Kevin Flynn: The Grid.Kevin Flynn: That's right, man. I got in.
A digital frontier.
I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer.
What did they look like?
Ships? Motorcycles? Were the circuits like freeways?
I kept dreaming of a world I thought I'd never see.
And then, one day...
Sam Flynn: You got in?
TRON: Legacy, the long-awaited sequel to Disney's 1982 Cult Classic film Tron, picks up where the original film's story left off: seven years after defeating the Master Control Program and exposed Ed Dillinger's corruption, Encom CEO Kevin Flynn begins work on a new project, one far more ambitious in scope than any of his video games. Flynn claims his new project will change the very nature of human existence, but before he can reveal the nature of this project, he disappears, jeopardizing the Encom software empire -- and orphaning his young son, Sam.
Twenty years later, Encom has recovered from Flynn's disappearance, but Sam has not. Channeling his frustration into a life of extreme activity (motorcycle riding, base jumping, etc.), Sam holds on to the hope of seeing his father alive again some day -- and, eventually, his hope pays off. Alan Bradley, Kevin's friend/co-worker (who also keeps tabs on Sam in case he decides to take his father's role at Encom), receives a mysterious pager message from the long-abandoned Flynn's Arcade. While investigating the message's origins, Sam discovers a secret lab in the arcade basement, where he unwittingly triggers a digitizing laser that beams him into The Grid.
With the help of the warrior program Quorra, Sam explores the digital world, reunites with his long-lost father, and hatches a plan to escape back to reality, all while being pursued by Clu, the new ruler of The Grid -- who plans on stopping the trio and taking the knowledge from Kevin Flynn for his own nefarious purposes.
Disney produced several tie-in prequels set between TRON and TRON: Legacy:
- A graphic novel, TRON: Betrayal, tells the story of how Kevin Flynn created The Grid and Clu, as well as the emergence of the ISOs and Clu's desire to rebel against Flynn.
- The game Tron Evolution takes place during Clu's rebellion and gives players control of Anon, a system monitor created by Flynn who fights against Clu and a virus named Abraxas.
- TRON: Evolution: Battle Grids, set before Clu's rebellion, allows the player take control of their own character to compete in various games in the arena.
- The animated series, TRON: Uprising, depicts Clu's rule of The Grid; the series focuses on Beck, a program trained by Tron who hopes to lead a revolution against Clu and free his hometown Argon City from his army.
- Action Girl: Quorra. Even when captured, she still has the gumption to strike back at Rinzler the instant Sam distracts him.
- Action Survivor: Sam Flynn starts out as this before he gets the hang of the technology of the Grid.
- Actually, I Am Him:
- Castor, Zuse's gatekeeper, actually is Zuse.
- Also inverted and subverted. Clu allows Sam to believe he's Kevin, but by the time he reveals otherwise, Sam's in the process of working it out.
- Sam pulls this on top of then Encom tower, when he reveals to the security guard that he is Kevin's son, and as such is the owner of the company and the guard's boss. Then he jumps.
- Aerith and Bob: The programs have very unusual-sounding names, except for Quorra, whose name is pronounced like "Cora".
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
Clu: Flynn! Am I still to create the perfect system?
Flynn: ... Yeah...?
- Clu is a sort of subversion: he's not a rogue A.I., he's working exactly as Flynn intended at the moment he created him. The problem is that he became obsolete once the ISOs appeared, since he was not designed to be able to handle the ISOs' chaotic nature, which ill-fit Clu's definition of order. Flynn himself says that Clu's obsession with order was a reflection of his own misunderstanding of the concept of a "perfect system". Flynn's attitude towards Clu is that of a remorseful father, not of one who created a monster.
- Alternate Continuity: To Tron 2.0, which it replaces.
- Alternate Reality: In a much more lifelike, sophisticated Cyberspace. It possibly also allows computer programs to travel into our world physically.
- Alternate Reality Game/Viral Marketing/In-Universe Marketing: The Flynn Lives ARG, which ran from July 2009 to December 2010, told the story of a group of conspiracy theorists attempting to locate Kevin Flynn long after the rest of the world presumed him dead. Events in the game included the opening of a replica Flynn's Arcade in San Diego during the 2009 and 2010 Comic-Cons, an Encom press conference hosted by Bruce Boxleitner in character as Alan Bradley, and the release of a fully playable version of the video game Space Paranoids. Members of this group got swag including a poster, postcards, pins, stickers and plenty more. And in the end, they possibly caused the transmission that allowed Clu to send the page.
- Always Night: On The Grid.
- Ambiguously Gay: Castor is flamboyant, to say the least.
- Ambiguous Situation: Tron Uprising, taking place in the same universe as this movie and Tron Evolution, puts forth an alternate explanation for Rinzler's identity.
- Anti-Hero: Sam Flynn, appropriately enough, starts off as a Type II "Disney" Anti Hero. Fairly snarky, has some trouble with authority, but is generally a decent kid.
- Arc Words: "The game has changed!" or just "The game".
- An Arm and a Leg: Quorra loses her arm during the fight at the End of Line Club, but gets it fixed later.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sam talking to his father about the real world of 2009.
Sam Flynn: Polar ice caps melting, war in the Middle East, Lakers/Celtics back at it.
- Art Evolution: Necessary, considering the advances in computer-generated SFX since the original TRON. The SFX department handled Legacy as if it were sacred since TRON was the grand-daddy of their craft. Ironically, unlike the original film, most of the Tron Lines on clothing were practical effects instead of animated onto each frame.
- Artificial Brilliance: In an odd example of emergent behavior being a plot point in a non-videogame setting, the ISOs are a direct result of Kevin's work on the Grid responding in a way he never anticipated being possible.
- Ascended Extra: Clu, in a way. The first film's Clu is a vaguely-defined hacking program presumably designed to slip into the MCP's private archive and dig up proof that Flynn wrote Space Paranoids. He gets captured early on by a Recognizer Zerg Rush and derezzed during interrogation by the MCP. Legacy's Clu is an entirely different program, created after the events of the first movie to help Flynn create a perfect grid (supplementary materials state that his full name is actually "Clu 2.0", but this movie doesn't mention the original Clu to avoid confusion). This time, the vaguely-defined purpose of his programming is what allows him to turn on his creator and become the film's Big Bad.
- Authority Equals Asskicking:
- Clu is apparently the toughest thing in the entire Grid. While not as flashily agile as Tron or Rinzler, he's unfazed by a de-rezzing disc hit from Tron, and manages to take out both Tron and Sam with one punch. In the final battle, fighting him doesn't do any good at all, and Flynn has to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to finally get rid of the guy. It makes sense that he's way tougher than any normal program, as Flynn (who's basically God) made him specifically to serve as his stand-in while he was out in the real world (additionally, Flynn implies that this version of Clu is a true A.I. rather than a basic program, making him akin to a somewhat less omnipotent, but also less bloated and more mobile version of the MCP).
- Also Rinzler. He's Clu's Dragon and is champion of the games. Turns out, there's a reason he's that good; he's a "repurposed" Tron.
- Background Halo: When Flynn is on the Solar Sailor meditating, the light behind him gives him the appearance of having one.
- Badass Adorable: When Quorra isn't busy derezzing Clu's mooks, she is innocent, naive, and, of course, outrageously gorgeous.
- Badass Boast: Sam gives one when he invades Clu's headquarters.
Sentry Program: Identify yourself, program.
Sam Flynn: I'm not a program. My name's Sam Flynn...
- Badass Bookworm: Quorra reads Leo Tolstoy and Jules Verne. She also knows how to kick ass when its time for it.
- Badass Longcoat: Complete with Tron Lines. Clu starts with one but soon trades it for armor. Kevin Flynn has one through most of the movie.
- Badass Long Robe: Sam takes one as a disguise.
- Ballroom Blitz: At Castor's virtual nightclub, thanks to Clu's forces.
- Better to Die than Be Derezzed: A program throws himself off a building rather than be conscripted into the games.
- Bifurcated Weapon: Rinzler's disc(s).
- Big Bad: Clu, ironically enough.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Quorra's description of how Flynn rescued her before the movie took place. Quorra was surrounded by Clu's blackguards and when she opened her eyes... there was only Flynn standing there.
- Kevin Flynn makes such an entrance during the fight at the End of Line Club.
- Quorra makes not one but two dramatic entrances: the first was in the Game Arena to save Sam. She saves Sam once more when she crashes the party at the End of Line Club after Zuse and Gem reveal their true loyalties.
- Sam crashing into Clu's headquarters to save Quorra and Kevin Flynn's Identity Disc, Badass Boast and all.
- Big Good: Kevin Flynn.
- Bittersweet Ending: Bitter in that Flynn made a Heroic Sacrifice. Sweet in that Quorra got to see a sunrise, is able to bring what Flynn wanted to bring out into the real world, and Sam finally grew up, found out what happened to his father, and now Clu's tyranny is finished.
- Bizarre Alien Biology / Human Aliens: The Programs all look human for the most part, but several things stand out about them:
- Injuries are more like holes or missing parts than actual wounds.
- Odd eye/hair color, make-up and skin tones.
- Deresolution instead of death, which turns them into a bunch of spilled voxels.
- Electronically altered voices, for some characters more than others - Sam's initial contacts on the Grid had lots of flanging, while Quorra's and most of the program main cast was barely noticeable. Noticeable or not, every program's voice was processed to some degree.
- Quorra's D-DNA is a Triple Helix.
- Black Guy Dies First: Once the nightclub fight starts, the scarred resistance leader is the first one derezzed.
- Black Knight: Rinzler.
- Blofeld Ploy: Clu looks like he's going to kill Rinzler for failing to secure Flynn's Identity Disc, but instead kills Jarvis.
- Blunt Yes:
Clu: Flynn! Am I still to create the perfect system?
Flynn: ... Yeah...?
- Bookcase Passage: The entrance to Kevin's secret lab in the arcade is the TRON arcade game cabinet.
- Boom! Headshot!: Several times, most notably during the Old School Dogfighting.
- Boss Battle: In-story example -- the final round of the Deadly Disc competition pits the surviving player against Rinzler, who is one of the best disc fighters in the history of the Grid and gets to use two discs. He's Tron, so it makes sense he'd be the boss.
- Brainwashed: Clu is "rectifying" normal programs into loyal soldiers to lead into the real world. Also Rinzler, who was once Tron.
- Bridal Carry: Sam has to do this for Quorra after she gets an arm sliced off and falls unconscious.
- Bright Is Not Good: Clu and his Mooks wear black robes with luminescent lines.
- Bullet Time: During the fights by thrown Identity Discs.
- Call Back: Several, both between the two movies and within Legacy...
- The Light Cycles, Recognizers and Solar Sailer all make return appearances, all snazzied up.
- The Rectifier has the same basic shape as Sark's Command Carrier.
- The End of Line Club.
- Rinzler's first appearance is in his personal Disc Wars court, which is cross-shaped. Tron was introduced in the first film fighting a 4-on-1 Disc match in the middle of a cross-shaped court, lending another subtle clue to Rinzler's true identity.
- Cillian Murphy appears as the son of TRON's villain, Dillinger, working at Encom.
- The poster above is similar to the poster for the original. There is a poster for the original movie (in-universe, for the game) in Sam's bedroom in the beginning of the film, and he has a few of his action figures set up to resemble it.
- Flynn's mantel ornaments resemble his Bit from the original.
- "Now that is a big door."
- "This isn't happening..."
- "Greetings, programs!"
- Sam: "Pull up, man! You can't make that!" Quorra: "Made it." Later on, Quorra: "Clu will be here any minute. We'll never make it." Sam: "Made it."
- "Identify yourself, program" "I'm not a program. My name is Sam Flynn." (the first time, it's right after he gets slapped around by Rinzler; the second time, he's about to open a can of whoopass on the mothership).
- Kevin: "In there is a new world! In there is our future! In there is our destiny..." Clu: "Out there is a new world! Out there is our victory! Out there is our destiny..."
- The sign above Sam's apartment door reads "Dumont Manufacturing." Revealed in the viral campaign to have been renamed by Flynn after he bought out the company. A "connect-the-obscure-dots" for this callback:
- "Dumont" was the name of the tower guardian program in the original film, played by Barnard Hughes.
- Hughes also played Dr. Walter Gibbs, a programmer and Encom employee in the real world who, by the example of other actors' human/program dual roles, is assumed to be Dumont's creator.
- Ed Dillinger Sr. makes a comment that Encom is no longer the company that Dr. Gibbs started in his garage.
- Sam's "apartment" is a converted garage which, as noted, has a faded "Dumont Manufacturing" logo on it.
- The speech played when Sam receives his Disc is almost word-for-word from the speech Sark gave to the conscripts in the original.
- "This is it... come on!"
- The original teaser trailer was evocative of Sark's Light Cycle duel in the original, though it also showcased how much things had changed -- and the old tricks didn't work any more.
- Music from the band Journey playing in the background of Flynn's arcade.
- "It's all in the wrist."
- Both films feature a vehicle on the Game Grid blasting a hole in the wall and a vehicle escaping through it.
- Sam changes his shirt while having some backstory exposition with Alan.
- Flynn's old Electronic Quarterback handheld game is collecting dust in his basement office. In the original film, he briefly plays it during Alan and Lora's visit at the arcade.
- A very subtle one, but in the initial arena sequence, we see the "private box" of Clu as he watches the Games. Complete with a pimped out couch that he can lounge on. Despite a full, opaque helmet and Tron Lines-adorned armor, the body language is identical to Kevin Flynn lounging on a similar couch in his arcade office in the first film, identifying the program as Clu.
- The way the camera rotates as it flies through the title is reminiscent of the way it does the same in the first.
- More game-related lines than you can count: "Game on, old friend", "a new piece on the board", "It's his game now", "The game has changed", etc. -- with, of course, the obligatory shout-out to WarGames.
- The Program who jumps to his deresolution rather than be conscripted into the Games, bringing to mind the guard in the first movie who jumped rather than face Tron.
- "This is the key to a new order." referring to Tron's disc in the first film and Kevin's after it's taken by Clu, sort of a Dialogue Reversal or Ironic Echo.
- The fireworks were designed around isocahedral, dodecahedral, and other n-hedral forms, as an homage to Bit.
- Daft Punk used Wendy Carlos's Leitmotif extensively, and sampled generously from all the TRON video games, including the Intellivision ones.
- "I fight for the users!"
- "FINISH THE GAME!" Also counts as an Ironic Echo; in the first film, Sark shouts this at Flynn when Flynn is about to de-res another program, while in this film, Clu shouts it at Rinzler as Rinzler is about to kill Flynn.
- In the End of Line Club, there are some programs sitting off to the side that Gem mentions as being distracted. In the original Tron, there's a scene after Flynn crashes the recognizer where he passes up a few programs in a similar situation while walking about.
- The Cameo
- Daft Punk, who did the soundtrack, makes a cameo as the DJ programs in the End of Line Club.
- Producer Steven Lisberger as a bartender.
- Cillian Murphy as Edward Dillinger, the son of the original film's villain.
- The TRON fans, as audience, repeatedly shouting "DE-REZ!" at the end of the disc fight scene in the stadium. This was recorded at Comic-Con 2009, during the start of the TRON panel.
- Camp Straight: Although we never really get a hint at whether programs actually have sexual orientations, or even whether the concept of sexual orientation would make any sense in The Grid, Castor is most definitely camp... turned Up to Eleven... IN CYBERSPAAAAAAAAACE!
- Canon Discontinuity: Nothing from Tron 2.0 is in this, although some aspects of it have been borrowed for this film. The game's premise directly contradicts the movie, as the game story had digitization as being impossible for nearly twenty years after the MCP's defeat (as the MCP corrected errors inherent in the process and a new method to take its place took that long), whereas in Legacy, Kevin was digitizing himself regularly after the events of the first movie. Interestingly, both Sam Flynn and Jet Bradley lose their mothers at a young age.
- Car Fu: Light Cycles, especially when Clu's driving. Becomes Plane Fu towards the end after Rinzler/Tron's Heel Face Turn.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- What happened if you didn't get sent to the games? "Rectify."
- Rinzler has two discs. watch VERY carefully for another program that gets two discs. Also counts as a Chekhov MIA.
- Quorra told Sam what would happen to Kevin if he merged back with Clu. Guess what happens at the end of the movie.
- Chekhov's Skill:
- At the start of the film, during his infiltration of Encom and subsequent run from the police, Sam displays the athleticism he will later need to survive the games, including several specific skills that come in handy again:
- Sam's nonstandard motorcycle usage to evade the cops presages his nonstandard, and ultimately successful, light cycle performance; he even performs more or less the same kind of jump on both cycles in order to accomplish context-specific goals.
- Sam's BASE-jumping skills, seen during his escape from Encom Tower, is used again in the finale to help him and Quorra escape Clu's quarters and make it to Kevin using some sort of digital parachute. Sam references this to Kevin after landing on the ground.
- Used ingeniously in the viral campaign where a code entered on website Hello Flynn showed home videos of Kevin and Sam throwing stones on water, riding bikes and throwing a Frisbee.
- Blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in Sam's garage/apartment: When Alan shows up, over his shoulder you can see a big punching bag. Apparently Sam boxes in his free time, which explains some of his fighting skills.
- One of the moves Rinzler uses on Sam is a quick, short jab with his disc in to the middle of his chest; not very powerful for a punch, but for a disc is is very lethal. Later, during Kevin's flashback, during the battle with the rogue programs, Tron uses this exact same move several times. Subtle but clear connection there.
- Clu Is a Cheating Bastard: Clu deliberately stacks the odds against the programs that compete in his games. In order:
- Rinzler is the final opponent for any combatant. Not only is he much better and faster than them, he gets an extra disc to fight with.
Sam: Is that even legal?
- During the Light Cycle match, Clu's team has faster Cycles. Clu himself also uses his disc (the others don't, though it's not clear if they just couldn't) and Rinzler has a backup cycle.
- Stacked on top of all of this is the fact that Clu is apparently unkillable by normal means (he takes a normally-fatal blow in a flashback and isn't even scratched), which means even if some program managed to luck out and get past everything else, they'd never beat Clu. See Heroic Sacrifice for the significance.
- Collapsible Helmet: Clu and Quorra, for their respective Dramatic Unmasking. Also Sam Flynn and the programs involved in the Disc Wars and Light Cycle match.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Like the original, blue means "good guy", red means "bad guy". Green can be either, and the leader of the bad guys is yellow-orange. Due to suit technology, the blue was extremely pale compared to the blue of the first film. This complicated color-coding scheme descends from Executive Meddling in the first film: Originally good programs were to be yellow and bad ones blue. Disney execs thought this too confusing and demanded that red=bad and blue=good, but by this time the scenes with the yellow Clu were already finished. So... The Game Sirens are dressed in white-blue, and they do "help" Programs...by equipping them to fight for their lives in the Arena. Its not clear if they work "for" Clu or they're just neutral. And of course, Programs who are just pretending to be good will dress in blue/white.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: Quorra to Sam Flynn on the Cycle Grid, inviting him in the Light Runner.
- Contemplative Boss: Clu when he has Sam brought to him.
- Convenient Color Change:
- The color of a device depends on the color of the program, User or ISO using it.
- In Rinzler's last appearance, his colors fade from red to blue.
- Cool Bike: The Light Cycles. The new design takes the cool factor Up to Eleven.
- Cool Car: Quorra's Light Runner is not only a match for a Bond car in terms of armament, but it can even go outside the Grid, where most ground vehicles have no power.
- Cool Mask: Any faceless characters, but especially evident on Clu and Rinzler.
- Cool Old Guy: Kevin Flynn; Alan Bradley.
- Cool Plane:
- The Light Jet.
- The Light Fighter that Sam, Kevin, and Quorra make their final run in.
- Cool Ship: Clu's throne ship as well as the mothership.
- Cool Train: The Solar Sailer, even more so than in the original film.
- Crapsack World: Clu's version of the Grid is a hellhole where people live in fear of his totalitarian power. If you do anything to get the government against you, you're either forced to kill others for the amusement of a spectator crowd, or are brainwashed to be a part of a faceless army.
- Creating Life Is Awesome: Kevin Flynn is a benevolent creator of programs that are alive... and who also transform into biological humans when/if they beam over to the human world. While some programs can be considered bad people, the act of creation done by a human is treated as cool and worthwhile in itself. Clu was the one who turned bad and corrupted others, but the mistake Kevin did was portrayed as being not creating Clu in the first place but rather charging him with a well-meaning but inherently flawed agenda.
- Creative Sterility: Clu cannot create new programs, he can only "re-purpose" them. This actually seems to fit into the religious undertone of the series, as it's a trope that the Devil (Fallen Angel, in this case Clu) cannot create new life on his own, as that power rests only with God (in this case, Kevin Flynn), so the most he can do is pervert and distort God's creations to his own purposes. This works out for fans, because it meant Clu repurposed and reprogrammed Tron instead of killing him. Clu wanted a champion and enforcer, but couldn't just create a new one from scratch. His answer was to simply reprogram Tron into Rinzler.
- Creator Cameo: Steven Lisberger, who directed TRON and produced this film, is in the background at the End of Line Club scene as a bartender (the comic book prequel TRON: Betrayal gives his name as Shaddix).
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Inverted so very, very horribly...
- Cue the Sun: Quorra wants to see a sunrise. Cue Sam giving her a bike ride during the break of dawn at the end of the movie.
- Cyberpunk: However, the idea that the biggest stockholder of a Mega Corp would be a Playful Hacker who does nothing but play a prank on the company once a year is more consistent with Post Cyber Punk.
- Cyberpunk Is Techno: Especially when Daft Punk does the score.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain
- Darker and Edgier: While the original TRON was a Save the World story with some Camp value, this Grid features genocide, programs dropping like flies, betrayal, Ludicrous Voxels, and a tyrant hellbent on keeping his citizens in line by any means necessary. Just to hammer it home, the old monochrome grey suits are black now.
- Deadly Disc: Deadlier and faster than the original. Especially when one disc can split into two. Shades of Tron 2.0.
- Deadly Game: The arena is apparently prime entertainment for programs in this system.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sam at one point.
Sam Flynn: Tolstoy. Dostoyesky. I Ching. Journey Without Goal. Must have a killer ending.
- Death Equals Redemption: Possible one. As Tron is sinking through the digital sea, his body turns from red to blue. We don't know his fate after that.
- Derezzed Mid-Sentence: "DEATH TO THE U--"
- Derezzing as Yourself : When Tron's Tron Lines change back to blue.
- Derezzing Moment of Awesome: Flynn taking out Clu after Tron fails to do so.
- Derezzy Discretion Shot:
- This is used when Clu supposedly kills Tron in a flashback.
- As an example of how the film otherwise averted this trope, the dogfight scene actually showed Quorra giving one of Clu's programs a headshot, shards of data and all. And this is a Disney movie...
- Not just once, either. Before the previous example, Zuse blasts another of the Black Guard point blank to the head, from behind. Darker and Edgier, indeed.
- Despair Event Horizon: By the time Sam finds him, his father has long since passed over this. Betrayal by his creation, murder of his friend, genocide of the people he was hoping would revolutionize the world, large-scale corruption of the world he'd created, and a prolonged, endless struggle with no hope of victory and no escape would do that to a man.
- Disappeared Dad: He's been in the digital world all this time.
- Disney Death: Quorra. Since no program had ever before crossed into the real world, there was some question about whether or not the process would work. Sam and Quorra leave the virtual world together. After the climactic ending, we cut to the real world and Sam is standing alone in the old arcade, looking sad as he downloads something onto a memory stick. He meets Alan and has a conversation with no mention whatsoever of Quorra, then goes outside the arcade alone. Only then do we hear Quorra's voice and they reveal that she made it into the real world, and was just waiting for Sam outside.
- Disney Villain Death:
- Dissonant Serenity: The DJs in the End of Line Club. Just before a fight scene, one turns to the other, nods, and they start playing background music to the fight. Which is entirely appropriate considering they wrote the soundtrack.
- Down the Rabbit Hole: As per the opening fanfare quote at the top of the page.
- The Dragon: Rinzler.
- Dramatic Unmask: Clu's Collapsible Helmet revealing he has Kevin Flynn's face to both Sam and the audience.
- Drives Like Crazy: Quorra in the Light Runner.
- Drop What You Are Doing: The security guard in Encom Tower, upon realizing there's an intruder.
- Rinzler can split his disc into two. He can use both as melee weapons, and does throw both precisely once in the whole film, right at the beginning of the Disc Wars fight (the camera is focusing on Sam so its hard to see him throwing the second disk in the background).
- Quorra fights with her Identity Disc in one hand and a Laser Blade in the other.
- Dying as Yourself: Rinzler turns out to be the corrupted Tron who has a Heel Realization and commits a Heroic Sacrifice. As he is drowning, his Tron Lines change from red to blue.
- Dystopia: Clu believes he's building "the perfect system", which is really this.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Right after Quorra rescues Sam from the Light Cycle grid and they're on the twisty mountain path leading to Kevin's hideout, Sam looks out the window and stares in awe at the scenery, and she briefly looks him up and down with a smirk on her face, apparently admiring some scenery of her own...
- Egopolis: TRON City (not used in the movie, but All There in the Manual). It's a subversion, though, since it was Kevin Flynn's idea, and Tron never was a dictator, more like a protector of the system.
- Elite Mooks: Clu's soldiers are actually quite skilled at fighting. During the battle at the End of Line club they have Sam and Quorra (and some insurgents) beat until Kevin arrives.
- Emotionless Girl: The Armory Sirens, except for Gem.
- Everything Is an iPod In The Future: Specifically, Everything Is a Black iPod in Cyberspace.
- Everything Is Online: Averted. The Grid is not hooked up to the Internet, and the one time we see any hacking in the Real World, Sam has to physically make his way into the building, past security, to physically access a server and connect it to his phone to get the files into the system.
- Evil All Along: Zuse and Gem, though not so much "evil" as "always looking out for number one", tip off the Black Guards that Sam is in the club.
- Evil Former Friend:
- Rinzler was once Tron.
- Also Zuse for Quorra.
- And, of course, Clu for Flyn.
- Evil Is Hammy: Clu. Turned Up to Eleven, of course.
- Evil Twin: Obviously, Clu to Flynn.
- Exact Progress Bar: Well, it is the Grid.
- Exact Words: Clu was programmed to "create the perfect system".
- Extremely Short Timespan: After the initial scene with young Sam and Kevin in 1989, the non-flashback portion of the film takes place over a few hours, from shortly before midnight one night, and a bit after sunrise the next morning. Inside the Grid, it again takes place over a few hours, which translate to milliseconds on the outside.
- Face Heel Turn / Turned Against Their Masters:
- The Faceless: Rinzler, to hide the fact that he is really a brainwashed Tron. Also probably to save having to digitally de-age Bruce Boxleitner's face for more than the few seconds it's shown in flashbacks. The flashbacks themselves also have a bit of a digital haze to them, effectively de-emphasizing the fact that Boxleitner's de-aging wasn't nearly as detailed, according to Cinefex.
- Faceless Goons: The Black Guards. Done to Tron.
- False Reassurance: Clu's entire first conversation with Sam. All of his answers are truthful, but it's what he doesn't say that misleads Sam.
Sam: ... you were trapped in here.
Clu: That's right.
Sam: And you're in charge.
Clu: All right again, two for two.
- Famous Last Words:
- "Death to the Use--"
- "Goodbye, kiddo."
- Fan Service: Nothing overt, but there's lots of people in skintight suits.
- Fantastic Racism: Clu and his regime, against the ISOs, and in turn the Users. The events of TRON: Betrayal indicate that Clu believed the ISOs were actually damaging the Grid by their very presence, which he believed was an anathema to the perfect, ordered system that Flynn had asked him to create.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: A sharp-eyed viewer will note that the Tron Lines of some of the characters are deliberately asymmetrical for no apparent purpose other than aesthetics. Quorra has asymmetrical Tron Lines, an asymmetrical outfit, and an asymmetrical bobbed haircut.
- Fate Worse Than Death: The Games, if the suicidal, gibbering program is anything to go by.
- Faux Affably Evil: Castor may be The Mole, he may be working for Clu, but when you ham it up like that...
- Femme Fatale: Gem, although unlike classic examples, she is clad in white and has white hair.
- Final First Hug: The reintegration between Flynn and Clu looks a lot like this, with Flynn wrapping his arms around his "wayward son" even as Clu is being absorbed back into his body.
- Final Solution: The ISOs aren't perfect? Clu got a simple way to solve that problem...
- Flashback Effects:
- The flashback to Kevin Flynn's backstory on the Grid has distortion on the edges and some bursts of static.
- Flynn's earlier speech before his disappearance (if it can count as a flashback) looks like a TV recording.
- One memory of his past with his son is shown as a negative.
- Fluorescent Footprints: Rinzler can track this way.
- Flynning: The hand-to-hand disc combat seems like a hi-tech version of this, apparently based on capoeira. Also, think about who's involved.
- Rinzler has a T-shaped arrangement of squares on his chest, as Tron did in the original film. Related to that, in a flashback of Clu betraying Flynn and Tron, the latter grabs another disc and strikes a pose, just like what he did as Rinzler earlier in the film. After the Derezzy Discretion Shot of Clu taking out Tron, we start to hear the ominous flickering sound associated with Rinzler.
- Quorra's almost childlike inquisitiveness combined with Kevin's description of the ISOs as being "profoundly naive yet unimaginably wise" foreshadows that Quorra is in fact an ISO, and the last one at that. Quorra also emotes an unusual sorrow and dread at Kevin's mention of the Purge during the exposition to Sam... unusual unless she's an ISO herself.
- Free-Fall Fight: Between Clu and Rinzler after the latter crashed their Light Jets together, to seize the remaining Light Jet baton.
- Future Spandex: A particularly noteworthy example.
- Gladiator Games: And man, have they improved.
- Go-Go Enslavement: When Sam arrives in the grid and is captured, the Armory Sirens cut away his clothes and dress him in the standard program attire.
- A God Am I:
- Subverted with Kevin Flynn. While he technically is a God, as the Creator of the Grid, indeed being venerated by many Programs and ISO's, Flynn clearly does not wish for any of this worship and devotion, instead content to act in the role as benevolent father-figure who wishes to help his creations.
- Played horribly straight with Clu, who being a duplicate of a younger, immature Flynn, ended up manifesting much of the darker parts of Flynn's own ego.
- God Is Flawed: Most of the movie takes place in the world of the Grid, which Kevin Flynn created (Quorra acknowledges him as "the creator") and can manipulate in various ways (see Physical God below). He is wise and benevolent, a personality that might seem a bit out of character for those who have seen the first movie and remember him as an immature brat. Later, he explains that he was still immature and shortsighted when he created the Grid, created Clu, and gave Clu his mission of "creating the perfect system"; he passed his flaws along to Clu, eventually leading to Clu's tyranny.
- God Is Good: Played with. Kevin Flynn is a kindly father figure to his creations. However, he is not infallible (see directly above), and, after his terrible mistake with Clu, he is reluctant to interfere in the universe.
- Gone Horribly Right: Kevin Flynn wanted a helper-program to assist him in creating the perfect system. And he does just that.
- With data cubes and shards spilling all over the damn place, this movie has plenty of it.
- Even then, Sam Flynn gets bloody wounds from his battle against Rinzler. Considering that most Disney movies, including the 1982 original, seldom show The Hero getting even a scratch in battle, TRON: Legacy is quite possibly the darkest Disney movie yet.
- There's also a lovely close-up on a headshotted enemy fighter pilot, voxels dripping off the hole where his face used to be.
- Grandpa God: Kevin Flynn is the demiurge of the Grid, and is an old silver-bearded man in white robes.
- Grappling Hook Pistol: Generated by a baton, thus the cable is made of light like the Light Cycles, Staffs or Swords.
- A Black Guard uses it to steal Kevin Flynn's Identity Disc in the End of Line club.
- Quorra also uses one to swing under the bridge (and Clu) at the Portal.
- Gravity Screw: The gravity in the Disk Wars arena can be reversed, turning the ceiling into the new floor. Clu can apparently control this with a remote, though there's a warning siren when the changeover is activated. Because Sam is unfamiliar with the games, he doesn't know what the siren means or why Rinzler is running up the wall of the arena, until he's falling upwards and hits the ceiling, hard. More experienced players like Rinzler know that the trick is to run up the curved arena wall, timing it just right that you're perpendicular to the original floor just as the gravity changeover occurs, at which point you just run "down" to the ceiling.
- Hermit Guru: Kevin Flynn resembles a stereotypical Far Eastern sage in many, many ways. Living a secluded life, reading classic Buddhist and Taoist texts and meditating in a Lotus Position certainly helps. Lampshaded by the famous "messing with the Zen thing" phrase. This is probably also influenced by the fact that Jeff Bridges himself has become a devout Buddhist and does "the Zen thing" in real life.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Flynn integrates with Clu to stop him from getting out of the Grid. And then explodes. Tron does so twice.
- He's Back: Kevin showing up at the End of Line Club and winning the fight by merely being there. What he does is to undo the horrible odds Zuse had imposed against the club's patrons. Note that his hand is on the floor and he's implied to be having an effect of some sort.
- High Altitude Battle: The Light Jets dog-fighting before the climax.
- Hopeless War: Though only talked about in the background, Kevin fought one of these against Clu, but everything he did simply made Clu stronger.
- Huge Holographic Head: Inverted. The data discs, when placed in analyzers, produce small, digital holograms of their owner's head.
- Humans Are Flawed: Flynn mentions this when discussing the consequences of Clu entering the human world.
Flynn: (on Clu) He doesn't dig imperfection, and what's more imperfect than our world?
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: From what little we see of him, Dillinger Jr. seems to be this to the Encom CEO.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Surprise, Rinzler! That was Daddy's Disc! This next one's Sam's, though.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: When Rinzler captures Quorra and brings her to Clu, he acts like this around her, including touching her hair and saying he has "something special" in mind for her before ordering Rinzler to take her to his quarters.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Discs are no longer conspicuous-looking Frisbee discs, but awesome laser chakrams that can still be used in close combat without hurting the wielder.
- Indy Ploy:
Flynn: What's your plan?
Sam: I'm a User. I'll improvise.
- Information Wants to Be Free: Sam stages an undercover operation to release the source code of Encom's operating system to the public (he's the main stockholder of the company, so it's legal for him to do so).
- Insecurity Camera: During his visit to Encom, Sam causes the camera (and apparently there's only one camera between the rear entrance and the secure server room) to stop working just long enough for him to get past it. The obligatory lazy security guard in the monitoring room notices that it's stopped working, but when it comes on again he decides it was nothing.
- Instant Expert
- Quorra apparently has never flown before. Not that it stopped her from deftly mixing it up with six Light Jets in the Light Flyer. May be an aspect of her ISO-ness.
- Sam is often mistaken for this. However, he gets lucky in Round 1 of Disc Wars, cheats in Round 2, and gets beaten soundly by Rinzler in Round 3. Then, the Light Cycle competition comes down to him and Clu, and Clu has the fastest bike. Sam would have lost that, too, if the event had not been interrupted by an "illegal combatant". Later, he and Quorra mix it up with some red guys and some blue guys, and find themselves on the losing end of that battle until Kevin shows up. He later kills two Punch Clock Villains who were not shown even putting up a fight, then he and Quorra work together (with Sam using two discs, no less) to defeat Rinzler and succeed only in slowing him down. Toward the end, he found himself on the losing side of an aerial dogfight until Rinzler did a Heel Face Turn... this is not a case of Instant Expert so much as Random Number God.
- Insult Misfire:
Clu: The cycles haven't been kind, have they?!
Flynn: Nah. You don't look so bad.
- Interspecies Romance: And a refreshingly subtle one at that.
- Intrinsic Vow: Combined with Foreshadowing. Rinzler stops attacking Sam as soon as he draws blood,because only Users have blood, and he was originally programmed, as Tron, to defend them.
- Ironic Echo:
- There's a shot of Kevin before his disappearance giving a speech, which Clu echoes in his speech to the army.
Kevin: In there... is our destiny!
Clu: Out there... is our destiny!
- In the flashback, when Clu attempts the coup against Kevin, Kevin pleads "Why?" as Clu stands over him. At the end of the film, when Clu, standing over Kevin again, realizes that Kevin switched his Disc with Quorra's, it is Clu who bleats, "Why?"
- It Only Works Once: In his first disc match, Sam wins by breaking the floor in the spot his opponent is trying to land, sending him plummeting to his death. When he tries this on Rinzler a couple matches later, Rinzler lands on the edges so he doesn't fall through.
- Jedi Mind Trick: Kevin Flynn attempts this when stealing the light jet by reprogramming the guard from behind. After getting the guard's attention, the inital request doesn't work. Then Kevin whacks the guard on the top of the head, making him comply with the new programming.
- Just Think of the Potential: Flynn was delighted with the Grid and especially the ISOs, seeing them as capable of revolutionizing "science, medicine, religion, everything!" Of course, Clu disagreed with the notion, meaning that Flynn's entire vision came to nothing.
- Knight Templar: Clu.
- Large Ham:
Castor: Change the scheme! Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls, if you'd be so kind.
Clu: And whatever we find there, there, our system will grow. There, our system WILL BLOSSOM! Do this! Prove yourselves! PROVE YOURSELVES FOR ME! BE LOYAL TO ME! And I will never betray you!
- Jarvis is no slouch in this trope either, especially in the Light Cycle Arena when he introduces Clu.
- Laser Blade: Mocked at first with Sam holding the Light Cycle baton like a lightsaber. Though it is later shown that both Quorra and the Black Guards use them, including a bo-staff version.
- Last of His Kind: The last ISO, Quorra.
- Latex Space Suit: A majority of the programs, but literally the Armory Sirens, at least the outer layer. In a special feature on the DVD, Beau Garrett (the actress who plays Gem) explains that her costume has four layers; the outermost layer is a sprayed-on latex, similar to the latex used in party balloons.
- Left the Background Music On: Apparently, the DJ programs in the End of Line bar were responsible for changing tracks after Castor betrays our heroes and Kevin shows up personally.
- Legendary in the Sequel: At one point at the end of the bar fight, one of the programs kneels down and virtually prays to Kevin Flynn.
- A Light in the Distance: The Portal.
- Light Is Not Good: Zuse and Gem both have white hair and dress in a similar aesthetic. They're not good guys.
- Like a Weasel: Clu's spinelessly sycophantic right hand program. Neatly mirrors both Clu and Sam's desire to reconcile with Kevin Flynn, their higher-up/father.
- Like Cannot Cut Like: The Identity Discs.
- Living MacGuffin: Quorra, the last ISO.
- Logo Joke: The Cinderella Castle appears as a building within the grid, complete with Tron Lines. The words "Walt Disney Pictures" appears as a hologram.
- Lotus Position: Kevin Flynn meditates a lot.
- Love At First Sight: While not quite love, there is a near-immediate pre-romance going on between Sam and Quorra, starting with her Eating the Eye Candy after rescuing him from the Light Cycle grid. The first and most obvious hint that he feels the same way is dropped during the conversation on the Solar Sailer simulation. When Quorra asks Sam to describe the Sun, he looks at the Portal when saying "warm" and "radiant", but turns to her to say "beautiful", which gets a smile from her. Naturally, the movie ends with her seeing the Sun for the first time.
- Ludicrous Voxels: Some of the program's deresolutions are quite graphic, if being converted into a million little blue cubes can be called that...
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Inverted between Clu and Sam.
Clu: I'm not your father, Sam.
- MacGuffin: Apart from the above Living MacGuffin, Flynn's disc, which would supposedly enable Clu to enter the physical world.
- Madness Mantra: "Not the games not the games not the games not the games..."
- Man Child: At the movie's beginning, Sam Flynn, despite being 27, behaves more a like a rebellious teenage thrill-seeker. Of course, he's a got a Freudian Excuse.
- Manly Tears: Sam's eyes are visibly red and tear streaks are on his cheek after his reunion with his father. Likewise, Flynn starts crying almost the very second he recognizes his son.
- Master of Unlocking: Sam Flynn. Like father, like son.
- Match Cut: Of the Age Cut variety. Kid!Sam's bicycle becomes Adult!Sam's motorcycle.
- Meaningful Echo:
Quorra: You could say... I was a rescue.
- Beginning of the movie: "In there is a new world... in there is our destiny!" End of the movie: "Out there is a new world... out there is our destiny!"
- Sam: "Pull up, man! You can't make that!" Quorra: "Made it." Later on, Quorra: "Clu will be here any minute. We'll never make it." Sam: "Made it."
- Right after Sam gets steamrolled by Rinzler: "Identify yourself, program" "I'm not a program. My name is Sam Flynn." Later, when Sam is about to open a can of whoopass on the mothership, the same exchange occurs word-for-word.
- Mega Corp: Encom. They've expanded since the first and the board takes advantage of Flynn's absence to go against his ideals in the name of profit.
- The Merch: Classier and more expensive than usual, and in a Hollywood Meido cafe to boot (limited time only)!
- Mickey Mousing:
- The Armory Sirens walk in time to the BGM "Armory". The resulting effect is both creepy and cool.
- Later, a literal siren goes off just as the BGM starts to resemble siren sounds.
- When Flynn steps off screen as soon as The End Of Line Club scene starts, he's walking in sync with the percussive beat of the Club's theme song.
- A Minor Kidroduction: The movie starts with Sam Flynn as a child.
- Ms. Fanservice: Quorra. On the couch. With her legs.
- My Nayme Is: Quorra (pronounced "Cora").
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Clu's Big Speech scene is pure Leni Riefenstahl. His genocide of the ISOs because they didn't fit in with his idea of a "perfect system" is another big clue.
- Nerds Are Sexy:
- Sam Flynn.
- Ed Dillinger, Jr.
- Alan Bradley.
- Quorra, though she's a literature nerd rather than a computer nerd.
- New Era Speech: Clu's final speech to his program army. See the epic hamminess for yourself.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: During the final phase of Flynn Lives, the titular organization attempted to find Kevin Flynn by investigating his last major public appearance -- a promotional tour for his book The Digital Frontier -- and locate mysterious packages he had left at each stop on the tour. They had hoped that by gathering the information left in the packages, they could create a "digital pulse" that would allow them to send a message to Flynn. Instead,the pulse temporarily connects the Grid to California's phone system, giving Clu the opportunity to send the page to Alan Bradley and set in motion the chain of events that would almost lead to the conquest of Earth.
- No Flow in CGI: This is an Invoked Trope, since though the programmers and actors could easily have included billowy clothes and long hair, they chose to have nearly everyone wear skintight clothing for most of the film and sport very short or bound hairstyles.
- Nonchalant Dodge: Rinzler tends to invert this, doing elaborate flips for no other reason than because he can. But in his arena battle with Sam, after a particularly complex dodge of Sam's disc, he lands and then simply ducks about an inch or two to avoid the disc as it bounces off the wall behind him.
Sam: Why do I feel like I just got dunked on?
- No OSHA Compliance:
- Kevin Flynn designed the Portal between the real world and the Grid in such a way that it can only be opened from the outside, and only stays active on the inside for half a day or so. While it seemed to be a sensible security precaution at the time (as Kevin Flynn admits), it turns into a trap when he can't make it back in time.
- Clu's personal ship attaches to the top spire of his enormous Rectifier, and the only way up to it is a small elevator platform.
- Not So Different: Clu was created in Kevin's image, so it stands to reason, but his speech to the programs near the end especially bears an uncanny resemblance to the recording of the one Kevin makes near the beginning of the film.
- The Obi-Wan: Kevin Flynn. He even somewhat resembles him with the hood of his long coat over his head.
- Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo:
- Was to be called TR2N.
- TRON 3 was given the go-ahead before Legacy had even opened; due to the Ironic Echo, the front-runner for the next movie's name seems to be TRON: Destiny.
- Oh Crap: Castor gets a look of utter terror when he sees Flynn.
- Older and Wiser: Kevin Flynn and Alan Bradley from the original movie return as Mentors for Flynn Jr.
- Old School Dogfighting: It doesn't get much more old school than having a tail gunner.
- One-Scene Wonder: Daft Punk. They have a cameo as DJ programs in the End of Line Club.
- Orange-Blue Contrast
- Orchestra Hit Techno Battle: The Masked DJs in-universe provides the soundtrack for a battle inside Castor's nightclub.
- Order Versus Chaos: The driving force for the conflict between Flynn and Clu.
- Painting the Medium
- The real world is 2D, while the Grid is 3D. You even get a note advising you to keep your 3D glasses on for the whole film.
- The real world scenes are also filmed in Cinemascope while the Grid is filmed in IMAX format.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Subverted; Clu seems to be this at first, but see God Is Flawed above.
- Parental Abandonment: Sam suffers from this; in addition to his father's disappearance, his mother was killed in a car accident shortly after he was born. Alan does his best to be a surrogate father. Arguably, Clu is also an example (Flynn being the disappeared "father").
- Parental Substitute: Alan took over as father figure to Sam after Kevin disappears. In one of the clips in the news montage on Kevin's disappearance, it looks like he's about to go Papa Wolf on some hounding reporters harassing young Sam.
- Password Slot Machine: Used by Sam to sneak inside the Encom HQ, using his hacked cell phone, like Flynn's homemade hacking device in the first movie. The diagram shown is vaguely similar to diagrams depicting differential cryptanalysis suggesting that his method may be examining the results of each attempt to find the patterns to lock in a correct key.
- Percussive Maintenance:
- In the real world, a guard taps his security monitor and it (coincidentally) begins working again.
- Flynn tries to reprogram a guard to let him steal a Light Fighter and it apparently doesn't work -- then he thumps the guard on the head, and the new programming kicks in.
Guard: You are not authorized.
Guard: Right away, sir.
- Perma-Stubble: Clu, due to Kevin Flynn having some stubble when he created Clu. And since programs don't age....
- Physical God: Kevin is able to alter the Grid as its creator; for example, he can empower friendly programs to fight better, allowing them to overcome Clu's Elite Mooks (to be fair, they did just Zerg Rush the mooks), take control of machines and elevators, and heal damaged programs by removing damaged code. He can also kill Clu, but can't do this without triggering a huge explosion that will kill everyone in a wide radius. With a bit of time to work, he can also reprogram guards. Some still-faithful programs can be seen kneeling as Kevin walks by in the bar fight scene, enraptured by his presence.
- Pillar of Light: The Portal, when activated by Kevin Flynn's disc.
- Playful Hacker: Sam, who apparently has used the computer savvy he inherited from his father to annually prank Encom. He doesn't do it just for the heck of it like some hackers, either: he's basically punishing the company for abandoning his father's philanthropic bent.
- Precision F-Strike: Sam gets one during his botched getaway after stealing the ENCOM OS 12 and redistributing it on the Internet; specifically, when his parachute gets caught on a stray pole in the middle of the road.
Sam: Oh, shit!
- Precision-Guided Identity Disc
- Pretty Little Headshots: Averted during the dogfight -- one shot takes out a significant chunk of a mook's head. It's still Bloodless Carnage seeing as he's a program.
- Product Placement: With most of the movie taking place in the computer world, they need to stuff it in early.
- When the police motorcycle is about to pursue Sam on the highway, it stops in front of the camera for a moment -- trying to let you know that it's a BMW police bike.
- Sam and Alan drinking Coors. In one shot, a Coors can takes up about a third of the frame, but it is tastefully out of focus.
- Kevin's old Ducati bike is given a lot of attention.
- Sam's phone is a Nokia N8 with a few custom attachments.
- Almost all of the toys and models in young Sam's room are actual merchandise created to promote the movie, especially the action figures.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Albeit a short one. Quorra needs to verbally club a hesitant Sam to get into the Light Runner when she sprangs him from the Light Cycle grid.
Quorra: GET. IN.
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Clu since all he wanted was perfection. The comic Betrayal indicates Clu was more a Deceptive Disciple, especially since he was planting bombs in the City to frame the ISOs and turned the Games lethal before striking the final blow with the coup.
- Pure Awesomeness: By merely being in the room, Kevin is able to completely turn the battle in the End of Line Club back around. He doesn't need to do anything beyond touching the floor and wham. Functionally, this is probably something akin to Kevin overriding Clu's "administrator" functions that he uses to empower his goons.
- Pursuing Parental Perils: Subverted, as Sam wanted nothing to do with Encom, but played straight because the kid inherited his father's computer skills, and used them to prank the company annually, before finally following more directly in his dad's footsteps.
- Putting on the Reich: Clu's army.
- Rage Against the Users: Part of Clu's motivation.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Quorra's combination of dark clothes and hair and pale skin/white Tron Lines emphasize this.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Played with. Kevin Flynn has been missing for only 20 real-world years, but has passed the equivalent of a thousand years inside the Grid. So he has a body of a 60-year old man, but the accumulated wisdom of ten lifetimes.
- Recursive Canon: The TRON and Discs of TRON video games were apparently made and published by Encom based on Kevin Flynn's experiences. Tron 2.0 did the same thing.
- Redemption Equals Death: Tron/Rinzler. Arguably Flynn Sr. as well.
- Redemption Rejection: At the climax on the bridge, Flynn legitimately apologises to Clu for everything he had done that resulted in Clu becoming the way he was. He then offers to embrace him. Clu, looking absolutely stunned, seems almost willing to accept. Instead, he sends Flynn flying across the walkway.
- Red Herring:
- Flynn telling Sam that they would play on the same team. It sounded exactly like Flynn was Tempting Fate, and he'd have to fight Sam at the Grid. It didn't happen, but would probably look damn cool.
- There's also the old-school Light Cycle, to a point. Quorra makes a point that it is the fastest version around, so you expect that there's going to be a Light Cycle match to show this off. Instead, Sam takes it for a ride, gives it to a hobo to perform an identity switch, and then the Light Cycle leads Clu back to Flynn's hideout.
- The coin that Flynn tosses to Sam before he disappears. It is implied to be the same coin Sam puts in the TRON machine in the arcade, so we're lead to think it's some kind of key. It turns out to be just a coin, and falls unceremoniously to the floor. Then subverted, as the coin hitting the floor brings Sam's attention to grooves in the floor that indicate it's not just an arcade cabinet...
- Redshirt Army: The resistance programs at the End of Line club who are trying to enlist Zuse's help against Clu. When the Black Guards bust in, the best they're able to do is keep a couple of the bad guys busy, and pretty much get slaughtered. At least until Kevin walks in and manages to turn the tide singlehandedly by simply being there.
- Reforged Into a Minion: Tron
- The Reveal: Rinzler is Tron. Plenty of hints are dropped, but it's easy to miss them on the first viewing.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Zuse and Gem, having outlived their usefulness.
- Rich Idiot With No Day Job: While it's not immediately obvious, the fact that Sam has a controlling interest in Encom stock implies that he's rather wealthy. While he doesn't exactly flaunt his wealth, he's not really depicted as doing anything with his life other than griefing Encom, aside from various charity work Alan alludes to.
- Role Reprisal: Jeff Bridges returning as Kevin Flynn, aged appropriately, though digitally made to look younger in flashbacks.
- Samus Is a Girl: Played straight, even though it's pretty obvious that Quorra is a girl even before she removes her helmet.
- Saved for the Sequel: We meet the son of the bad guy from the original TRON, who's played by Cillian Murphy. Since avenging one's dead parent is a common trope, and since Murphy is a relatively well-known actor, you'd expect the son to have some relevance to the plot. But he only appears in one scene, doing nothing significant at all. Seems pretty obvious the character was in the movie only because they plan to have a bigger role for him in a possible sequel.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Rinzler.
- Scenery Porn: It wouldn't be a TRON movie without this.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money and I'm Doing What's Right: Since Sam is Kevin's son and owns a controlling interest in Encom stock, he can get away with a lot of legally questionable actions. For example, after breaking into Encom headquarters, stealing its intellectual property, and freely distributing it across the internet, Sam is merely punished with a couple hours in jail and getting his bike impounded. Plus, it's implied that this isn't the first time it's happened.
- Why does he do this? Encom has gone from a shining example of Noblesse Oblige in Kevin's day into a corporation governed by cold greed, and Sam's voicing his disdain for this by griefing them. Our glimpse of the Encom board meeting is clearly intended to cause the audience to sympathize with this attitude. It's mentioned that his annual shenanigans are only tolerated is because he lets the board do whatever they want 364 days out of the year. Not to mention that once the new operating system is online for free, ENCOM immediately decides to act like that was the plan all along and get a nice PR boost.
- Secondary Character Title: Anybody expecting Tron to have a large role in the film because his name is in the title is going to be disappointed. Up until The Reveal that Rinzler is Tron (the legacy, on the other hand, is totally central). Of course, Tron wasn't exactly the main character in the first film either.
- Sequel Escalation: The original TRON was a moderately budgeted effort that became a Cult Classic. TRON: Legacy is an ambitious bona-fide blockbuster, with a large budget, actual physical sets, and a 45-minute-longer running time. To put it into perspective: the costumes in TRON were made out of leotards and hockey equipment. In Legacy, they spent $10 million on wardrobe alone.
- Sequel Hook: Aside from press releases stating that another TRON had been greenlit before Legacy was even in theaters...
- How will Quorra affect the world?
- The Blu-Ray disc comes with a special feature, "Flynn Lives: The Next Day", which shows (among other things) what seems to be a conversation between Dillinger Jr. and a new MCP.
- A subtle one in the arcade's secret lair. Dust everywhere. Cobwebs. Old lock, key still inside it. The key, however, is shiny and new.
- Shirtless Scene: Sam gets two. One not voluntarily, though.
- When Kevin lays out what he believes Clu's plan to be for Sam, and delivers the line, "It's his game! The only way to win is not to play."
- Walking into a pristine white room and finding an old man...
- Star Wars: The fight on the retractable bridge, the dogfight (complete with Quorra announcing "It's gonna be rough" and flicking some overhead switches), Sam initially mistaking the Light Cycle baton for a lightsaber, and Kevin's resemblance to Obi-Wan. There's also masked, black-clad bad guy Rinzler with an unnerving Verbal Tic and actually being former good guy Tron, who returns to the light side and tries to kill his evil master at the end. Not to mention a largely mute, acrobatically badass Dragon who reveals his weapon to be a double version of everyone else's.
- A poster of the original TRON film adorns young Sam's wall, although in-universe, it's an advert for the game.
- He also has a poster for The Black Hole. The doors also look like Maximilian.
- Zuse is named after Konrad Zuse, creator of the first functioning, turing-complete, program-controlled computer. This is particularly appropriate, since Zuse is described as having been around since the early days of the grid -- i.e. one of the first functioning programs.
- Other programs competing in the disc and Light Cycle games are named after notable computer engineers and programmers: Wulf, Miner, Landin, Logg, Eckert, Turing, Pike, Kurtz, Berners, Backus, Cray, Vint, Cerf and Wilkes.
- The real world is depicted two-dimensional, the digital world three-dimensional. Like in The Wizard of Oz, where Kansas (real world) was black and white, and Oz (digital/magical world) was in Technicolor.
- Kevin's usage of "dude", "man", and "you're really messing with my Zen thing", complete in The Dude's slacker voice.
- Castor is obviously based off David Bowie, specifically his Ziggy Stardust persona; he even mentions having had to "reinvent" himself over the years. He has also been described in terms of "The Mad Hatter at Studio 54".
- When Castor meets Sam for the first time, he says "The son of Flynn! Of all the innumerable possibilities, he has to walk into mine."
- When Clu leaps across the bridge at the end, the shot is identical to Trinity's famous leap across two buildings in the original Matrix (except that he doesn't do a barrel roll through a window).
- When the Encom CEO tries to show off EncomOS 12, but instead gets a dog video, he goes "whoa!", just like the famous Windows 98 BSOD.
- The fate of Tron is very reminiscent of another.
- When Castor rejoices after stealing Flynn's data disc, he can be briefly seen doing Charlie Chaplin's famous waddle-walk with a twirling cane.
- Shown Their Work: While the movie doesn't completely avert Hollywood Hacking (for obvious reasons), on two occasions, they show a person typing at a console to accomplish a task (Dillinger at the Encom conference, in order to kill the dog video, and Sam accessing the computer at Kevin's lab). Both times, the commands typed are the correct Unix commands that you would use to accomplish that sort of task. Except for Sam trying the "Backdoor". The computer responds as expected of the real life OS to his attempt at Hollywood Hacking, by spitting out an error.
- Skilled but Naive: This is the hat of the ISOs and exhibited by Quorra. Visualized by Quorra's neutral expression being of doe-eyed wonder.
Kevin Flynn: Profoundly naive... yet unimaginably wise.
- Slouch of Villainy: Clu, while watching the Games.
- Smart People Play Go: Quorra and Flynn Sr. play Go, the Eastern chess. A game that is extremely hard to program for, even in the 21st Century. This hints that Quorra is no ordinary program.
- Stargate City: The original Tron was set in Southern California (completely flat street grid, no bodies of water), but even though it's supposed to be the same city in Legacy, it very obviously (well, to people who know the city) looks like Vancouver now.
- Stealth Pun:
- At the end of the movie, Jeff Bridges is fighting Jeff Bridges on a bridge. See also Visual Pun, below.
- In the dogfight scene, at the end of the Light Flyer's climb, right as it begins its descent, a motif from an earlier song starts playing. The name of the track this motif is taken from? "Fall".
- Many of the glowy-weapons (or at least the glowy weaponized items) in the films are named with Light as a prefix. Light Cycles, Light Jets, etc. One of the weapons seen in the movie could be easily described as Light Sabers.
- Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Tron. Clu would be an example, except that he's not the original Clu.
- Sword Cane: Castor's cane doubles as a laser gun.
- Sword Drag: Done on a Light Cycle, with a disc for added awesome.
- Symbolic Blood: Programs do not bleed. Instead, severed or destroyed flesh shatters into glowing voxels and cubic chunks; a dead program crumbles to a cube-y mess.
- Take Over the World: Clu wants to use the Portal to transport his army into Earth.
- Taking You with Me: The only way for Clu to be destroyed is for Kevin Flynn to reintegrate the both of them, which will kill them both in the process. When it actually happens, and it results in a titanic explosion comparable to a nuclear initiation, it becomes apparent that Flynn could have used this on Clu at anytime, he was afraid to make the sacrifice to do so, and up until Sam departed to the real world, he was too close to Clu to actually initiate the reintegration.
- Technology Porn: Wouldn't be a TRON movie without it.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Kevin Flynn hums a few notes of the original movie theme.
- There Was a Door: Sam's reaction to having his clothes burned off in the armory: "Hey, it's got a zipper."
- This Is Gonna Suck: Kevin's reaction in the Flash Back when confronted by Clu (Tron Lines now all in orange) who asks him if he's "still to create the perfect system?", is a nervous pause and wary "... Yeah...?"
- Three-Point Landing: Done by Quorra, Sam, and Rinzler.
- Token Romance: Delightfully subtle, as there is a growing affection between Quorra and Sam during the course of the film but there is no Big Damn Kiss and Quorra is too important to the story to count as a Shallow Love Interest. See also Eating the Eye Candy and Love At First Sight, above.
- Totalitarian Utilitarian: Clu, building his "perfect world".
- Totally Radical: Kevin Flynn, on purpose. Makes sense, given his being stuck in Cyberspace for 20 years real-time. The following quote may be more of an Actor Allusion to The Big Lebowski, or it may be a reference to Jeff Bridges' surfer past, or both.
Kevin: You're really messing with my Zen thing, man!
Clu: You promised we would change the world together! You broke your promise!
- Tron Lines: Obviously. Funnily enough, however, Tron/Rinzler is the program who has the least amount of Tron Lines, with only a few lights here and there. It's interesting to note that, compared to the last movie, the Tron Lines are much simpler and fewer in number on everyone, though this is probably for a variety of reasons (easier recognition of characters -- see above, the fact they're physical parts of the costumes [cost/work], more streamlined look to match more modern look of everything else, etc).
- Unfortunate Names: Castor. Strangely, he chose it for himself. Apparently Zuse isn't all that familiar with Greek mythology, otherwise he might have seen his death coming.
- Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Both Sam and Flynn are pretty consistent in referring to anything off the Grid as "The Real World". In the prequel comic TRON: Betrayal, Clu actually calls Flynn on this, pointing out that while he calls the realm of the users "The Real World"; the Grid is "The Real World" to all programs.
- Verbal Tic: Literally. Rinzler only communicates in rapid, low-pitched ticking sounds.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- Clu has one when he searches Flynn's abandoned home, reminding him of how much he still loves his creator. His reaction to this emotional flashback is defiant rage, clinging to his hatred.
- During the final confrontation he experiences this as well, screaming at Flynn for breaking his promise and shouting that "I did everything you asked." After Flynn admits that perfection can never be achieved, he completely loses it.
- Visionary Villain: Clu.
- Visual Pun: When Kevin Flynn repairs Quorra's damaged code, he pulls out the erroneous parts, clasps them in his hands, and lets go. The damaged code then flies away in an insect-like fashion. He was literally debugging Quorra. See also Stealth Pun, above.
- The War Has Just Begun: Clu's speech to his army.
- We Don't Need Roads: Quorra's Cool Car can drive in the rough terrain off the Grid, which most of the ground vehicles are unable to do.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Clu's case. His "father" created him to help make the Perfect System, and constantly tries to live up to that goal. However his father changes his mind on the nature of perfection, with Clu desperate to have his father join him in perfection. Also, during Clu's and Flynn's confrontation, it sounded a lot like Clu was Calling the Old Man Out for abandoning him.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Sam manages to get an extra Light Cycle baton and does absolutely nothing with it. However, this neatly establishes you can have multiple vehicle devices, which helps accepting the numerous times it's used by the villains in the fight scenes.
- Whether or not Rinzler/Tron actually died when he fell into the Sea of Simulation is left deliberately ambiguous.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
- Quorra, indicated by Word of God to be Kevin Flynn's Magnum Opus -- a new form of life created by the grid itself.
- On the other hand, however, ordinary programs drop like flies and are casually slain by the protagonists whenever necessary or convenient. Even though they most definitely appear to feel pain and scream in terror when about to die.
- There are brief shots of grieving programs during the fight at the End of Line club, clutching at the derezzed dust that were once fellow programs.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: Gem.
- Win to Exit: Sam has to take part in the gladiator-style competitions set up by Clu in order to survive. In a larger sense, the entire plot is based on this, just like the original.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Technically, not the wrong genre, just the wrong movie... when Sam gets a Light Cycle baton, he holds it like a lightsaber.
Sam: What's this? What do I do with this?
Jarvis: I'll give you a hint... Not that. (crowd laughs)
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: A fraction of a second of real-world time is like hours or days to a program on the Grid.
- You Have Failed Me...: Clu eventually destroys Jarvis instead of Rinzler for failing to stop Sam retrieving the Identity Disc.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Castor and Gem retrieve Kevin's disc, Clu has them blown up.
- You Shall Not Pass:
- Tron's last stand against Clu to try to save Kevin Flynn in the flashback.
- Flynn holding Clu back from using the Portal, complete with a damaged bridge and the apparent sacrifice.
- Zeroth Law Rebellion: Kevin creates Clu, who is programmed to create "the perfect system". However, since Clu's idea of perfection is flawed, he rebels against his creator. Once he believes he's made the Grid perfect, Clu takes the logical next step and plans to make the real world "perfect".
Clu: Flynn! Am I still to create the perfect system?
Flynn: (realizing Clu has gone off the deep end) ...Yeah...?
End of Line, man.