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Programs are electronic beings created by users that inhabit the digital worlds of TRON and TRON: Legacy. They have a unique trait of looking exactly like their user counterpart in the real world; however, despite their human appearance they are completely different beings than users. They live on pure energy and have circuitry all over their armor or robes, which glows in different colors which varies from program to program.
A program's circuitry colors vary depending on a its beliefs or functions or, in very rare cases, emotions. The color of a program can also dictate the circuitry color of a vehicle piloted by that program, although certain vehicles in TRON have other factors determining their color.
Programs are roughly classed by several major colors:
TRON Era, 1982
TRON: Legacy Era, 2010
- Does not believe in users, considers them blasphemy
- Repurposed programs loyal to Clu
Literature, Games, Deleted Scene
Some additional colors, and additional uses of existing colors, have appeared in media outside of the movie canon. Many of these additions can be considered non-canon.
- fCon programs
- In the Deleted Love Scene from TRON, Yori has purple circuitry, possibly denoting that circuitry colors can change due to emotions
- Briefly on Kevin Flynn when transitioning from red to blue in the Solar Sailer scene in TRON, though this is likely an aesthetic change rather than a factional one.
The anatomy of programs is very different from that of humans. Skin tones in TRON can be completely monochromatic (including eyes and teeth) with the exception of circuitry. Their hair is usually concealed by their helmets; however, in later years more programs appear without helmets. Programs sometimes have a less human appearance, such as having skin, hair or eye color and design that no human has, such as having different color or design in sclera, pupil or iris. The skin will sometimes have naturally occurring symbols and markings on it, a feature most common to the ISOs. Some programs have an electronic, garbled or otherwise distorted voice. This is either due to having a voice altering mask or naturally. There are even programs that growl and snarl, either due to a voice altering mask or naturally.
Sexuality in programs has also been confirmed; however, it is unknown if they can reproduce with each other or with digitized users. It is also not known what infant/child programs look like.
Programs will be shown to have reasoning, personality, mannerism, attitude and even emotions like humans. Some programs are less emotional and more robotic in behavior and understanding. CLU 2 demonstrated a range of emotion, but had difficulty understanding human concepts. His emotional connection to his purpose and protocols made him hostile towards others and in human standards, almost sociopathic.
Protocols, directive, data, energy, clearance, purpose and functions within a program determine their abilities. Being assigned a job is critical for programs as not having a purpose or function in the system results in them being derezzed. Physical abilities of programs are also different, as programs designed for combat, security and enforcement are shown to be more skilled in fighting, as well as being more resilient than other programs.
In TRON: Legacy, a program's apparel has been radically modified, with the helmet modified from a small selection of standard designs into a wide range of different styles that can appear or disappear as needed. The armor has been changed to black with illuminated joints to help distinguish one program from another, though several white-clothed programs have been seen.
The flesh and tissues of a program appear as human or at least humanoid, though only if intact, as damaging a program reveals their internal anatomy being made of nothing but digital data and bits. If damaged a program can develop a scar like mark a wound like shape. These scars are an empty space on a program where their data and bits where until they were damaged. Programs with circuitry are shown to have light coming from them, which will flicker and fade if the program is wounded or dying, as well as being repurposed, such as Tron being turned to Rinzler and having yellow and orange circuits instead of white and blue. These lights flickered back to blue and white when he fell into the Sea of Simulation. Programs can only derez by having their functions, purpose, energy or data removed or by being damaged, as unlike humans, programs are ageless.