The popular Tron (1982) arcade game (a tie-in to the original film) makes an appearance. However, the console shown is credited to the in-universe software company Encom, rather than the real creators Bally-Midway.
Olivia Wilde is the only actor in the film playing a program who doesn't wear contact lenses for their role due to the natural intensity of her eyes. This is not including CLU or TRON who are created in the images of their users.
When standing over the board game with black and white stones, Quorra mentions to Sam Flynn that she rarely beats Kevin Flynn at it. The board game is, in fact, "Go", a game that is notoriously difficult for computer programs to play well. Unlike chess, where computers are able to beat the world's best human players, the best Go computer programs only manage to reach an intermediate amateur level. Which explains why Quorra, being a computer program, would rarely be able to beat Kevin Flynn.
To play the computer program CLU, Jeff Bridges' face was "de-aged" with the same technology used on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) to "age" Brad Pitt. Thus, in his role as Flynn, Bridges appears to be his actual age of 61, but as CLU (a program written back in the 1980s) he looks like he's in his 30s - programs don't age.
The suits worn by the actors proved to be problematic on set. Every single one of them was fitted with a small lithium battery that powered the circuitry for the embedded light strips, but each battery only lasted 12 minutes. In order to maximize the output, the light strips had to be switched on right before each take and turned off immediately afterwards. The circuitries inside the suits were also very fragile, so the actors could not simply sit between takes but had to recline against upright boards.
Michael Sheen is a very big fan of the original Tron and when he was offered the role of Zuse, he wanted to immediately accept the role. Sheen's agents didn't want Disney to find out that he wanted to be in the film badly, because then Disney could get away with paying Sheen an incredibly low sum of cash for his acting.
Early drafts of the script did not feature the role of Alan Bradley. It was only after public outcry by Bruce Boxleitner and fans of the original film that Bradley was added to the script. Boxleitner's performance proved so popular, he went on to make public appearances as Alan Bradley to promote the film, and returned to play the role of Tron in TRON: Uprising (2012).
When Kevin, Sam and Quorra board the Light Jet on the flight deck, and Quorra is making the jet lift off to escape, Kevin says to her "You got this, Quorra. It's all in the wrists.". In the original TRON (1982), after Kevin has beaten the video game Space Paranoids record at the arcade, he gets asked by an unseen man "Hey Flynn, how'd you do it?". He answers "It's all in the wrists.".
When Flynn's workstation is first shown, the system uptime (or screen saver runtime) is 20 years, 11 months, 20 days, 16 hours, 22 minutes, 16 seconds (and two other digits that update 15 times per second).
The building featured as Flynn's Arcade in TRON (1982) was in reality the historic Hull Building in Culver City, California. As of 2009, when this sequel was made, the location looked very different from its appearance in the original film. So, the movie makers opted to painstakingly recreate the original interior and a portion of the exterior in Vancouver instead, with the rest of the location filled in with CGI. The exterior even includes the "Space Paranoids" billboard on the roof, but with the addition of the "TRON" logo - in-universe, TRON is an arcade game that Flynn created after the events of the first movie.
All the actors' costumes used groundbreaking illuminating fabric in their costumes to create the circuit line effects in the computer world. The costume department had intended to use rechargeable batteries to power the suits, but found the design unfeasible when the rechargeable batteries would drain after only a few seconds of powering the suit. With no other option, the costumers had to resort to a more conventional method: using hundreds of AA-sized batteries. Each costume had to be rewired to fit the battery size, and the batteries would only hold a charge for a few minutes at a time before a noticeable loss in luminosity would occur from the suits. Thus, the batteries for each costume had to be refreshed for every take. When illuminated, the EL fabric would produce a massive amount of heat and would cause electric shock if it made contact with the actors' skin. Most of the actors sustained electric shocks and burns from the illuminating fabric used in their costumes over the course of the production, in particular Olivia Wilde whose costume left a large amount of her bare skin exposed.
After years in "development hell", the first indication that Disney was serious about creating a sequel was the showing of a "VFX Concept Test" teaser at Comic-Con 2008. The teaser showed the updated light-cycles, and revealed Jeff Bridges as Flynn and CLU. The title revealed was "TR2N", but by the time the teaser was released (officially) online several months later, the title had been changed to "TRON: Legacy".
In order to retro-age Jeff Bridges to a 35-year-old, the actor had to wear a special helmet fitted with 4 strategically placed cameras enabling every textural nuance of his facial expressions to be recorded for precision synthesis during digital processing.
Kevin Flynn sets down a metallic polyhedron on the fireplace mantle. Later, when CLU comes in his house, he picks up this same metallic polyhedron. This is a direct homage to TRON (1982) since this is a Bit which assisted both the original CLU and Flynn.
When Garrett Hedlund is breaking into ENCOM, he forges himself access and when the door opens, he says "Now that is a big door.". In the original TRON (1982), Jeff Bridges forges access into ENCOM with the same comment when the door opens.
When the Sirens have finished dressing Sam, an off-screen female voice announces: "You will receive an identity disk. Everything you do or learn will be imprinted on this disk. If you lose your disk or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate de-resolution.". These are the same words that in the original TRON (1982) Sark addresses to Kevin's conscript gang before their games training begins.
According to Beau Garrett, the makeup time required for each actress playing the Sirens is between 3 to 5 hours, while removing them takes only 90 minutes. The only major difference between the suits for Sirens than the suits for other programs is that a layer of balloon rubber is added on top of the existing suits.
A notable absence in this sequel are the tanks, but you can still see a sort of cameo by one of them on the street below after Sam is first captured and a second time in the background when he returns to the city in the vintage light cycle.
The "Grid" as Sam Flynn wipes off the terminal in Kevin Flynn's basement shows in the command line: $whoami Flynn uname -a SolarOS 4.0.1 Generic~50203-02 sun4m i386 Unknown.Unknown $login -n root This Easter-egg states that the Grid ran on the predecessor of Solaris OS known as Sun4m which ran on the SPARC architecture, same as the SPARCstation 5 during that time period. This was the system used as the base for Flynn/Encom OS (the operating system the Grid claimed to be ran on). Sun4m was also a proprietary operating system owned by Oracle Corporation.
The original TRON (1982) character of Yori does not appear in the sequel. According to online media Sci Fi Wire: "Fans have been lobbying for actor Cindy Morgan to be in the movie". There are active campaigns online, such as "Yori Lives" on Facebook, which is independent of Cindy Morgan herself. She did, however, make an appearance in character as Lora at the WonderCon viral event. It was revealed that Lora had married Alan Bradley.
The building housing Sam Flynn's apartment has the word "Dumont" written in faded letters over the doorway. A program called Dumont appeared in the original TRON (1982) film and resembled Dr. Walter Gibbs, who founded ENCOM in his garage.
The name of the GEM character is a reference to the GEM graphical environment that ran on Atari ST machines. It was also available on the original IBM PC but never became popular with PCs, its use and development only continued on Atari machines.
As seen in the theatrical trailer, Sam's childhood bedroom features an original 1980s Macintosh computer, toys from the original TRON (1982), and a poster for The Black Hole (1979) (another film from the same era as TRON, and a similar Disney foray into science fiction with cutting-edge [at the time] special effects, including computer animation [see trivia for The Black Hole]). Director Joseph Kosinski's next project is a remake of The Black Hole for Disney. The film also ties into the history of the "TRON" films because originally, for the first film, Disney wanted proof that Steven Lisberger could not only direct, but proof that the back-lighting effects to have the live action characters glow worked. Disney lent Lisberger and his company props and costumes from "The Black Hole" (which had recently wrapped) to use for their test film.
Although the 2008 "TR2N" teaser trailer showed that Disney was seriously considering a sequel, the movie had not been "greenlit" at that time. According to director Joseph Kosinski and producer Sean Bailey, the teaser served two purposes: to show Disney executives what a TRON sequel might look like (before committing to a feature budget), and to gauge fan interest. If the teaser had failed to generate sufficient fan "buzz", the movie wouldn't have been made. It has also been confirmed that, as the teaser was only a "concept" film, virtually none of the teaser footage will appear in the final film.
The song "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" by Journey coming on in the arcade, when Sam turned on the breakers, is ironic in more ways than one. While the song fits in some ways the relationship with his father, it is interesting to note that many of the 45rpm singles made in the early 1980s for jukeboxes of that song, featured the song "Only Solutions" (from the original Tron movie's arcade scene) as the single's B-side. It was common for record companies to put a recent, though out of date, release as the B-side of Jukebox 45s, to maximize band airplay in those machines.
A partial replica of Flynn's Arcade was set up at Comic-Con 2009, complete with several Space Paranoids consoles, and other 1980s video games. A full-scale model of the new light-cycle was also displayed.
When Sam returns to the arcade at the end of the movie, he is seen uploading data at the desk. When he takes out the memory chip, it bears a similar resemblance to the first data discs used in the first film, he then puts it over his head and uses it as a necklace to further emphasize the homeage to the first data discs.
The name of the character 'Alan Bradley' is likely a reference/homage to the founders Allen Bradley who are the namesake of the famous brand of electronic controls. Conglomerate Rockwell International purchased Milwaukee based Allen Bradley a long time ago, and then divested many companies. Rockwell then moved its HQ to Milwaukee and is now called Rockwell Automation, but it's really (just) the Allen Bradley brand these days.
Unlike most of its contemporaries, this movie was filmed from the outset in 3D format, as opposed to being later converted in post production. The camera equipment used was also a generational step beyond the 3D technology used in Avatar (2009).
Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is seen wearing a stylized "89" on the back of his helmet in the motorcycle scene in the real world. This is to represent the year that Kevin Flynn disappeared and was mailed as a sticker decal to those who participated in the "Flynn Lives" viral marketing campaign in the months leading up to the film's release.
During the disc wars, a display of the competitor's names shows one named "Cray", which is a line of real-life supercomputers founded in 1972. A Cray X-MP was shown in the original Tron, and was listed in the credits.
Amy Esterle filmed scenes as Sam Flynn's mother, though most were deleted from the final film. In an early cut of the film, Sam's mother was to have lived well into his childhood years; this plot point was changed in post-production to add emphasis to the father-son relationship between Sam and Kevin Flynn. Esterle still makes an brief appearance as an unidentified woman in a flashback sequence. The movie novelization retains the earlier concept of Sam's mother surviving and expands her backstory as to how she met Kevin Flynn and the circumstances of her death.
Freeze-frames of the console in Flynn's hidden lab shows that the old ENCOM system is a Sun4m machine running SolarOS. Sun4m machines existed and ran SunOS (a UNIX derivative). However, in the original TRON (1982), computer modules seen were clearly part of an IBM mainframe of that era.
In edition to Walt Disney World's "Tronorail", Disney California Adventure held a night dance party entitled "ElecTRONica" in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot to promote the movie. ElecTRONica included a live DJ, Program, Server, and Siren dancers, a replica of Flynn's Arcade featuring classic games and TRON, End of Line Club where alcoholic drinks were served, performances by Laserman, and a face character named Eckert, an equal to Castor. ElecTRONica ran from October 8, 2010 to April 15, 2012.
During the first disc wars battle that Sam takes place in a character is eliminated and his body falls to the ground like pixels. After Sam throws his disc for the first time, you can see the disc wars player celebrating his win. You can also see a body at his feet that is whole and not in pieces.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Cillian Murphy's character Edward Dillinger II is meant to be the son of Edward Dillinger (David Warner), the primary antagonist of the first film who stole credit for creating Kevin Flynn's video games. He appears in only one scene. His uncredited appearance is meant to hint at a possible sequel.
Throughout most of the movie, Rinzler can be heard making a purring or clicking sound. This is due to his corrupted/changed data. Towards the end of the movie, when Rinzler sinks down into the water, his illuminations turn from red to white, and his purring ceases. It's at this point that Rinzler's corruption is gone and he's become TRON again.
There are three subtle hints as to Rinzler's true identity throughout the film: when Sam fights Rinzler in the disc wars, Rinzler refuses to kill him because he's human--Tron had originally been programmed to fight "for the users" in the original film; in the flashback sequence depicting Clu's coup against Flynn, when Tron fights off the guards he's seen using two identity discs; Rinzler's costume bears four red squares in a t-shape on his chest, identical to Tron's own chest emblem as seen in the first film and flashback sequences.
After CLU has collected Kevin Flynn's data disc from Castor/Zuse, his Black Guards put up bombs in the club. CLU's final words, as he leaves, are "End of line". This is in direct reference to TRON (1982) when the Master Control Program (MCP) stated this when it terminated communications with anyone "inferior" to itself.
As part of the films marketing strategy, during 2010 one of the monorails ("Coral") at The Walt Disney World Resort was decorated with TRON: Legacy (2010) art. The art depicts a blue or orange program (depending on the side of train), and the film's logo at the front of the monorail with a beam stretching to the back of the train. For the duration of the promotion, the train is referred to within Disney as the "TRONORAIL".