The Master Control Program, or better known as MCP for an abbreviation, is the main antagonist of Tron. It is a rogue computer program created by Ed Dillinger (also played by David Warner, and main human antagonist) that ruled over the world inside ENCOM's mainframe computer. During the rule of the MCP, many programs were enslaved and pitted against the program's henchmen, led by Sark (also played by Warner).
Originally created by ENCOM founder Walter Gibbs, at first the MCP was only a chess program which was left embedded in the company's computer systems.
Years later, Dillinger wrote the MCP to administer the company's computer network; however, the MCP had the capacity to learn and grew beyond the confines of its original programming. It began to steal data from other systems, and took control of several companies and institutions. Its intelligence - and ambition - grew nearly out of control, and the MCP grew to desire nothing less than world domination. In its own words it said it could run things from 900 to 1,200 times better than any human. Dillinger once stated to it that he had made it too greedy, and was surprised that the MCP had made it into the Kremlin's computer system. Dillinger appeared to begin having reservations about letting the MCP get so powerful, which are realized when it threatens to expose his unsavory deeds to the Wall Street Journal if he tries to move against it. It then asks him (although in a tone that makes it more like an order) about a Chinese language program it had requested.
Eventually, however, the MCP caused its own downfall. It digitized former ENCOM programmer Flynn, who had come dangerously close to uncovering Dillinger's schemes. Flynn, in the computer world, allied himself with Tron, a security program; their combined efforts resulted in the deresolution of the MCP by throwing a disk into the base of the MCP. The MCP then reverted back to its original chess program appearance (which, in the digital universe, appeared as an old man in a control chair) followed by this program vanishing as it was deleted.
The MCP would end most of its conversations with Dillinger and Sark with the phrase "End of Line".
It has resurfaced at the end of Tron: Legacy under the name MCTRL as it contacted Edward Dillinger Jr..
In other media
The MCP appears briefly in TRON: The Ghost in the Machine (a direct sequel to TRON 2.0). After Mercury reveals that she recalled Jet back to the computer world, she explains that the MCP has risen back into power and has taken control of the system. Jet initially believes this to be impossible, as the program was destroyed over thirty years ago by his godfather, Kevin Flynn. When Jet comes face to face with the MCP, the program repeatedly uses the quote, "Stop! Please! You know I can't allow this!" where he is attacked. When Jet's identity disc fails to destroy the MCP's core, he taunts him with a sexual innuendo and sticks his tongue out at him. The MCP does not reappear in the comic after Jet is defeated by Red Jet.
He is also seen in Kingdom Hearts II, as the former king Ansem the Wise's computer within the castle of Radiant Garden and he is voiced by Corey Burton. He is the boss (along with Sark) for the final fight of Tron's world, Space Paranoids. His role is largely unchanged from that in the original TRON film.
Powers and Abilities
The MCP possesses god-like abilities within the world of Tron and all transport beams lead to its core within the system. Along these beams, the MCP has the ability to send out power surges. Within its core, it can telekinetically throw programs and torture them with deresolution. It can erect shields at its base for protection. It also has the ability to communicate with Sark via the Carrier. The MCP at one pivotal point was able to transfer all of its functions to Sark, bringing the program back to life as a powerful giant. Regardless of its abilities, the MCP is not all-knowing within the world of Tron as evidenced by the fact the pirate program Clu was able to get so far into a high-clearance memory without the MCP's awareness. To compensate, the MCP depends upon its guards and recognizers.
In translations, the MCP's name is still abbreviated as "MCP". For example, in French, he is "Maître Contrôle Principal", literally "Main Master Control".
The desk/computer that was used as Ed Dillinger's main connection with the MCP can still be found within the ENCOM Tower. However, the desk is now used as the ENCOM conference table which is used by all employees/clients present at the meeting as an instant access PC. The table makes a brief appearance in the beginning of TRON: Legacy.
An Easter egg in the US Blu-Ray release of TRON: Legacy depicts a typed instant message conversation between Edward Dillinger, Jr. and an unknown figure operating under the pseudonym of "MCTRL_751". This has given rise to speculation about a possible reappearance in the TRON Universe.
The MCP ended most of its conversations with Dillinger and Sark with the phrase "End of Line". This phrase would later be used as the name of Zuse's nightclub in Tron: Legacy.
Though Ed Dillinger created the MCP, the MCP was still the main antagonist because he had bigger plans than anyone else; he even threatened to expose Dillinger's thefts to the public if the latter didn't oblige to his demands.
Although the MCP is mainly red, it can temporarily become other colors.
In the adult animated series South Park, the prophet Moses is made to resemble the MCP.