- “But, enter another software engineer. Not so young, not so bright, but very, very sneaky. Ed Dillinger.”
- ―Kevin Flynn, about Dillinger
Dillinger seems to only care about his position as ENCOM's president, as the MCP was always the one who kept this obsession possible. He acts harshly and strictly with his employees and the MCP, making sure that he's in command of every operation on the enterprise. His only concern was shown when the Master Control planned to use his hacking abilities to invade the Pentagon's system and gain control of the nuclear industry.
While regarded as "not too bright" by Flynn, Dillinger had more than enough programming skill to convert the MCP into the corporate raiding tool that facilitated his rise to power, and he clearly possessed enough skill and business acumen to raise ENCOM from its humble beginnings in a garage to the corporate giant it was at the start of the movie.
Once a programmer when he started his job at ENCOM, he soon climbed the ranks until he reached Senior Executive, thanks to his MCP program. Little did everyone at ENCOM knew that Dillinger wrote the MCP to appropriate any program that was considered useful. One of these programs was the game "Space Paranoids" which was actually created by former employee Kevin Flynn.
After the termination of the MCP by Tron and Flynn, Dillinger was presumably exposed as a fraud and was sent to jail. Which co-indices with the scenario the MCP presented to Dillinger.
Although he doesn't appear in the movie, Dillinger is mentioned as the father of Edward Dillinger, Jr. Sometime after Sam Flynn (son of his rival Kevin Flynn) returned from The Grid, alongside the ISO-turned-human woman Quorra, and declared he'd be taking over ENCOM in his father's footsteps and finally embracing his father's other legacy, Edward would contact a mysterious associate, code-named "MCTRL-751", asking if he was aware of Sam's intentions. When "MCTRL" asks if it would be problematic, Edward brushes it off, confident he could disrupt Sam's pursuit. "MCTRL" advises Edward not to underestimate Sam, as he's "[his] father's son", before logging off with a familiar statement "END OF LINE" (this, and the fact that Edward addresses the contact as "Dad", gives the implication Dillinger has in fact succeeded the Master Control Program, either in hiding or having possibly digitized into the Grid and evolved).
As Square Enix planned to have Warner reprise his role as both the MCP and Sark, Ed Dillinger would probably make a re-appearance. But he declined the offer because of other works in production, so Dillinger was excluded from making a direct appearance. His presence is felt, however, when Tron mentions that Ansem the Wise copied ENCOM's original program to his system, indirectly pointing out that Dillinger could still have programmed the MCP's original data.
- It is suggested that either Flynn or Dillinger is the CEO of FCon. Dillinger is more likely the true CEO, given the similarity of the names. Plus the voice heard had more of a British accent and the CEO's tactics had a decidedly ruthless methodology to them.
- Dillinger probably wouldn't have faced more than 5 years of jail time with a good lawyer; that would give him plenty of time to found FCon and develop it into a powerful corporation strong enough to be a contender to ENCOM.
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