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What happened to the Grid at the end of Tron Legacy?

I was wondering, what happens to the grid if the system is shutdown.

Some says the programs don't die, they simply shut down. Their processes interrupted. They are frozen in time until you turn it back on. From their point of view they probably would never know they were shut down or might experience a temporary lapse like unconsciousness.

Also, what happens to a user digitized into the grid?

What about the other stuff on the grid? What even if we format the system (does that change something in Tron story?)

Thank you.


One thing about Tron that you have to remember is that it is a metaphor for a computer system and not a mirror of a computer system. Thus when things happen to the computer system what happens in the Tron world is a metaphor for what happens in the physical world.

The world of Tron in the first film appears to be one that matches the company network, so it appears to be a living and ongoing world which we can assume still exists at the time of the second film, although much changed.

However the world inside Flynn's 'server' in the second movie exists without external connection, that being one of the main points of the film. As it is pointedly 'saved' and shutdown at the end of the film, we have to assume that something like one of the following options occurs:

As the system is shut down the world starts to 'freeze' into stasis. Depending on point of view this could be horrifying for the programs, like dying, or perfectly natural, like going to sleep.

Alternately we can view this as the Tron world being 'sealed' so that while time appears to continue to pass (at one rate or another) within the world nothing can enter or leave.

Finally, excuse the pun, shutting down the system could be viewed as the world being utterly destroyed. This is how real computers work, the memory is copied to disk and then as the power goes it is permanently erased, only to be created from new when or if system is restarted. A horrifyingly final end.

As this is, above all, a Disney movie we can further assume that the creators did not intend for us to think that the world of Flynn's server and all it's inhabitants were cruelly destroyed. The scene where they are 'saved' implies a hope for the future, because, after all, I'm sure that Sam would want a chance to rescue his father.


Not necessarily a canon answer, but I'd say it depends on whether or not the Grid itself is on volatile (RAM) or non-volatile (HDD/SSD, etc) memory.

Given that we see Sam Flynn transferring something to a memory device in the end, I'm leaning toward the latter option. This would support the idea that when the system is shut down, the programs running merely transition to a state of stasis and are unaware that anything of the sort ever happened when they're reawakened.


This is unknown at the moment, as we never see this occur. The Grid of the original Tron was entirely in ENCOM's mainframe, which is a system that would be always on. The Grid in Tron: Legacy was similarly left on continuously (for 20 years!). We see Sam make a copy of the Grid and shutdown Flynn's server at the end of Tron: Legacy, but it's unknown what the denizens of The Grid experienced during that.

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