The majority of the student body, especially Troy's best friend, Chad Danforth, expects Troy to lead East High to victory. Troy is the only child of Jack and Lucille Bolton; Jack is also the coach of the East High basketball team and puts additional pressure on Troy to excel.
At first glance, Troy appears to be the stereotypical jock type, primarily interested in sports — particularly basketball. Beneath the surface, however, he is big-hearted, outgoing, loyal, and friendly. Troy is one of the nicest, sweetest guys in the world. If it came down to it, he would throw his kindness out to the world. If he could make someone happier than they were and make them feel a little better, that was the highlight of it all. Troy is community-minded and puts the well being of those who surround him before his own; particularly his girlfriend, Gabriella Montez.
All that being said, Troy is still a teenaged boy. He can be headstrong, competitive and temperamental. The Wildcats leader has always been sensitive, emotionally. Words have the ability to slice into him like knives, and he will ruminate over and internalize any accusation or insult hefted at him by a person whose opinion he holds in high regard. It seems that disappointing others is something Troy fears greatly. Disappointing and upsetting someone he cares about could plunge Troy into a melancholic state. By far, however, the biggest trigger for his depressive episodes is Gabriella (or anyone else he is very close with) pulling away from him. However, he is also relatively laid-back and easygoing, and as long as there are no immediate stressors, his emotional state remains fairly stable.
Described as "the hottest boy at East High", Troy has cerulean or cabot blue eyes, floppy medium lengthened brown chestnut-colored hair, high cheekbones, a strong jawline, perfect eyebrows, a straight nose and full lips. He has a very athletic body and the height to match. Weighing in around a 140-pounds of pure body muscle. He is a tall boy, standing at 5'8" tall. His skin is light with a milk and rose complexion which sums up his innocent and playful personality, and speaks about how much he enjoys being outside. Hitting the gym every other day, along with playing basketball constantly, he has nicely defined muscles. However, throughout the series, his body is more defined and becomes more muscular as he develops.
Troy doesn't have any preferred type of clothing. Basically he’ll wear anything that is in style and considered to be cool and the hottest fashion. He is mostly seen in the latest fashion of wearing a shirt that seems too small so when he stretches, a nice view of his abs are shown. Of course the pants that hangs loosely around his waist revealing the tops of either his boxers or briefs. He doesn’t mind wearing clothing that is tight on him either, he does enjoy showing off his hard earned muscles. He does wear occasional slightly baggy shirts as well.
In the first film, Troy meets Gabriella Montez at a ski lodge karaoke party on New Year's Eve. When the school year resumes, Troy finds that Gabriella is a new student at East High. For fear of what his father, friends, and classmates would think, Troy asks Gabriella not to mention his singing performance to anybody else. However, the secret eventually gets out when Troy and Gabriella unintentionally audition for the winter musical after singing in the auditorium. The news throws East High's social order out of balance. Troy finds himself having to choose between Gabriella and the musical callbacks or his team and the championship game. Although his friends initially try to thwart Troy's chances of being cast as the musical's lead, they help him make both the game and the callbacks, which had been scheduled on the same afternoon. Troy and Gabriella earn the lead roles, somewhat angering the drama department's president, Sharpay Evans.
In High School Musical 2, Sharpay has her mind set on capturing Troy's affections and coming between him and Gabriella. Troy, Gabriella, and their friends are hired at a local country club, Lava Springs, but are weary of their new-found employment when they learn the club is owned by Sharpay's parents. Sharpay uses her wealth, power, and influence over Troy, tempting him with college opportunities in exchange for him singing with her at the club's Midsummer Night Talent Show. Troy gives into Sharpay's plot, causing Gabriella, Chad, and their friends to see Troy as a whole new person. Although Troy is being offered a college scholarship, he must not compromise his character while on the quest for his future. He tricks to trick Sharpay in "You Are The Music in Me" (Sharpay Version).
In the franchise's third film, Troy once again feels uncertain about his future as high school graduation draws near. While Troy is set to attend the University of Albuquerque, he begins to have second thoughts about other schools he and his father talked about. Coach Bolton and Chad are both insistent on Troy attending the university, but he decides to attend University of California, Berkeley in order to pursue both basketball and theater and to be closer to Gabriella, who enrolls at Stanford University.
In the first three films, Troy is portrayed by Zac Efron, with Drew Seeley providing his singing voice in the first film. The reason for this dubbing is still somewhat unclear, although Efron has told Rolling Stone that the songs for the first film were written prior to casting and out of his vocal range. Casting for the role was a multi-audition process, and one candidate for the role was Hunter Parrish. Efron had previously audition for a Disney Channel pilot that was not picked up by the network a few years prior to casting for High School Musical. Although the franchise will continue with a fourth film, Efron and his character will not be returning.
- It is revealed in the second movie by Sharpay that Troy also played on the golf team.