TRON: ADDITIONAL MATERIAL PART 2: The Novel
The TRON Novelization by Brian Daley contains more peripheral information which is not in the film, which may interest a lot of fans. Most often novelizations are written before the movie comes out, and the author doesn't write it while watching the movie. He is given scripts, and other story details from the producers. Many of the details the author is given do not end up in the finished film. What we are left with are additional story details which, if you are a fan, you may find rather interesting.
Alan Bradley pops popcorn in his Encom office cubicle, and he is described as messy; "as he had little time or inclination for housekeeping." The sign in his cubicle "Gort, Klaatu Barada Nikto" is described as being there as it reveals his attitude about Artificial Intelligence. The phrase comes from the movie, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, and is a voice command for the robot named Gort. Alan's User code is 717, but he is unable to type his password (given in the script as "FREEDOM.") when he is locked out of the system.
The novel introduces the type of characters we are to sympathize with, one of the protagonists as "a User-Believer, a BLUE. Unwilling to give up his commitment to those mystical beings whom all the programs of the System had once served." The character, CROM wonders about the RED antogonists, "Their attitude was
beyond comprehension--a refusal to even concede the existence of the Users. How could that be? He kept repeating to himself." CROM couldn't understand "what the point of functioning could be, if not to carry out the instructions of the Users."
CROM MEETS TRON
As in the script, CROM meets TRON inside the 'Training Complex' prison cell. CROM has already heard of TRON, and he can't believe TRON has been caught by the MCP.
"Tron is a legend come to life. When programs throughout the system spoke among themselves of independence, of loyalty to the Users, of defying the MCP, it was TRON's name that was most often invoked. TRON championed the User-Believers; TRON had defied all the MCP's efforts to enslave or convert him."
CROM is shocked to find TRON inside the cell, but TRON's conviction to escape raises CROM's hopes again. "Sark and the MCP didn't control the System...yet."
Bruce Boxleitner has often related TRON to the movie SPARTACUS, and having just recently watched it for the very first time ever, (shocking, I know) I can see the similarities, and while being a lot simpler in its plot and scale than the 3-Hour, "cast of thousands" epic that SPARTACUS truly is, TRON does in fact share the same qualities of the character of Kirk Douglas' Spartacus. There are many scenes which though highly simplified are most certainly inspired by SPARTACUS. The 'slaves' are captured and forced to fight eachother for the amusement of the Romans, and the various characters hope to break free of this tyranny and perhaps take Rome, and free the slaves, but they do not succeed. Spartacus becomes a legendary hero of the slaves, and as described at least in the book, it is the very same idea, TRON is a legendary hero that the enslaved programs look up to. In TRON, however, the character does in fact succeed in freeing the system...
TRON's thoughts are described while in the prison cell: "...and he had thought, often, of the one he missed most, of she who meant everything to him. Not freedom, not [even] survival meant more than seeing Yori once more. At times it seemed his faith had come near failure. What was the point of it, what did it matter? MCP promised to take over the System without any real opposition but Tron's. Why hadn't the Users intervened? But then TRON knew, they had--he was their instrument. But the cause to set things right and restore order and purpose and safety to the System, seemed lost. Instead there would be the dictatorship of the MCP and the savage spectacles of the beast Sark. But as always, another thought surfaced. Why would Sark and the MCP be so determined to stamp out loyalty to the Users if that loyalty didn't threaten them? The Command Program and the MCP were the fanatics, not the User-Believers; their brutal efforts to suppress belief in the Users only served to confirm convictions vital to TRON. As they increased their oppression, so they reinforced his faith."
When the tyrants build lists of 'opponents' who they want snuffed out, you know then it is because they fear them as a threat to their power and tyranny, not as a threat to the 'safety and order' of the system...
CLU ponders the state of the System being dominated by the MCP in the book as well, "For CLU, as for many other programs still at large in the System, there was no question as to whether or not he should respond to his User. What point was there to program tyrannizing program [program vs. program], rejecting the Users? And certainly there hadn't before the MCP been the sort of cruelty and hatred that threatened the System now. If CLU had his way all that would change..."
Flynn also ponders the tyranny of the MCP, "Even here, he thought, the old, old evil: surrender your beliefs or surrender your life."
While at the plasma-pool, drinking the 'pure energy,' Flynn realizes another strategy of tyrants, "Of course, Flynn thought, the Master Control Program would certainly have governance over all the conventional power sources or outlets. Lower the programs' power and you keep them lethargic, dependent, obedient. But here in this ignored area, this trickle still ran unmonitored. Flynn pondered what it must be like for RAM and TRON; no doubt the MCP kept User-Believers on pretty light rations." [All too familar eh, ladies and gentlemen?]
Each character expresses their frustration with the lack of freedom, their persecution and the encroaching tyranny of the MCP, they all want things to change, they all want things to be different, and wonder if the 'gods' will come to help them.
ENCOM AND SARK
Dillinger's computer desk in the novel is called a 'Superdesk.' ENCOM is described as "a commercial entity that swallowed other corporations as a shark might swallow minnow, that grew and increased its profits and holdings as no other corporation ever had."
Sark is described as "Lord of the System," the "Command Program," also known as the "Red Champion." His code
number is ES-1117821. Sark sees the MCP as his "deity" as opposed to seeing the User as a deity. Besides "Strategic Air Command," and the Pentagon, other government agencies are named to be hacked by the MCP: DARPA and the DIA. In 1982, this would have meant, 'the internet.' (The only real internet that existed).
RAM regards FLYNN as 'being glitched' because of the way he talks. Also, interestingly, RAM is said to be whistling "an eerie, lilting tune that FLYNN couldn't recognize as any User music." RAM ponders his conversations with TRON, "Their quiet solemn talks were in sharp contrast to the merciless drill and combat of the Game Grid. RAM had come to draw great encouragement from TRON, from his loyalty to the Users. And there was TRON's straightforward reasoning: why indeed, would Sark and the MCP militate so viciously against User-Believers if their beliefs didn't present some threat? When he'd thought it through, RAM had finally decided that the demonstrations of power, the taking of conscripts, were a keystone to Master Control's authority. If MCP and Sark could get programs to deny the existence of the User in contradictions to what the programs knew to be true, what then might they not order programs to do? The entire System, and the power to reshape it, would lie within their grasp."
INOPERATIVE DATA PUSHERS:
When Tron leaves Flynn and Ram on the other side of the crevasse where he thinks they are killed, he proceeds to get to the I/O Tower, where he is on his way to finding Yori. There in the "Factory Complex" he comes across "Programs of all sorts walked there, many of them strangely shaped because of their functions. There was a warrior type not known to TRON. He had an energy lance cradled in the crook of his left arm; his right arm and part of his helmet had been blown away, leaving long trailing streamers of glowing filaments. A little light exchage monitor, outmoded and enclosed in his glassy bulb, passed by. TRON had to step around a segmented connectoid that crawling along like a huge, blind worm, nearly bumped into him. He recognized Cryptarithmetic Priests by their circuited cassocks. But there was little animation to anyone, and no enthusiasm. Tron saw one program speaking to another, and stopped to listen. The program spoke in monotone as the two gazed at one another lifelessly.... Shaking his head sadly, he walked along the streets that had once been ablaze with productivity and drive... On the way, he stopped by two more programs to eavesdrop once more, unsure of how the recent changes might have affected local circumstances..." The programs speak mindless numerical jibberish. Later he finds Yori speaking the same mindless mathematical jargon. "TRON regarded the muddled programs with pity and frustration." FLYNN also runs into more programs of this type when he crashes his Recognizer, "Programs passed by him without taking notice, so drained and numbed that they didn't even glance his way..." "He saw that they were different from the programs of the Game Grid, only in part for their odd shapes and sizes. He almost forgot his landing, watching them go by like sleepwalkers." FLYNN speaks to the BIT, "This town's full of live ones, " the BIT responds, "Not a chance."
"A USER? IN OUR WORLD" --Yori
When FLYNN reveals to TRON and YORI that he's a User, he also has this to say in very Jeff Bridges/the-Dude-style, "Man, I haven't had a second to think since I got down here. I mean, in here... Out here. Whatever."
Flynn later thinks to himself: "Good goin' Bradley! thought Flynn, and laughed. "Awright! Thank God Alan stayed awake at least!" Again they were at a loss, the casual use of Alan-One's name, the easy familiarity of it scandalized TRON." "Meantime, Yori considered what Flynn had just said, asking herself, thank who?"
When FLYNN and YORI are captured by Sark, FLYNN seems to realize that SARK thinks he is CLU, and enjoys carrying on a bit because SARK believes it.
The MCP resides upon the "CPU Mesa." The MCP tells the captured Tower Guardians that "You are participating in the creation of the most powerful program in the history of the System--of all Systems! ...An entity with a will! ...With ambition! A superior form of life!" What seems to be the MCP's ultimate plan is a little clearer, that it hopes to gain more power and information and 'intelligence' to take on the 'Real World.' It's goals are not simply to control the System, but the whole world of the Users.
Once the MCP is destroyed, and YORI, TRON and DUMONT are reunited, the BIT has the last word, "YES!"
TRON thinks to himself, "How wonderful it must be in his world..." and "Thank you, Flynn," Yori sent a silent message upward. "
After destroying the MCP, FLYNN is returned to the real world, and the computer prints out his 'evidence.' In the book is a picture of the printout, showing that Flynn's middle initial is "O." It is also more complex than the printout in the movie. The next scene as in the movie is the top of the Encom building with Kevin Flynn landing in a helecopter. There is no dialog from Alan and Lora about "look official, here comes the boss." They tell Flynn about Dillinger: "Dillinger wants to talk to you; he says it's all a mistake." Flynn shook his head, "Can't; bad for the corporate image."
Lora says, "Hey... you've got an executive board meeting." He slipped them a wink. "This is the executive board meeting."
This is the last of Alan, Lora and Flynn, and the book ends with "High over the System soared the Solar Sailer, cruising above the glittering beauty of the radiant Domains and the phosphorescent tides of the Game Sea. Tron stood on the bridge with his arm around Yori. The Sailer changed transmission beams and came into another tack as the Bit shot past them, playing and cutting figure eights, zipping along next to the graceful Sailer, over a System ablaze, a free System."
Continued in PART 3: YORI AND LORA IN THE NOVEL