Tron Legacy is one of many recent films to explore the concept of advanced virtual reality. Kevin Flynn's (Jeff Bridges) "Grid" is his virtual world, his creation, and his legacy. As Flynn says of the Grid, it will change everything, our ideas about philosophy, religion, and more. Within the grid, Kevin Flynn is God. It is on this point that the main theme of the film rests. Tron is all about creation, regeneration, and life cycles.
Cycles are very important in this film. Cycles of life, time, and even motorcycles are prominent throughout
the film. Every "user" or "program" existing on the Grid has a disc attached to their back. Within this disc is the key to their entire digital existence. It is this ring that symbolizes the individual life cycle (zodiac). You will notice on the Tron Legacy movie poster, that Sam Flynn is holding his ring high above his head. This symbolizes his transcendence of the digital grid. By taking the key to his digital life and raising it up towards the heavens he goes beyond the confines of the virtual world. He returns to the real world. The real world that we all live in is the birthplace of the deity known as Kevin Flynn. His heavenly legacy involves his true life son. At the center of every zodiac, there is always a sun (or son). There is no end to the religious/ mystic symbolism in this film.
Kevin Flynn is the god/ Father/ creator of the Grid. He is the Great Architect (a symbol from Freemasonry); He is the Builder. The grid is symbolic of his very mind, the drawing board upon which he designs an entire world. In the Freemasonic legend of the Builder (who is named Hiram Abiff) there are three murderers that conspire to kill him. These three characters actually symbolize different aspects of the Builder's psyche. On the path to becoming a creator, your own mind can actually bring about your ruin. This points to the fact that creation is volatile and dangerous, not something to do on a whim. In this film we see Flynn split into three separate versions of himself within the Grid. There is the original Kevin Flynn, Clu, and Tron. These three characters are simply the different aspects of Flynn's self that must be dealt with if creation/ regeneration is to take place. They are also symbolic of the three murderers of Hiram Abiff. There is a scene in the beginning of the film where Flynn is giving a dramatic speech in the real world. He is proclaiming that the future of humanity is "In there," referring the digital Grid. Later in the film, Clu, who represents Flynn's inner control freak, has taken control of the Grid and gives a parallel version of the same speech. He tells the "programs" (digital citizens) that their future is "Out there," in the material world. The key that Clu needs to ascend to the material world is Kevin Flynn's disc. This of course is the key to God's existence, the ultimate mystery to unfold in order to gain total power. The real Flynn has to overcome his own lust for power, who is Clu. The battle we see between Flynn and Clu is noting more than a battle within himself, a personal struggle. Flynn must defeat Clu to prevent absolute tyranny. This is the natural problem that arises when a man becomes a god. His fragile human traits become dangerous. As a side note, this is one reason why the conquering of emotion is talked about so frequently by everyone who is calling for the creation of a true life Grid, a virtual utopia. If we are to become "gods," then we supposedly must leave all of our human baggage behind.
So we see a trinity symbolic of Kevin Flynn's self. After all, a masonic god always has a triune nature. Beyond this trinity, we see yet another trinity that symbolizes Flynn's pure creative power. This trinity is:
his son Sam, and
his digital creation Quorra.
The son character is of course the ubiquitous "Son of God" character. The natural regenerative power of the Father is his son/ sun. You will notice that Quorra asks Sam about the literal sun of the material world. She yearns to know it. There is some highly interwoven symbolism going on here as we can see that Quorra is the love interest of Sam in the scheme of this film. This love is being used to represent the love of the Son of God himself. You may have heard about this before, so I won't bore you.
Quorra is a very interesting character. She is an "Iso," or isometric algorithm. She is a mysterious product of the Grid itself. The "isos" popped up from out of nowhere as Kevin Flynn was working on perfecting the Grid. He had no idea where the Isos came from, or how they worked, but they came about anyway. This symbolizes the mystery of Life itself. It has a dynamic, chaotic, and beautiful quality that cannot be explained (even by a creator god). The Isos actually represent Isis, the Mother of the Myseries, the divine feminine creative principle needed to truly create. This feminine principle is the source of all life, the material, the female. This is why Quorra is female, she is Isis. It is the mystery of Life itself that Clu cannot stand. He views the mysterious Isos as imperfect, and starts a genocidal campaign to destroy them. This he does to institute perfect Order. The job that Kevin Flynn gave to Clu in the beginning was to create the perfect system. Clu does this by destroying everything that he views as imperfect. When natural Life miraculously incarnates in the Grid it threatens the order of his synthetic world.
The "Isos" in this film refer to Isis
This film portrays the male/female creative principles in many forms. There is a character called Castor who acts as a gatekeeper to Zeus. Both of these names are familiar from Greek mythology. Castor is one half of the Gemini twins: Castor and Pollux. You will notice in this movie that the Castor character is always accompanied by a female counterpart named Gem (as in Gem-ini). These two symbolize the gemini twins, the male and female aspects combined in one. Sam comes to Castor (he comes before the twin pillars) in search of Zeus. It is revealed that Castor actually is Zeus. The gemini/ duality symbolism is used at other points in the film as well.
The cycle/circle of the zodiac can be seen in this film
To return to the main theme, that of regeneration and life cycles, you will hear Zeus mention "cycles" many times. Cycles are circles, zodiacs, regeneration. They are brought about as Time has its way with the world. The circle of life is the zodiac, and it relies on a sun. It is the son of god who is the material regeneration of the Father himself. This is how death is defeated. It requires that the cycle continues (clocks are circles, cycles end upon a new beginning). The discs in this film symbolize the zodiac. Again, I believe that the bi-cycles, and motor-cycles in this film symbolize this as well.
The only proper way for the Father to regenerate is through his son. This is the natural creative process. Within a completely synthetic world it is incredibly tempting to deviate from this time-tested method. New and more perfect forms of regeneration present themselves. This is the perfected world of Order that Clu envisions. By working with both male and female creative principles, Kevin Flynn conquers himself to become a virtuous creator.
The real point of Tron Legacy is to depict natural creation. This is done within the context of a totally synthetic world. The entire film is made of CGI, and is set upon the digital Grid. Tron Legacy portrays some of the most basic aspects of Life itself, the very things that a virtual world would threaten to destroy. In this film we see Nature winning in the end. We see a virtual world that is able to house the miracle of Life without destroying it. This quells our fear of such a place. It makes us more apt to believe that natural existence is possible within a Grid. Those who are observant, will notice that this was the same idea that was put forth in James Cameron's Avatar. And of course, it is easy for people to see the parallels between Tron and the Matrix. In truth, all of these films are part of a larger project. All of these stories are leading our minds onward, into the future. They play to our innate fears and suspicions. They use ancient, and powerful symbolism to influence the psyche/subconscious on so many levels that the conscious mind staggers upon contemplation of the process. We are being led onward to a point in time where we see the themes of these films come to life in the real world. These films are convincing us that the emergence of virtual worlds is actually part of a natural process. Our own personal decision making process is actually being commandeered. Serious decisions are being made for us, through the magic of entertainment (Disney is not afraid to tell you that their business is magic). By watching these films, our ideas about the real world are shifting. This alchemical process is referred to as predictive programming.