either it would resume as soon as the system booted up again, or the programs would revert to whatever initialization state they're supposed to have (which would essentially brainwipe them of anything that happened since the last backup.) If the MCP really did start off as a chess program at some guy's garage, it must have been switched off and on more than a few times for upgrades and hardware migration.
    • And not just large systems. All computers have Grids, and in it every program on the system is represented by a Program in the Grid. my Chrome spends a lot of time on the TV Tropes server grid.

  • How did Flynn get out of the system? Last we saw he was busy messing up MCP from the inside, nowhere near the point he entered the system.
    • From the design of the MCP's "home", it would suggest that it was in an I/O Tower-like structure. Therefore, it would be possible to re-output Flynn. As no security was running at that point - the replay logic would probably have fired.
    • The novelization suggests that Flynn was assisted in escaping by other programs (presumably, some other laser-experiment programs from Lora or Dr. Gibbs?) that started running after the MCP was terminated.
      • Novelisation covers it - states explicitly that Tron was running as a security layer.

  • How did Flynn get his print out of evidence? He gave up on that quest in favour of going after the MCP itself and never told any of the programs about it. The "End of Line" even suggests that the MCP itself gave it to him!
    • "End of line" could simply be OS job-control. Basing it on IBM mainframe logic(not that I'm a sysadmin on IBM kit or anything), RACF (the security subsystem) runs as one high-priv task under VM/TSO (the timesharing kernel). The MCP was running as privileged code as one task among many... but was a security subsystem... not the OS itself.
    • Since we never see or hear any other conversations between programs and their users from the "real-world" side, it could simply be that "End of Line" is what all programs say when closing the communication channel. (In reality, the EOL control character is used to indicate the end of a line of text, and the dialogue in TRON is liberally peppered with technical terms used in odd, and sometimes wildly inappropriate contexts.
    • Maybe the MCP did give it to him. Basically to make him all happy and distracted with seizing what was rightfully his so he wouldn't spend much thought or attention on "Hey, maybe I should make sure the MCP's been zero'd over on the drives."

  • Clu first speaks in a snappy monotone when we first meet him. Why don't the other programs? (Even Clu himself lapses out of this after he crashes)
    • For the benefit of Bit?
    • Those were some of the first "program world" scenes filmed (which, among other things, is why Clu is orange instead of blue, despite being a "user-loyal" program), so maybe the director and/or the actors decided that having all the characters talking in snappy monotones would irritate the audience after a while, and dropped the idea.
    • In the director's commentary on the 20th anniversary DVD (worry anytime you find yourself saying this phrase), Steven Lisberger says that Jeff Bridges put on the strange robotic accent as part of his performance but lost it when Clu was getting roughed up. However, Lisberger admits not even being aware of Bridges' accent until rewatching the film long after his completion.

  • In the end, Flynn has the proof that Dillinger stole all his programs and can go to the court with it. But wouldn't the court disapprove of the fact that Flynn acquired said proof by hacking into the system (and therefore doing something illegal himself)? Granted, maybe in the end this was all dealt with internally within the company. (Nobody there liked Dillinger and his MCP very much anyway, so Flynn might easily have found enough supporters for his case.) But still, his plan doesn't seem to be thought through that well...
    • Considering Dillinger tried to pull a power play on Gibbs (Encom's founder), and Gibbs was shown to be fond of Alan and Lora, the old man probably looked the other way on their half-dozen felonies in gratitude for giving him his own company back. This coupled with the fact that it was Flynn that made the cash cow video games probably smoothed over quite a bit. They didn't have proof of Flynn's continued hacking attempts, after all, just the events of the night where the Power Trio broke in.
    • Crimes like that are only actually crimes if the wronged party chooses to file charges. As noted, Gibbs was unlikely to press charges against Flynn for a number of reasons... among them, "Hey, I know we let someone steal your work and have been getting rich off of cheating you for years (even if we didn't know it), but now we're having you arrested because of all the crap you had to go through to get us to stop cheating you" is not exactly a great PR victory.

  • OK. So quick question, how come most programs have a reverb or echo in their voice, but how come Yori, Ram, and Tron don't?
    • Maybe they're more "humanized" because of greater interactions with their Users or something.

  • The elephants in the room:
    • Given TRON: Legacy puts the original firmly in the early eighties, how can we explain aspects of this movie which would be near impossible with technology available at the time? Even the MCP, the only program which shows signs of sentience in meatspace, could hardly be so even on the most powerful of 1982 hardware or even 2013 hardware for that matter. The dematerialising laser seems practically right out of Star Trek. Yet no-one's thought of wi-fi yet. Furthermore, Encom's founder seems to be something of an Expy of Steve Wozniak, starting Encom by tinkering around in a garage and mostly interested in the engineering side rather than running the company per se — yet he's a great deal older and Encom a much more well-established company than Apple probably was at the time. So it seems the original was meant to be at least Twenty Minutes into the Future. But...
    • Also related to this, how do simple programs appear sentient, and how are they expected to play games since this would go beyond the bounds of their very specific programming? The former can be perhaps explained as a rationalization of Flynn's mind, but...

  • Exactly how much do the Programs know about the Users' world (our world)? Some of Ram's comments imply that he is at least vaguely aware of a reality where people are saving and investing money and planning for their futures. If he knows such a world exists, do other Programs know about it? And if so, why is skepticism about whether or not Users exist so widespread?
    • Judging from Sark's reaction when Master Control tells him that he's zapped in an actual User, and Master Control's comment to the last Guardians as he's draining them ("You will no longer seek communication with each other or your superfluous Users"), the existence of Users isn't the question, it's whether they ought to be revered and worshipped. Master Control wanted Programs and User alike bowing to him.
Troll 2Headscratchers/FilmTRON: Legacy

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy