This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Anon (aka the System Monitor), Quorra, and other characters from TRON: Evolution will appear, and TRON: Uprising will partly be continuation of that story.
TRON: Uprising takes place during and immediately after TRON: Evolution, so there's no reason not to. Sure, Beck's plot is the first and most important one in the show, but bringing in elements from that game would be fun and make for some nice continuity backfiling. And if they can get Mandy Moore and Elijah Wood(!) as voice actors, it's not impossible for them to get Olivia Wilde behind a microphone.
Anon appearing probably wouldn't be likely because of his death at the end of Evolution, but Quorra would make for a stellar cameo since Beck may not be willing to reveal that the real Tron's alive and she may only think he's a very good pretender.
It requires fewer (so far 0) retcons to make this story a sequel instead of a prequel. If this is a prequel, when/how did Tron escape between his shown defeat and capture? If Tron escaped and became active again why wasn't CLU more worried? And if this takes place before TRON: Legacy, why didn't Tron make contact with Kevin Flynn?
Except for CLU's actual appearance in the pilot episode, that is. Hard to show up and be dead at the same time.
Beck is using the name and face of Tron, without actually being him. Maybe the same has happened with Clu.
It also makes the character of Tesler more interesting: is he aware of CLU's defeat, or not? If he is aware, is he in denial, or is he using Clu's name to carve out his own kingdom.
Definitely jossed. Clu is shown to be alive during the show; since Rinzler is nowhere to be seen, the events of TRON: Legacy could not have occurred.
There's any number of ways Clu's regime could convincingly pretend he was still alive. And since Rinzler was Brainwashed!Tron anyway, it could easily take place after he's regained his original personality.
Tron's damage at Clu's hands was progressive
Tron was not immediately indoctrinated by Clu, the process was gradual. This explains how Tron could reveal himself to Beck and ask him to take his identity. As the series goes along, Tron will slowly lose his sense of self until he finally becomes Rinzler.
Alternately, he may not be rectified yet, but will perform a Heroic Sacrifice to save Beck and his friends which results in his capture. Clu then decides to partially rectify Tron so his skills will remain and some part of him will survive to save the Flynns and Quorra in Legacy.
Paige repairs Tron, and sends him to CLU, not teling him who he is, as a ticking time bomb, when she finds what happened to her friends.
"Scars, pt 1" seems to imply that Tron's about to let It's Personal get in the way of his better judgement, and he is seen being experimented on by the two-parter's antagonist...
As mentioned as a Fridge Horror possibility on the main page, Rinzler is Beck, not Tron
Items that might be interpreted to support it:
The most obvious piece of evidence is that Beck has taken on Tron's identity, complete with the T sign on his chest.
Tron will apparently be training Beck how to fight.
Beck also seems to have 2 Identity Discs, his own original and his friend's.
Although we have yet to see either of them actually carry or use 2 discs of their own.
In TRON: Legacy, during the flashback, Tron's fighting style is brutal and direct, dispatching his opponents with a minimum of effort and time. But Rinzler's fighting style is flashy and acrobatic, just like Beck's.
Granted, it has been a loooooong time between the two, and Rinzler's style may have evolved into the acrobatics. Also, the main place we see Rinzler fight is in the games, and he may have been deliberately putting on a show for the audience.
If Uprising is Canon, it would be difficult to reconcile Tron's permanent injuries allowing him to be as effective a fighter as Rinzler is, unless Clu is able to heal him somehow.
Beck survives crashing into a light ribbon, which has been seen to kill other programs. Rinzler, Tron and Clu all are shown to have similar vitality.
When Rinzler breaks free of his conditioning at the end of Legacy, we do not see his face, so it is not visually confirmed to be Tron under the helmet.
Things that may be interpreted against it:
Uprising may turn out to not be Canon or in the same continuity with Legacy.
Rinzler speaks in Tron's voice and says Tron's catchphrase at the end of Legacy.
Although that may be justifiable depending on how well trained/programmed/brainwashed Beck is.
Rinzler/Tron regains control of his own mind after locking eyes with Kevin Flynn, and having a memory of his Heroic Sacrifice that allowed Flynn to escape Clu. Beck has never met Flynn, nor would have any memories of said event, since he wasn't there. Unless of course, Beck "becoming" Tron ends up being far more literal than a mere Passing the Torch.
The show has not made it explicit that Beck's unusual vitality is special, so it may also be a case of the writers making it more common rather than placing Beck at Tron's or Rinzler's level. This would allow more Badass vs Badass fights, rather than the curbstomps we see in Legacy between Clu and Rinzler and Tron and any mook who is unfortunately to share the screen with them.
Although Tron (even wounded) effectively curbstomps Beck, so it could just be that Beck is Badass only compared to other ordinary programs, not powerful admin programs like Clu and Rinzler, or Users like Sam and Kevin.
It's not strong proof, but Tron's fake-out Clu supporter disguise looks a lot like Rinzler, and his voice has a similar modification to Rinzler/Tron in Legacy also..
Remember that subroutine that Beck used for part of episode 7? It not only gives someone extra strength and agility, it changes their personality and makes them more aggressive. If Tron came in to actual contact with it, it could be the cause of making him change to Rinzler. As a matter of fact, the scientist at the beginning of the episode has the same sort of characteristic growls and purrs that Rinzler had once he used the subroutine on himself. Lets also not forget that its' already regenerated itself. So it still exists. Although in order to obtain this MacGuffin, Pavel might actually die in the process. His personality and his ambitiousness really leads this troper to that conclusion. As for the Tron to Rinzler change, I have a feeling that the subroutine will be the cause of that.
That is no way support for Tron over Beck regarding this WMG, as it could just as easily fall into Beck's hands as Tron's. And Beck is seen using it while Tron isn't.
Keep in mind that in "Scars Part 2," Tron's helmet looks identical to Rinzler's, albeit silver; Beck's helmet isn't.
"Tagged" shows that a program can have more than one helmet.
Beck is not actually a Program. He's an Iso that decided to "pass" for a Program
It was said in TRON: Evolution that Programs carry out their functions, and are limited by their parameters, unable to do much growing past said parameters and directives. Beck "falls into" mechanic work. He says he's only a half-decent mechanic, and furthermore says he hasn't been on The Grid for very long. Given that he's making a lot of leaps of logic and faith, actively rebelling, and seems both naive and wise, it's possible that part of his rebellion against Clu stems from the fact that he's marked for death, even if he didn't resist.
His boss knows and is helping him hide.
Most-likely jossed. Iso programming is strange and complex. When Beck's disc is handled the same way an Iso's is during a flashback in the same episode, the complex strings of programming are not there, wheeas in an Iso's disc it would become immidieately apparent.
Paige was a medic program, who is still able to play music (and fight), abet after practice/training. So Programs can do things that they are not programmed, it seems.
The "Tron" Beck encountered is already Rinzler, and Beck is being used as an Unwitting Pawn
The "Tron" training Beck is, pardon the Actor Allusion, as much a falsehood as Talia Winters. Tron already said that he was badly injured and left for dead, with no explanation for how he escaped Clu. Furthermore, Clu didn't so much as pause before telling Tesler that Tron was dead. By having Beck pose as Tron start a resistance movement, Clu will be able to have a young, naive, and inexperienced Program posing as a much more experienced one, rallying his enemies from hiding and making them all the easier to round up and destroy.
An interesting question, but how exactly does a program get 'left for dead' on the Grid? They disintegrate into voxels when they die. If they haven't disintegrated, they're not dead (yet).
Same way Flynn and Ram (and later, Tron) were left for dead in the first film. Enough damage or a "No One Could Survive That" and they'll just assume the enemy is de-rezzed. no point in checking for a body, either.
Fair enough, although if you're holding your victim down on the ground and stab your disc into his chest, and you still can't make sure he's dead, maybe you ought to consider another line of work. ;)
After the two part episode 'Scars' this doesn't seem to be the case. It is revealed that Tron was left for dead in so far as the Recognizer transporting him after his capture crashed and no body was ever found. This explains how he escaped.
To combine both the first WMG and the one just above, Clu didn't sloppily "leave Tron for dead", he basically went and infected Tron with The "Rinzler" Virus, and is sitting back and waiting for it to gradually do it's work. Because how better to bring down an organized rebellion than through it's leader one day waking up as your loyal servant. Plus, the pilot focused a lot on belief in Tron, and much damage will it do to those like Beck who trust in him if he turns around and stabs them in the back?
For more fun, at the end of the series, performs a Grand Theft Me (perhaps with Beck's permission) uploading his personality and skills into Beck's functional body, in order to provide the Grid with a fully-functioning Tron to resist Clu.
Fridge Horror version: Tron already did that, by giving Beck the white half of his disc. The Aesop: Always check the files you download, kids! The Virus might be hiding in it!
For some reason, Tron is depicted in a white uniform in this series, both in current day and flashback scenes, contradicting how he was seen in Legacy in the flashback. The white uniform is apparently passed on by a special Identity Disc piece, which Tron gives to Beck. Is it just a casual Retcon to make Tron more distinctive, or does it have a deeper meaning?
People recognize Beck as Tron even in his black uniform, so apparently he did wear black sometimes.
Which is actually kind of odd, come to think of it. How come no one recognizes Rinzler as Tron, if the uniform is that distinctive?
Most likely explainable as it's just been too long, and they've forgotten what he looked like.
The "T" on Rinzler's uniform is barely noticeable and lacks the circle around it that Tron and Beck have.
It could be a nod to the original TRON movie where the programs have white uniforms; remember, Tron was transferred from ENCOM's original system to Flynn's Grid, as noted in TRON: Legacy. When Tron gave half of his identity disk to Beck, his uniform turned black like his depiction in TRON: Legacy.
And now we have another program in a white outfit, Lux. She even has a white identity disc. And no one seems to find this unusual enough to comment on. Redemption Equals Death applies to her, of course, so we may never learn anything more about her. Maybe she was part of a special Tron security force, whose standard uniform was white, and after Tron's death they tended to go their own way? Which is why discovering that Tron still lived was the key to her suddenly killing her boss and performing a Heroic Sacrifice so that Tron and Beck could escape?
Lux was a Siren, like Jem
I'm going to take this totally imaginary concept and run with it. That's why it's called Wild Mass Guessing, right?
If Lux was one of Tron's old security force, why didn't he recruit her for the revolution rather than seeking out a complete unknown?
It's explicitly stated in the episode that a long time has passed since Clu took down Tron. If he even knew she was there, what has she done since then? Joined up with criminals and the black market.
And she can't physically pass for Tron, if that was his original idea, and not prompted by Beck's impersonation.
Tron turned his back on her during one of Beck's glitches, perhaps indicating that subconsciously she was someone he trusted. (Do programs have a subconscious?)
Tron was able to talk her into cutting his bonds.
Could be he's just a smooth talker,
or is a powerful enough program to discern other program's motivations (he was able to tell when the other program was lying),
or remembered her bio from when she worked for him, and was able to use that to manipulate her.
Lux seeing that the real Tron was still alive was the trigger for a complete reversal and Heel-Face Turn. Until that moment she had been ambivalent, at best.
Most likely Jossed by Scars. Tron's guard is seen, and they are all wearing black, and Dyson claims to have repurposed all of them. As one of Tron's senior officers, he would be likely to know that he's got them all.
Paige is an ISO that has been partially Rectified.
Her bio mentions she lost her "family" when CLU started his rebellion and this is why she is loyal to Tesler for rescuing her. But what if he didn't? Maybe Paige was ISO that fought so well that Tesler decided to take her alive and reprogram her into a Living Weapon. It would explain her loyalty to Tesler despite knowing what an utter bastard he is. It's likely that Tesler is hiding Paige's real nature from CLU because his plans hinge on having a loyal and competent supporter to back him up because he believes the reason CLU fears ISOs is because he fears they could destroy him. If Beck is also an ISO it could lead to some interesting complications down the road.
In "Isolated" she is shown playing music, something multiple ISO programs remark is uncanny.
As with Beck above, this is most likely Jossed, as she or her friends would have noticed her code being more complex in the course of working at their Medical Center, and would not have called in Tesler on the ISO hunt if they were hiding Paige.
It was pointed out on deviantART that the two characters have a bizarre resemblance to one another; not just in appearance, but attitude (much like the way Programs resembled their creators physically and mentally) The way Jet and Alan interact can also be creepily similar to the way Beck and Tron interact; Jet and Beck being reckless idealists, while Tron and Alan are older, cautious, and more embittered.
Jet would have been about seven at the time of the coup, but with two parents who pioneered modern computing, and growing up with computers all of his life, it's not a stretch to think he was starting to learn programming early. Add Kevin Flynn for a godfather, and all the stories about what really goes on in cyberspace for additional measure. If Flynn was grooming Sam to join him in the Grid, he was probably grooming Jet as well. So, Jet codes up his first debugger with some (read: a lot) help from Honorary Uncle Kevin. The little boy's admiration for the hero of his godfather's stories, his virtual "older brother" (they have the same father), rubbed off on the Program.
A heel face turn for Paige?
Maybe this troper feels a little crazy for saying this, but I think this might happen for Paige. She knows Tesler is a bastard and Pavel isn't too much better. There has been quite a few times where Pavel has pulled a Starscream on her. (Almost literally at the end of episode #4.) It would take something to go so horribly wrong for her to consider the switch and it wouldn't be an easy one either. But if you consider how fragile her role is between the power dynamic of Pavel, Tesler, and Paige herself, it might happen.
There's also a piece of information revealed in "Isolated" that would most assuredly send Paige over to La Résistance if she ever saw proof: Tessler and his minions slaughtered her friends and made it look like ISOs did it. If Quorra hadn't knocked her out Paige would've been derezzed like everyone else.
This could easily come about. If Tesler were ever seriously injured, Paige would want to use her medical skills to help him. This would require her gaining access to his identity disk, which holds his memories as well as his programming code. This would give her incontrovertible proof.
Not necessarily. In "Isolated" she asks Beck to hand over his disk, which he grudgingly does. She didn't seem to discern his identity in doing so.
The events of TRON: Uprising is all a ploy by Clu to gain (a) Tron's allegiance
The idea behind this is Clu is actually looking for Tron, and has organized the abrasive General Tesler to enforce his will on Argon City. Clu however, wants to use Tesler to incite rebellion and draw out Tron. Not only that, but to have Tron win, then have Tesler become the fall guy and win over "Tron" (as a program or a symbolic person) as a public ally to increase his support from the masses.
Kevin Flynn put something "extra" into the design of the Grid and its programs, which is why they seem to develop spontaneously. ISOs were the ultimate, unexpected outcome of this X-factor.
Beck "drifted" into mechanic work and became a decent fighter without being programmed for it. Likewise, Paige is a medic who developed talents for music and combat. And the Grid itself spontaneously generated the ISOs, something even Flynn himself was not expecting. It's entirely possible that when designing the Grid, Flynn incorporated some sort of advanced (for the time) fuzzy logic programming or neural networking that allowed his programs to develop in spontaneous and unexpected ways. Even Clu's ability to betray and outwit Flynn might be a result of this. Unfortunately, Flynn overlooked incorporating a recognition of this random factor into Clu's directive for perfection.
There doesn't need to be any kind of "X-factor". This kind of stuff happens on a smaller scale all the time in programming. Hypothetical example: you're programing for a videogame's enemy AI. You put cover all over the place. You give your enemy AI a parameter that makes them stay out of the player characters line of sight. Give them another command to take shots if the player character can't shoot back. Then you program the AI to take cover when nearby it. Bam. A couple seemingly unrelated commands suddenly gives your enemy AI flanking and strafing maneuvers. No hazy programming required.
Ada was the ISO traveling with Quorra in Isolated, and both survived the massacre of the facility. By Legacy, she isn't there. Ada could have possibly derrezed in a way to get Quorra to Flynn, isn't Quorra the last Iso?
As for Cyrus the guard who freed Tron. He might have helped Tron set up his base, as the two were last seen in the mountains, with Cyrus dragging Tron to safety. He might have been derrezzed, to further motivate Tron, or his disc slowly corrupted him and turned him into a slave like the rest of the guards. This leaves some questions as to why the process would take so long.
At that time, the reprogramming process just started to be implemented, so Cyrus isn't susceptible to that.
Based on Able's conversation with Tron, and solicits for The Stranger, Tron had some other apprentices who met unfortunate, unrevealed, ends, Cyrus may have been one (possibly the only one).
All but confirmed in the Stranger, with Cyrus being shown on the previously on, calling himself a friend, and Tron's conversation that friendship blinded him to his friend's true intentions.
Beck will be forced to flee the Grid
After failing to free the Grid from the clutches of Clu, Beck is on the run. Looking for a way to escape he comes across a strange looking vehicle that leads into a tunnel. Seeing no other options he climbs in and the vehicle takes him into a bright light that stuns him. On the other side of the tunnel he hears these words: "Welcome to Game Central Station"
The Upgrade Disc
After the Upgarde disc was bisected, Pavel got hold of half and had it regenerated into a whole. He used it, but then gave it to Tesler. Since it was bisected, and had the ability to regenerate, both halves should have become new discs, and it's possible that Pavel held onto one and gave the other to Tesler because it would be unlikely for him to part with such an addictive object.
Conversely, he may have given Tesler the disc, as a token of Good Faith, and Beck (perhaps he picked up the half he threw out) or one of the Garage staff may have the other regenerated half.
It's all part of a gambit by Sam Flynn
Analyzing the grid after Legacy, he found that ensuring Clu never regenerated was not as easy as he thought. Rather than allow Clu's program to re-gather ala Sauron, Sam created the Uprising scenario to trap Clu at a lower level of power and influence, and set up Tron and Beck to oppose him and maybe break Clu for good. He wanted to use Tron himself, but the scarring and shame from his time of servitude was too great to be expunged, so Sam reset it as a naivete-based betrayal instead.
Rebuilding The Renegade
So after No Limits, Beck's in pretty bad shape. Thus, the revolution needs something to revitalize itself. Namely, whatever Dyson was working on way back when Beck was tangling with Cyrus. If this is used negatively on the population, and Beck goes in to stop it, there's a good chance it's step 1 in getting over his new Hero with Bad Publicity problem. This won't be the only step, but it will be an important wake-up call for the citizens of Argon on how they've picked a Tyrant who's willing to institute almost anything to catch a renegade vs "the anarchist" who at least tries to help save lives. Coincidentally, I figure that Cyrus Isn't dead, and his presence will allow Beck to Clear My Name, showing that Tron Lives, and he's on YOUR side.
Rinzler is both Beck and Tron
Rinzler has two identity discs, Tron's and Beck's. There is some evidence to support either one becoming Rinzler, so why not both? After all, Beck was supposed to be Tron's successor, so why not combine the best of both worlds?
The reason he doesn't take off his helmet is because his face is disfigured from the combination of both programs.
Though that would imply that programs can combined. Nothing much to confirm or refute it.
As a slight modification, there might instead be two Rinzlers, one Beck and one Tron who are interchangeable physically and mentally. The duality here might play into a sequel, if they wanted to bring back Tron and make him face Rinzler and play it for symbolism. Or, to be more general, just if they wanted to bring back Tron and keep Rinzler as a villain for some reason.
A better case could probably be made for Able, who at least had the advantage of an offscreen fate— He could have jumped out of the back of the crane and into the harbor before the electrical shock from the deactivated bombs set the fuel canisters off. And we didn't see any remains of his recovered by Zed and Mara in the following episode— no disk, no code voxels, nothing. Maybe a couple guards fished him out of the water and jailed him— l for one could easily imagine Pavel torturing Able with the knowledge that Pavel was taking over the garage in his absence. Being dropped into a huge engine while holding a bomb, and coming out alive... not so much.