|“||So, we meet again, Buzz Lightyear... FOR THE LAST TIME!||„|
|~ Emperor Zurg confronting Buzz Lightyear.|
|“||Good throw, Son! That's my boy! Go on, Buzzy!||„|
|~ Zurg's last words in Toy Story 2|
Evil Emperor Zurg, or better known as Emperor Zurg or simply known as Zurg, is a recurring antagonist in the Toy Story franchise, being the main antagonist within the in-universe Buzz Lightyear toyline. He is Buzz Lightyear's archenemy and Utility Belt Buzz's "father".
In the films, Zurg appears as a mentioned antagonist in Toy Story, the secondary antagonist of Toy Story 2, a cameo character in Toy Story 3 and will be appearing in some capacity in Lightyear. He is also the main antagonist of the series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and its 2000 film Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins.
In Toy Story 2 and Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure, he was voiced by Andrew Stanton, who also played Hopper in the A Bug's Life video game and the short film It's Tough to be a Bug, and who serves as the Pixar worker and the two-time Academy Award director of the Pixar films Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, and WALL-E. In the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command media, he was voiced by Wayne Knight, who also played The Penguin in Harley Quinn, Al McWhiggin in Toy Story 2, Krudsky in Scooby-Doo and The Goblin King, Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park, and Newman in Seinfeld. In the Disney Park attraction Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, he was voiced by Frank Welker, who was best known for voicing several incarnations of Megatron in the Transformers franchise.
|“||I protect the galaxy from the threat of invasion from the evil Emperor Zurg, sworn enemy of the galactic alliance.||„|
|~ Buzz telling Andy's toys about his fight against Zurg.|
Zurg was originally set to appear in the first Toy Story film, but was cut out from the final version. However, he is mentioned three times in the film. First by Andy Davis after Buzz Lightyear arrives, then Buzz during his introduction to Woody and the rest of Andy's toys, being described as the "sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance", and finally once more by Buzz when he and Woody are lost at the gas station during their argument.
Toy Story Treats
Zurg does not physically appear in some Toy Story Treats, but he was mentioned by name.
Toy Story 2
|“||Zurg: Surrender, Buzz Lightyear! I have won!
Bonus Belt Buzz: I'll never give in! You killed my father!
Zurg: No, Buzz... I am your father!
|~ Emperor Zurg parodying a very famous scene.|
Zurg made his first appearance in the Toy Story franchise in Toy Story 2.
He is first seen in the videogame that Rex is playing. He fights Buzz, but since Rex's arms are small, he cannot execute the combos needed to defeat Zurg, and so Zurg defeats Buzz in the game, much to Rex's distraught.
Later on, when the real, Buzz, Rex, Slinky Dog, Hamm and Mr. Potato Head and Rex head over to Al's Toy Barn, Buzz gets accidentally swapped with another Buzz Lightyear action figure with a utility Belt. When Andy's Buzz spots Al McWhiggin leaving with Andy's toys and the other Buzz Lightyear - whom anyone will call Bonus Belt Buzz - in his bag, he follows them but knocks out a few boxes in the process, but as he leaves, a box is being wedged between the doors, and a Zurg action figure is inside. Zurg breaks out from his box, spots Buzz and, being unaware that he is just a toy (similar to Buzz from the first Toy Story movie and Utility Belt Buzz), follows Buzz to Al's apartment.
Eventually, Zurg reaches Al's apartment through the top of the elevator shaft, where he confronts both Buzzes. A fight takes place on top of the elevator between Bonus Belt Buzz and Zurg while the original Buzz and the other toys open the emergency hatch to save Woody. At first, Bonus Belt Buzz had the upper hand, but Zurg grabs him and defeats him, demanding he surrender. Bonus Belt Buzz says that he will never give up because Zurg killed his father, but Zurg tells him that he is his father, much to Bonus Belt Buzz's distraught. Zurg then prepares to finish off Bonus Belt Buzz, but Rex turns away in fear, which causes his large tail to accidentally hit Zurg, sending him screaming in defeat as he falls down the elevator shaft, much to Rex's great delight.
However, Zurg somehow survived his fall, but has forgotten that Bonus Belt Buzz is his enemy due to the impact. As such, Bonus Belt Buzz decides to have spend some fun with Zurg with a game of catch (while also declining Buzz's invitation to save Woody from Al and Stinky Pete), and Zurg seems to enjoy it, telling Bonus Belt Buzz to go long as he fires a ball for Bonus Belt Buzz to catch. Buzz then bids farewell to Bonus Belt Buzz using the same Vulcan salute that he used at Woody while they were still stranded at the Gas Station from the first film and proceeds to follow Al to the Airport with the other toys by driving the Pizza Planet truck (similar to Woody and Buzz chasing the moving truck from the first film).
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
|“||CURSE YOU, BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!!!||„|
|~ Zurg whenever he is defeated by Buzz Lightyear.|
In the series, which is presumably where the Buzz Lightyear character originates in-universe, Zurg is the main antagonist, and rules an empire on Planet Z, and wants to rule the entire galaxy while destroying Star Command. Emperor Zurg considers Buzz his archenemy and often takes any opportunity to eliminate him. Most of his subjects are robots. His feet double as rockets and he can transform his arms into a variety of weapons.
His most personal ally is Warp Darkmatter, who was a Space Ranger and Buzz's partner until his betrayal. Despite often breaking the seriousness of otherwise purely evil statements, Zurg is widely considered the most evil person in the galaxy, especially by the other villains. In the series, Zurg is a flamboyant villain who is just as much a comic relief character and has many comedic habits, though he remains as a competent, formidable and influential opponent similar to his role in Toy Story 2.
The episode "War, and Peace and War" was notably the only episode where Zurg was forced to team up with Buzz Lightyear to defeat the Heed (led by Guzelian), a common enemy that was trying to take over their galaxy by tricking all planets to dismantle their defense system for peace.
In Stranger Invasion, he revealed himself to be Buzz's father (a parody upon The Empire Strikes Back and a nearly identical scene in Toy Story 2), but quickly took it back, using the statement as a "Made You Look" to stun Buzz and gain the upper hand.
On the show, Zurg had many minions to do his bidding.
- Grubs (voiced by Frank Welker) - Zurg's equivalents to the LGMs of Star Command (though far less competent). They perform mechanical and technical duties. The Grubs work for Zurg against their will and also desire freedom, but many of them are simply too afraid to try to defect.
- Brain Pods (various voices for each one) - Cybernetic brains in mobile jars, who serve Zurg as scientists and researchers. Although they take pride in their creations, they secretly harbor a desire to escape from Zurg's control (two of which are shown succeeding in doing so on-screen).
- Hornets - The Hornets are Zurg's robotic foot soldiers, extremely expendable, lousy shots and always get vaporized in mass numbers by Lightyear's team. Hornets come in different models, but the most frequently seen are yellow and of average height.
Toy Story 3
|“||Jessie: Buzz, what are you doing?
Buzz: Silence, minions of Zurg! You're in the custody of the galactic alliance!
|~ Demo Mode Buzz mentions Zurg.|
Zurg was mentioned in Toy Story 3 a few times by Buzz after Lots-O' Huggin' Bear switches him to "Demo Mode". He is later mentioned again by Andy when he gives Buzz to his new owner Bonnie Anderson. Zurg eventually appears during the credits of the film, arriving at Sunnyside Daycare Center with a giraffe and a small dinosaur, where he is greeted by Stretch. It is currently unknown whether this Zurg is the same one from the second film.
In Video Games
Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue
Zurg is also a boss in the Toy Story 2 video game Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue. He is the titular boss of the game's twelfth level, The Evil Emperor Zurg, and the fourth main boss encountered by Buzz Lightyear.
Zurg is fought on top of an elevator within the Elevator Hop, and Buzz must be careful not to fall off the edge during the battle. Zurg will constantly hover above Buzz firing spheres at him that will damage him on contact, although Buzz can deflect these by spinning. The yellow spheres travel towards him and then disappear, whereas the green ones will come back at Buzz and home in on him. Buzz must shoot Zurg with his laser while he's in range to damage him, and once his health has been fully diminished, the boss will topple over the side of the elevator and disappear into the darkness below. Buzz will then be allowed to proceed to the following level.
The Zurg Kite is the boss of the game's second level Andy’s Neighborhood. As the name suggests, this boss is a kite inspired by the Evil Emperor Zurg. It is fought on a wooden platform at the very top of the tall garden tree, and its only attack is spinning into Buzz. He can hurt the Zurg Kite with his laser while it floats in the air, but is invulnerable while it is spinning. Upon its defeat, Buzz will obtain a Pizza Planet Token, but he must be careful not to fall out of the tree during the battle.
Toy Story 3 The Video Game
Zurg is also in every version of the Toy Story 3 video game, except the Nintendo DS version. He is a boss in the Xbox 360, Wii, Playstation 3 and PC versions. A Playstation 3 exclusive allows the player to play as Zurg.
Zurg is also the main antagonist of the Toy Story playset in Disney INFINITY.
As shown in the film and TV series, Zurg was known to be the most evil and destructive villain in his galaxy, dedicated his entire life to have it under his iron fist by all means necessary. He is shown to be manipulative, intelligent, and ruthless, as he was willing to take down anyone that serve as an obstacle to himself or his plans.
However, in the series, he can be quite campy and comedic in nature, as he tends to do several comical antics such as videotaping Buzz's speeches for his own amusement keeping a Troll doll collection, and mentioning an equally evil "Nana Zurg". He is also shown to be somewhat picky and conscientious about his schemes, claiming when politicians were being kidnapped that he would never do something "so obvious".
- Emperor Zurg is a parody of Darth Vader of the Star Wars franchise. In fact, in Toy Story 2, during his battle with Bonus Belt Buzz Lightyear, Zurg tells Bonus Belt Buzz that he's his father, and parodies the scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he is his father. Coincidentally, both Toy Story 2 and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out in 1999; the difference is that while Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was released on May 19, Toy Story 2 was released on November 24.
- Zurg's species is an issue of much debate. The four predominant theories are that he is either a human, a robot, or a cyborg. To this day, there is no concrete answer, but there is theoretically enough evidence to rule out Zurg being a robot due to his eating and sleeping habits.
- Zurg also made a cameo appearance in the 2015 Disney live action film Tomorrowland.
- Zurg does not appear or is even mentioned once in Toy Story 4, making it the only Toy Story sequel not to feature or mention him.
- Zurg and Sid Phillips from the first film are the only two Toy Story villains who are related to the heroes.
- Zurg turns out to be the Toy Story franchise's most popular villain.
- In the early concept art, Zurg was originally going to be a small toy alien with a robot body.
- A small version of Zurg was in the 2011 Toy Story Toons short film Small Fry.
- In the scene with Rex in the car in Al's Toy Barn holding the How to Defeat Zurg book, there is one frame where a clear glimpse of the bottom corner of the book is seen. As a lighthearted jab at Canadians, the cover price is shown as $4.95 and $50 in Canada. It should be about $6.95. In the waiting area for the Disney's Hollywood Studios attraction Toy Story Midway Mania! in Orlando, Florida, there is a large replica of the book's cover that also reflects this joke.
- Utility Belt Buzz claims Al to be an agent of Zurg's, while in actuality, Al is the owner of Stinky Pete, so if one is to be picky, this also makes the Prospector an agent, only third-in-place.
- Despite being a villain, Zurg is a playable hero in Disney Heroes Battle Mode, and Buzz also ironically has a friendship with Zurg that can be unlocked as well, and he was also redeemed in Toy Story 2. However, he still remains a villain in the rest of his appearances, due to his popularity. He was also a neutral character in Toy Story 3.
- It's highly likely that Emperor Zurg will be making an appearance in the upcoming Toy Story spin-off film Lightyear, as said spin-off is going to flesh out Buzz Lightyear's origin story.