I'm sure someone has thought to ask this before, but I couldn't find it. In Tron: Legacy, the end of the film sees our hero Sam

returning to the real world WITH his ISO girlfriend Quorra. In addition, we find that the antagonist's plan is to leave the Grid and bring "order" to the real world.

How is this possible? As I understand it, an ISO is merely a program-based lifeform that evolved spontaneously rather than being written by a User. And CLU is esentially just a super-powerful AI built to run the TRON world. However, no matter how advanced the AI behind a program is, it's still just a program that exists as code in the computer. There's no body to digitize, and no other known way to contain the code in the real world.

How is it possible for any program to leave the Grid and enter the real world?

  • 5
    Flynn has one hell of of a 3D printer.
    – phantom42
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 18:23
  • It was reversed engineered from a star trek replicator
    – user16696
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 18:27
  • 1
    @phantom42 - when they invent a 3D printer that can pop out a living, breathing, flesh & blood copy of Olivia Wilde I'm definitely buying it. Come to think of it... doesn't actually have to be living or breathing.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 20:16

2 Answers 2


Because in Tron's world, the digitising laser goes both ways - it doesn't just produce code replicas of objects, but in some sense turns objects into software - and back.

Sure, an ISO has no body. So what? Flynn doesn't have an internal memory state, or a brain intended to operate at several billion operations a second - but apparently that doesn't matter. (Turning a program into a body is actually an easier problem than turning a person into code, while preserving identity.)

We get a hint with the orange, in the first movie. Supposing the team had backed up the orange software a few times before recreating it?

The opening minutes of Legacy strongly imply that Flynn had figured this out, and intended to use the laser as a mass-production tool. (It might not be econommic for food - E=M*C^2 is a lot of power - but it would probably be worth it to mass-produce hard-to-build electronics.)

This is, obviously, nonsense in real physics - the laser is effectively a Star Trek transporter and then some, and where the heck is its source of materials? But it's the premise of the movie, so we're supposed to just accept it.

  • Anything that doesn't directly violate the laws of physics is well within the realm of possibility. You might scoff at something like teleportation, but the advances we've made in quantum mechanics have brought us closer and closer to that reality. See time.com/2800071/teleportation-quantum-entanglement
    – arkon
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 22:57

Presumably, the system has a way of storing the matter it has digitized so that it can reconstruct it afterwards. Two people have been digitized, Sam and Flynn. At the end, Sam has presumably been reconstructed using his matter and Quorra has been constructed using Flynn's.

  • 2
    Which does result in a possible "ew" moment when you consider that, if Sam and Quorra wind up in a relationship, he will, in a manner of speaking, be making love to his father.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 18:31

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