Set after the events of Tron 2.0, a comic book miniseries continued the story of Jet Bradley and the complicated impact the Grid had on him.
Entering the fantastic world of Tron would seem like a dream come true. Being able to explore the Grid, live in the neon-soaked worlds of computer hardware and cyberspace, and interact with sentient programs would be the experience of a lifetime. But the hero of Tron 2.0, Jet Bradley's experiences in the Grid were far from wonderful. Weary of all digital technology, Jet struggled to cope with his adventure in saving the Grid. Little did he know, however, that his adventures had only just begun and that his entire world was about to collapse.
Tron was released in 1982, a major motion picture from Disney that introduced viewers to the Grid, a world that exists within all computers. In 2003 Monolith Productions developed Tron 2.0, a video game sequel to Tron that expanded upon the lore of the film. While Steven Lisberger, the creator of Tron, and Joseph Kosinski, the director of 2010’s Tron: Legacy, have both stated that Tron 2.0 is not canon to either film, it still exists within its own alternate continuity.
In 2007 SLG Publishing released Tron: Ghost in the Machine, a six-issue miniseries set shortly after the events of Tron 2.0. The plot of Tron 2.0 focused on Jet Bradley, the son of Alan Bradley, and how he was pulled into the Grid and swept up in an adventure regarding the powerful Tron Legacy code. Tron: Ghost in the Machine begins with Jet coming to terms with his experiences in the Grid until catastrophe strikes, forcing him to make the impossible decision to return. Waking up, Jet is confused and disoriented, his memories fragmented. He sees familiar faces from Tron 2.0 but learns that another war is being raged against the Master Control Program or MCP. Jet knows that shouldn’t be happening, but rather than gaining definitive answers, Jet only becomes more confused when he meets a talking white rabbit.
As Jet is tasked with leading the assault against the MCP, all reality begins to distort. Jet becomes captured and tortured by an evil version of himself, sliding between dream states, unsure of what is real and what is an illusion. But as Jet realizes that he can control his evil twin, he sets his sights on a third iteration of himself. The story climaxes with Jet speaking to the real Jet, the human user controlling the programs. Jet’s experiences in Tron 2.0 left a residual code in the Grid that became sentient. It was fragmented into three parts due to a fatal error it was causing in the system. Jet is given a choice — sacrifice the Grid to become a human or repair the Grid and stay there forever. Jet chooses to repair the Grid, forsaking his chance at entering the human world.
Tron: Ghost in the Machine is a very different take on the Tron mythos. What could have been a by the numbers action story instead was a psychological drama. Choosing to explore the fallout of an adventure rather than capitalize off it was a risky move, but it provided an interesting look into the mind of a hero. What’s also interesting about Tron 2.0 and Ghost in the Machine is how they introduced the concept of the Tron Legacy code, a name that foreshadowed the 2010 sequel. Jet hasn't been seen since his adventure in Ghost in the Machine, but it's nice to imagine that he's still living in the Grid, happy in his idyllic world of cyberspace.
While Tron did receive a true sequel with Tron: Legacy and 2012’s Tron: Uprising, there hasn’t been any continuation of its story since. The Grid is an entire world with an entire world’s worth of storytelling possibilities. There are countless new characters and locations that can be introduced and explored. With the announcement of Tron: Identity fans will have to wait and see what new direction the series will take. But whether it be a movie, show, game, or comic, fans need to know what happened to the Grid after the events of Tron: Legacy.
Devon Lord-Moncrief is a comic feature writer for CBR and also a full-time nerd. An avid fan of comics and video games ever since he could remember, his favorite comics are Jim Starlin's Warlock, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, and Chris Claremont's entire run on X-Men. His favorite games are Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Secret of Mana, and Illusion of Gaia.