Saturday Neglected Character Double Feature Part IV: Everyone Calls Him Barkeep
Tron: Betrayal practically deserves a Neglected Character Spotlight post of its very own. Of all the “canon” materials pertaining to Tron and Tron: Legacy, Betrayal is the one that gets the least love, and that makes me a sad panda. It’s got its flaws, of course, just like everything else in this franchise, but the art is great, it fills in some major plotholes (and creates a couple more…), and perhaps most importantly: IT FEATURES TRON AS A MAIN CHARACTER. Buuuuuuuut that’s for a separate post. This post is dedicated to a character in Betrayal who’s actually pretty damn important, puts up with a ton of shit, and who hardly ever gets a mention from the fandom at large.
Meet Shaddox, one of the very first programs Kevin Flynn ever wrote for his new Grid. He’s a System Utility and an architect, responsible for building and maintaning Tron City and helping Clu out while Flynn’s off pretending to be a mature and responsible adult.
He’s also BFFs with Tron! Which is awesome, because the amount of bullshit these two put up with is enough to power Barter Town for 5 years straight.
“There is not enough cyber-alcohol in the universe to deal with my life right now.”
Unfortunately for poor Shaddox, the bullshit just keeps on coming, courtesy of the sudden spontaneous appearance of space aliens from nowhere, and the fact that both Clu and Flynn are slowly losing their shit at the same time. Shaddox ends up “resigning” from his post as Grid architect after the arrival of the ISOs and the resulting tensions, and kind of disappears from the story after that…but then, in Legacy, THIS guy shows up:
Meet the bartender of the End of Line Club in Tron: Legacy (played by original Tron creator Steven Lisberger!)—who is ALSO named Shaddox. He has no lines and looks NOTHING AT ALL like Betrayal’s Shaddox, but that doesn’t stop almost everyone in fandom from assuming that they’re the same character, leading to the unfortunate conclusion that Clu basically demoted him from builder-of-the-grid to barkeep in a dive bar.
Then again, if I were Shaddox, I think I might’ve decided to take up a job sitting on top of the largest concentration of hooch on the Grid, too.
(ETA: I am actually aware that these two characters have nothing to do with one another, they just had to go and make it as confusing as possible. Oh Tron Franchise, your eternal lack of communication between creative teams will never cease to provide me with both endless amusement and the urge to take up drinking.)