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Villain Overview
So, we meet again, Buzz Lightyear... FOR THE LAST TIME!
~ Zurg before attempting to kill Buzz Lightyear.

Evil Emperor Zurg, better known as Emperor Zurg or simply Zurg, is a recurring antagonist in the Toy Story franchise. He is a supporting antagonist in Toy Story 2 and the main antagonist of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and its film Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins. He is Buzz Lightyear's arch-enemy and Utility Belt Buzz's father.

He was voiced by Andrew Stanton in the film and Wayne Knight (who also played Krudsky, Dennis Nedry, Newman, and fellow Toy Story 2 villain Al McWhiggin) in the TV series.

Toy Story

Zurg was originally set to appear in the first Toy Story film, but was cut out from the final version. However, he is mentioned by Buzz during his introduction to Woody and the rest of Andy's toys, being described as the "sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance".

Toy Story Treats

He was mentioned in some Toy Story Treats.

Toy Story 2

Zurg: Surrender, Buzz Lightyear! I have won!
Buzz#2: 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 Toy Story 2, serving as a supporting antagonist. He is first seen in the video game that Rex is playing. He fights Buzz, but since Rex's arms are small, he cannot execute the combos needed to defeat Zurg, who destroys Buzz in the game, much to Rex's distraught.

Later on, when the real Buzz along Slinky Dog, Hamm, Mr. Potato Head and Rex head over to Al's Toy Barn to find and rescue Woody from Al McWhiggin (who plans to sell him and the other Roundup Toys, Jessie, Bullseye and Stinky Pete, to a toy museum in Japan) Buzz gets accidentally swapped with another Buzz Lightyear action figure, he watches as Buzz#2 and the other toys taking refuge in Al's bag as Al heads back to his apartment. Buzz is forced to knock out a few boxes to leave the store and head for the apartment, but as he leaves, a selling box is being wedged between the doors, revealing a Zurg action figure inside. Zurg breaks out from his box, spots Buzz and, being unaware that he's just a toy, 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 Buzz#2 and Zurg while the original Buzz and the other toys open the emergency hatch to save Woody. At first, Buzz#2 had the upper hand, but Zurg grabs him and defeats him, demanding him to surrender. Buzz#2 says that Zurg killed his father, but Zurg tells him that he is his father, much to Buzz#2's distraught. Zurg then prepares to finish off Buzz#2, but Rex turns away in fear, which causes his large tail to accidentally hit Zurg, sending him screaming as he falls down the elevator shaft, much to Rex's delight.

However, Zurg somehow survived his fall, but has forgotten that Buzz#2 is his enemy due to the impact. As such, Buzz#2 decides to have spend some fun with Zurg with a game of catch, and Zurg seems to enjoy it, telling Buzz#2 to go long as he fires a ball for Buzz#2 to catch.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Movie and TV series

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 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 such as videotaping Buzz's speeches, maintaining a troll doll collection, and mentioning an equally evil "Nana Zurg". Nevertheless, 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.

  • 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

51
Zurg was mentioned in the Toy Story 3, a few times by Buzz after Lots-O' Huggin' Bear switches him to "Demo Mode". He is later mentioned again when Buzz's owner Andy Davis gives him to Bonnie Anderson following Lotso's defeat. Zurg eventually appears during the credits being donated to Sunnyside Daycare Center with a giraffe toy, where he is greeted by Stretch. It is currently stated that this Zurg is a different one from the second film.

Video Game Appearances

ZurgTop

The Evil Emperor Zurg flying above Buzz Lightyear.

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.

Gameplay

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

Zurg Kite

The Zurg Kite battling Buzz Lightyear

elevator and disappear into the darkness below. Buzz will then be allowed to proceed to the following level.

Zurg Kite

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’s floating in the air, but is invulnerable while it’s 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, except the Nintendo DS version. A Playstation 3 exclusive allows the player to play as Zurg.

Disney INFINITY

Zurg is also the main antagonist of the Toy Story playset in Disney INFINITY.

Trivia

  • Zurg is a parody of Darth Vader of the Star Wars movies, 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 he's his father. Plus, both Toy Story 2 and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out in 1999.
  • Zurg's species is an issue of much debate. The four predominant theories are that he is either a human, a robot, a cyborg, or an alien. 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 made a cameo appearance in the 2015 live action Disney film, Tomorrowland.
  • 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 to date.
  • 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.


Pixar Villains

Animated Features
Sid Phillips | Scud | One-Eyed Bart | Attack Dog with Built-in-force-field | Hopper | Thumper | Stinky Pete | Al McWhiggin | Emperor Zurg | Zurg Empire (Zurg Bots, Warp Darkmatter, Hornets, Brain Pods & Grubs) | Dr. Porkchop | Henry J. Waternoose III | Randall Boggs | Syndrome | Mirage | Omnidroids | The Underminer | Bomb Voyage | Chick Hicks | Chef Skinner | AUTO | GO-4 | Axiom's Stewards | Charles Muntz | Alpha | Beta & Gamma | Lotso | Lotso's Gang (Ken, Big Baby, Stretch, Chunk, Sparks, Twitch & Monkey) | One-Eyed Betty | Little Green Men | Miles Axlerod | Zundapp | Grem | Acer | Mor'du | Johnny Worthington III | Chet Alexander | Roar Omega Roar | Thunderclap | Pterodactyls | Bubbha | Velociraptors | Jackson Storm | Sterling

Shorts/TV Specials
Ronald Tompkins | Mr. Jones | The Cleric | Goliathon | Reptillus Maximus | Battlesaurs