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.
Troy is very kind-hearted, loyal, and mature. He is also quite smart and aware, as he is the guy who "usually knows what's up". Troy has love and respect for everyone and has no problem stepping out of his social circle to fraternize with the other students. Troy clearly wins at boyish charm, a somewhat elusive quality best marked by impish smiles and genuine sweetness. He exudes this swoon-worthy trait, and sometimes it’s almost too much for people to handle.
As a charmer, Troy can sweet-talk literally anyone. He wins at the boyish charm thing because he just wears his feelings on his sleeve. He is both charming and legitimately cares about those he charms. Troy can’t hide looks like this — they’re perfectly genuine and perfectly adorable. He is pretty much everyone's best friend, and you could always count and depend on him. Troy is excessively trustworthy and beloved all throughout East High. He has a big heart, and although he tends to keep his emotions under control — and even under wraps — a majority of the time, he is capable of expressing his true feelings in a genuine, powerful light. Fun-loving, friendly, and a little naïve, Troy possesses high-spirits and optimism. Despite being a jock, Troy retains a genial demeanor towards others. Troy also has high hopes on helping to others in need, especially East High’s social outcasts. Troy's vibrant personality makes it easy for him to interact and connect with others.
Troy is filled to the brim with love and affection, sweet to nearly everyone he comes across, and can typically see the beauty in most things. He is full of life, and bursting with positive energy. Though he is amongst the most kind-hearted jocks at East High, Troy is nice, easygoing, friendly, and magnanimous; so much so, that he primarily uses his abilities as a means to amuse both himself and those around him. He loves helping everyone in need: indefatigably standing up for social outcasts, and treating everyone as equals. Troy is always optimistic and sunny, especially in bad and difficult situations. He is fiercely loyal to everyone and quick to come to their defense at the first sign of a threat. He is an optimist, though slightly naive. Troy, although he is the most popular guy in school, he can be shy at times. Troy is also perfectly willing to over-look obvious personality flaws. He is full to the brim with optimism, kindness, mischief, and fun. His peace-making and affable nature has allowed him to make many friends, ranging from fellow jocks to nerds all over East High. Troy also respects nature and is a good-hearted person, and he will do anything for anyone, even a stranger who has difficulties. He selflessly goes above and beyond ordinary expectations to help someone out or even just to cheer them up. He is filled to the brim with love and affection, sweet to nearly everyone he comes across, and can typically see the beauty in most things. Everyone he meets, he will always greet them with a warm smile and a friendly hello. It is awfully easy for Troy to make new friends everywhere he goes.
Of course Troy doesn’t let it all go to his head like most other jocks would. He cares what others think of him, and doesn’t want to be remembered as just another “jock.” Although with that being said, Troy isn’t the type of person who gets shy easily. In fact, the only thing he could remember being shy about was when he first went to ask Gabriella out. Troy also enjoys a good challenge every now and then and isn’t the type to back down from any challenge no matter what it is.
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.