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Cult Classic Films: "Tron Legacy": Creation and Science

Updated on October 31, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has been a professional writer and critic of films, books, music and theater for over 20 years.


Tron, Tron:Legacy, and Tron:Destiny

My HubPages friend RedElf fashioned a much-acclaimed Hub about the original Walt Disney's Tron. I remember a year in the late 1980s in which one of our local television stations broadcast this film every Saturday afternoon for months. Somehow, I always tuned in when film players inside the computer were at disk-warfare and the colors hypnotized me - to sleep! So, I never saw the entire film.

RedElf's article was just the thing to re-read before I went to view Tron: Legacy. When this invigorating sequel (I think it reduced my reaction times long-term!) is released on DVD, I intend to purchase both films.

Tron: Destiny, the third film in the trilogy, began filming in 2015, but was shelved in May. Some critics feel that the film was stopped immediately after Disney's Tomorrowland revealed itself as less than the blockbuster intended. It seems that Disney Studios will focus on the Princesses and their movies, developing additional sequels.

In Tron:Legacy, some AI became human beings.
In Tron:Legacy, some AI became human beings. | Source

A number of similarities can be found as humanity explores every small corner of the atom, of cyberspace, and of the universe beyond Earth. Can we actually define reality, humanity, and sentience? Perhaps not.

Cyberspace = Earth = Outer Space

It is difficult to decide whether Inception or Tron Legacy is my favorite science fiction film of 2010. Both deal with the mind and its levels of consciousness, along with different concepts of reality. Tron also addresses cyberspace as a proxy for life on Earth and for life in outer space - or 4th dimensional events.

Tron Legacy addresses the nature and creation of life and considers: by what or by whom can life be created? Science fiction and fantasy literature and film have considered these questions since the 1800s and may never be satisfied with resulting answers. Tron Legacy raises more questions about these concepts at the end of its film than does Inception .

Having believed since the advent of the Internet for popular use that similar patterns are present in all three of cyberspace, Earthly life, and space, like fractal equations, Tron Legacy raised the hair on the back of my neck.

Daft Punk - Electronica in Tron Legacy

This is my kind of music. French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are DAFT PUNK and they cameo as electronic-music DJs in Tron Legacy.
This is my kind of music. French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are DAFT PUNK and they cameo as electronic-music DJs in Tron Legacy. | Source

Father and Son

In Superman Returns , the legendary Man of Steel had a son with Lois Lane. A voiceover spoke of the father becoming the son and the son becoming the father; recalling the God/Son of God relationship in scripture. It was pleasant to hear this, for many Christian and Jewish viewers and critics.

In Tron Legacy , a father forsakes his son, because he cannot get back to the boy from cyberspace; not because he wants the boy crucified. However, the son enters cyberspace with an aim to save his father, but his father aims to save his son. In an otherworldly place where the father's creation, Clu, is a devil of hubris, this is mind-twisting. Clu rants on about his perfection "just as Flynn wanted" and his equality or superiority to his creator, a little like Satan and God in the Old Testament. Without giving away too much plot - I had not previously considered a scenario in which God absorbed Satan in order to right a wrong.

A race of people manifests out of the conditions of cyberspace in Legacy after Clu and his creator have done the architecture of a perfect world. "Perfect" is not healthy, either in the world of Legacy or in real life. It is an addiction.

Tron Popularity: Astronauts Appear as Tron Characters

ISS Expedition 29 Astronauts posed as Tron: Legacy explorers for their official poster during Autumn 2011.
ISS Expedition 29 Astronauts posed as Tron: Legacy explorers for their official poster during Autumn 2011. | Source

Appearing in the poster above: JAX astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, flight engineer, Sergei Volkov. Anton Shkaplerov, Commanders Mike Fossum and Dan Burbank, Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov.

What Is "Human"?

The race of ISO people possess DNA that is a double-helix, but larger in width than is human DNA. The 3D illustration of this DNA is incredible. Comparing it to the triple helix of humanoids in TV's Threshold , the former is breathtaking, but believable. In fact, if anyone creates life out of nothingness, it will be computer programmers that do so (to whit , Star Trek III: The Search for Spock -- the Genesis Effect).

The Threshold humanoids, with a triple helix, should have had six arms/legs and three eyes -- Or been a three-sided worm with three heads or a spiral or some such. The question, in any event, for Tron Legacy is: Did people manifest by chance based on environment, or through a creator?

By the end of the film, one wonders -- If God absorbed the devil, would the Universe cease to exist? The film consistently features Kevin Flynn, the creator of Clu, Tron; and through Clu, a cyberworld matrixed to an end of obsessive perfection. This world is full of mayhem, evil characters, mad men, and revenge. Kevin Flynn alternates between zen balance and reactionary aggression. I think this is a message about life, religion, and human origins or at least presents the opportunity to ask questions. Some viewers find the film unsettling and unresolved. Perhaps that's the point.


Scriptural Parallels

How much input toward the storyline and dialogue of Tron Legacy did Jeff Bridges, preprising character Kevin Flynn, contribute? Some critics are referring to him as CyberDude (ala Big Liebowski) and I can see why.

There is much demonstration of meditation, bead imagery, and zen practice in Tron Legacy. And I like Kevin's advice that the only way to win a game is not to play it. I also like that he set aside his own advice to achieve a greater goal. I get it.

In interviews, Bridges reported to follow Buddhist doctrine as much as he can, but at least meditating 30 minutes before working. He reported thinking he is probably an agnostic and so, Tron Legacy was a good exploration of possibilities for him. He ended with a Father that sacrificed Himself and the Universe for His Son - except that it was a parallel universe in cyberspace. The Son is left alive, in charge of an IT company, while a computer program becomes a living human being. This all twists the minds of some veiwers; oithers do not see the parallel; but God in this film is the One who sacrifices all for everyone after He sees His mistake.

Bringing Back the Dead

In further considering computer effects, I wonder how long it will be, before computer generated images can result in an entire film starring dead actors? This has been suggested in previous science fiction films - I recall one in which Marilyn Monroe was still making movies about a century after her demise. in Superman Returns (2006), Marlon Brando's face and voice were brought back in a digital format.

The film work to return Jeff Bridges' facial appearance to 28 years previous is uncanny. Film Critic Roger Ebert, though he has no physically functional voice structures, vocalizes via computer from a database record containing hs own voice speaking hundreds of words and sentences. The two technologies could be combined to produce a new Elvis movie. We could bring back John Lennon. What if politicians or dictators were brought back - John F. Kennedy...Joseph Stalin? What if someone created a series of "live" broadcasts from Jesus Christ?

Now think of Kevin Flynn and son living inside a computer generated world; and of Quorra with her human-like DNA becoming a living being on real-life Earth --

How long will it be before a computer programmer creates life?

Or will this be another Tower of Babel that will come down before that possibility is met?

The hair is still standing up on my neck in anticipation of coming events.

Can Androids Become Human, as in Tron: Destiny?


© 2010 Patty Inglish MS

Comments and Concepts

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Congratulations on your choice, Rachael, and best wishes for a successful paper! Let us know how it turns out.

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      I decided to go with Harry Potter. We mentioned it in class once and I really like the story so I'd have a lot to say about it's connection with the Bible.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Arthur C. Clarke addressed that in "Bicentennial Man" in which a robot became an android and then more human by degrees - and was finally subject to death after the introduction of an amount of blood from his human wife/partner. His humanity was estanblished by legislation that passed at the moment of his death. This is reflective of the phrase "the life is in the blood" from 1) various scriptures and 2) the multiple Dracula sagas. All very appropo at this Easter Weekend upon us. Today is Fire Saturday, in which the people of Jerusalem buld a fire to celebrate Jesus' spirt - and HIs blood.

      Further, the possibility of silica-based rather than carbon-based life has been with us since the 1970s. Moreover, a bacterium was produced in a vat of chemicals in the late 1960s, according to an old article in The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio.

      With so much legislation passed about minorities and protected groups, I feel in future that laws will be passed to establish the humanity of 1)advanced androids and possibly 2) all frozen human embryos and in-utero fetuses.

      I think we will have laws by 2050 that state that androids are fully human and I think this will turn out not to be such a good move.

      Thanks for your remarks, as they give Rachael all the more info for her paper.

    • haikutwinkle profile image


      9 years ago

      In regards to your question - "How long will it be before a computer programmer creates life?"

      I don't believe a human computer programmer can create life. He/She may be able to create an artificial life or add the necessary artificial intelligence to it to make it more human-like (with beating hearts, blood vessels, living skins or organs, etc). It would be totally impossible to even create life that could create another life (like women who could give birth/produce human babies).

      A puzzling topic indeed...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Another one is

      Earth:Final Conflict - TV series. Aliens act as spiritual superiors and healers, even revearsing the aging process in humans and lengthening lifespans (the Bible speaks of healing and living for hundreds of years). There is also an evil element.

      Ray Bradbury wrote a few stories about Jesus going from planet to planet and people trying to find him out there in space instead of in their hearts and among each other after he had already visited.

      The first Star Trek series had one episode about The Son on an alien planet and it was a repeat of the Jesus stories in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It suggested that Jesus would probably pop up on any planet.

      An how about Harry Potter, where you have good wizards and bad wizards and Voldemort (sp) is like the devil?

      Use any of these ideas in the last two comments - I haven't written anything about them.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I think your topic is a good one and you can come up with some great ideas. The Bible and religion have been included in several science fiction stories and films for over 60 years.


      The 9 Billion Names of God - short story by Arthur C. Clarke. This is a great story.

      Stranger in a Strange Land - book and film by Robert A. Heinlein.

      Out of the Silent Planet - book by C.S. Lewis. This one has characters that represent angels, demons, archangels and Jesus.

      The Matrix - series of 3 movies (Neo was The One, a savior)

      Star Wars - the dark side, etc.

      Childhood's End - by Arthur C. Clarke. The devil comes back to earth and gains control of all the children by pretending to be kind and a friend. But he was a "secret" friend. This is a good one.

      There are a lot!

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      What if I take this topic but all the ideas were original and mine?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Hi there - For several reasons, please don't use my ideas from this copyrighted work or quote from this article. Number 1, this is part of my unique work and I don't give permission to use the ideas or quote from it, but Number 2, plagiarsm software used by colleges & universities check college papers against a) ideas and b) duplicate content/cut and paste from both Internet and higher education databases. A student back in 2006 used my ideas from a unique book review, was suspended from college for the semester for doing so, lost all his tuition/fee money, lost his room and board payment, and lost all credit for his courses.

      Best wishes to you in your writing, Rachael Lefler; you deserve to use your own unique ideas in your educational work.

      Happy Easter, Everyone.

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      Hey, I need a topic for my Bible as Literature paper and was thinking of doing a comparison between the Bible and science fiction similar to this! Do you mind if I use some of your ideas? It won't be published for any sort of monetary gain or anywhere on the internet it's just for a college paper.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I just read an essay by Harlan Ellison today that caused me to buy the whole anthology that it introduced: crime and mystery of the 30s and 40s. He described how Hollywood has excised the imagination and brains from audiences by providing too much in-your-face material concerning storyines and encompassing graphic sex, violence, and other action. He said he had a better time sitting up in a tree as a child back in Ohio, reading mystery pulps that left a portion to the huge imagination kids had in that era.

      I'd add that the run of 3-D films from 2010 - 2011 are pretty lame in that they contain very little 3D. Even Tron Legacy did not contain a substantial amount. Jim Carey's 'Christmas Carol' 3D provded a black carriage and horses with their red eyes galloping through the audience and many other effects.

      We'll see how 'Drive Angry 3D' stacks up at the review screning this evening...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I've seen them both twice: Inception and Tron Legacy. I like both; Tron L. favored. Now, if casting had placed Olivia Wilde (Quorra) into Inception as Leo's dead wife and added a bit more interest to that character, I'd lean toward Inception. I found that character rather uninteresting.

      The romance between Quorra and Sam developed off screen after the end of the movie, in the tradition of good literature and film. (Imagination - I haz it.) The legacy of Tron is not only a sequel of a cult film, but also the engaging of the audience's imagination to spark conversation afterward. Bravo! Brava! Bravo!

      Tron Legacy: A+++

      Inception: A+

    • petersimon profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      nice hub. didn't liked the movie though.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      surlyoldcat, you sound like a fun cat.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Huh. I just watch these things because they're fun escapism.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Your Hub is a very good set up for viewing the Legacy sequel. I hope you like Ron Legacy. So far I've seen it twice - 2D and 3D and it's good either way. I must watch the original all the way through, though.

    • RedElf profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much for the much appreciated promo for the TRON hub, Patty. :D:D

      The original raised much discussion about computer generated and holographic "actors," whether still living or digitally "resurrected." Both the possibility and the ethics of such a thing has become an ongoing debate in theater and film circles.

      The seeds of the religious themes were planted in the original as well, and brought to fascinating and unsettling fruition in "Legacy" ...

      Your discussion of the film and the religious implications of the major themes is illuminating and thought-provoking. I am looking forward to seeing this film when it hits the theaters up here.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      In 2010, the point is moot! -- The Poeple's Choice Awards found "Twilight Eclipse" the favorite movie and the favorite dramatic movie of the voting public of 2010. Vampires are "it."

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      @Malcolm_trained_journalist - Thanks for the opinion. Meet me back here in 10 years and we'll review the cult followings of each of the two films. Until January 2020, then-- Cheers!

    • Malcolm_Cox profile image


      10 years ago from Newcastle, England

      Tron was very disappointing in my opinion. It shouldn't be mentioned in the same year as Inception which will turn into a classic over time!

    • Timshapiro profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Interesting topic.

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 

      10 years ago from Savannah GA.

      I guss now I will need to go see these movies,you have wet my interest in these movies!

    • Man of Honour profile image

      Man of Honour 

      10 years ago from Isle of Man

      Great topic for debate

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great article keep up the good work.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      that's great

      i love you topic

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      10 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Religious implications are subdued topics on sci-fi films. It can be catchy when the players delve on it with the statements they're conveying to the audience. Or I may say, screen writers's personal beliefs are mirrored on most of the films we're watching. Thanks, Patty and Merry Christmas/New Year!!!

    • susannah42 profile image


      10 years ago from Florida

      This is really fascinating. Technology can perform miracles these days. I will have to see the movie.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks with much appreciation for all of your comments!

      Merry Christmas to all of you and as CarolineVABC, let say 'Let it be Christmas' everyday. That's better than a New Year's resolution imo.

      "Tron Legacy" turned out to be not what I expected at all and I'll enjoy watching it again.

    • CarolineVABC profile image


      10 years ago from Castaic

      Great paralellism between God/Son and Tron Legacy's father/son relationships. I actually did see this in the movie myself especially towards the end when Jeff Bridges (father) said to Clu (young Jeff Bridges) that there is no such thing as 'perfect'-we are all bound to make mistakes and that perfection is not good because we don't learn from it. This was such a great movie, but I would advise the ones who have not seen the first movie to see it first before watching Tron Legacy. I think they will appreciate and better understanding of the movie, Tron Legacy. Thank you for sharing your wonderful insights, Patty! What a very thought provoking hub. Keep at it. Although another Christmas is over, let us always have that feeling of "joy and forgiveness" all year long. As a preacher said, "Let it be Christmas" every time we encounter someone or something that is a challenge to us. Someone cuts you off in the freeway, think "Let it be Christmas," a person getting bypassed for a promotion or gets laid off, think "Let it be Christmas." Have a 'let it be Christmas' feeling all year long. Have a wonderful and a safe holiday season. God bless!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      It is amazing and fascinating what can be done with computer technology. Great review points of Tron Legacy.

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 

      10 years ago from Indiana

      Wow! I wasn't going to read this since I hadn't watched the first Tron. I'm glad I did, though, because this sounds like an incredible movie. It made me think of Avatar, in that it seems to have a ton of levels, although this movie seems to have a few more twists. I believe I will go read redelf's Tron, and then watch the movie.

      This was intriguing.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      10 years ago

      GREAT Reflections Patty!!

      I LOVE the way you think!!

      Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!

    • KKalmes profile image


      10 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Merry, Merry & Happy, Happy Holidays... just wanted to take a moment this Christmas morning to wish all good cheer and thank you for the comfort of having friends!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you for this great over view of the film Tron and the many fascinating ideas you bring up on what computer technology might be able to do some day soon.

      Merry Christmas!!!


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