Emperor Zurg (also known as Evil Emperor Zurg or simply Zurg) is the tertiary antagonist of Toy Story 2 and the main antagonist of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins. He also makes a cameo appearance in Toy Story 3. He is the sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance and the archenemy of Buzz Lightyear.
Mentions in Toy Story
- "Right now, poised at the edge of the galaxy, Emperor Zurg has been secretly building a weapon with the destructive capacity to annihilate an entire planet! I alone have information that reveals this weapon's only weakness. And you, my friend, are responsible for delaying my rendezvous with Star Command!"
- —Buzz Lightyear, arguing with Woody
Although Zurg doesn't actually appear in the first Toy Story movie; he is, however, only mentioned by Buzz twice in the film. As he introduces himself to the toys, Buzz describes his "occupation" as a member of an elite universal protection unit to protect the galaxy from Zurg. Later, when Buzz and Woody argue at a gas station, Buzz mentions about Zurg building a secret weapon with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Andy also mentions Zurg when he plays with Buzz on his birthday.
Earlier in the film, Andy says "Take that, Zurg!" as he and his friends burst into his room during his birthday party.
Zurg was originally supposed to be in the first movie. However, he was deleted. An earlier version of Zurg is in one of the alternate openings for Toy Story.
Mentions in Toy Story Treats
Zurg is also mentioned in some Toy Story Treats.
Toy Story 2
- Zurg: "So we meet again, Buzz Lightyear, for the last time!"
- (Rex screams)
Rex & New Buzz: "It's Zurg!"
- Rex: "Watch out! He's got an ion blaster!"
- ―New Buzz and the toys encounter Emperor Zurg on the elevator[src]
Zurg appears in two forms in Toy Story 2.
The first form appears during the opening scene, where he is initially seen tracking Buzz's location through his fortress inside his control room. A little later, he is seen doing battle with Buzz, in which Zurg, using his ion blaster, blasts the top half of Buzz's body into smithereens; however, the opening sequence is revealed to be only a video game, and the screen turns to Rex (who is wearing a plastic helmet) and Buzz playing the game.
Much later in the film, a Zurg toy action figure is inadvertently released by Buzz in Al's Toy Barn. Believing himself to be a real person much like Buzz did in the first film, he pursues after Buzz, intent on destroying him. He seems to have followed Buzz across the street, through an air vent of Al's apartment, and up the elevator shaft, as he is seen arriving atop the elevator when Buzz and his rescue squad of toys head back to the elevator after Al packs Woody and the Roundup gang into his case and leaves his room to head for the airport. Along with the group is a newer Buzz Lightyear action figure (also released from Al's Toy Barn by Buzz), who also believes himself to be real. Both New Buzz and Rex (a fan of the video game "Buzz Lightyear: Attack on Zurg") are caught with surprise by Zurg's unexpected arrival. A showdown occurs between the New Buzz and Zurg atop an elevator, where Zurg uses his chief weapon (which appears to be a revolving Nerf ball gun). During this battle, after overpowering the other Buzz, Zurg demands his surrender. New Buzz refuses to give up, accusing Zurg of killing his father, to which Zurg, however, claims that he is Buzz's father. As Zurg sets his gun to its highest level and is about to finish New Buzz off (at point-blank range), Rex, not bearing to watch the duel anymore, turns away, but his large thick tail accidentally hits Zurg and knocks him off the elevator and down the shaft. While Rex finally feels excited about finally overcoming his frustration toward not being able to defeat Zurg previously, New Buzz suddenly feels forlorn about possibly losing his "father". However, Zurg seems to have survived the fall (though he had hit his head so hard that he lost his memory of being Buzz's enemy) as he, with one of his horns slightly bent backwards, as well as appearing to have a tooth missing, is seen playing catch and spending "quality time" with New Buzz when Andy's Buzz and his rescue squad make their way out of Al's apartment. The New Buzz describes Zurg as a "great dad" as he rushes to catch another ball fired by Zurg.
Toy Story 3
- "Silence, minions of Zurg!"
- —Bad Buzz, as he captures Andy's toys
Zurg is mentioned by a brainwashed Buzz Lightyear (after Lotso reset him to Demo Mode) as he sees Andy's toys as minions of Zurg. At the end of Toy Story 3, Zurg is mentioned briefly by Andy when he gives Buzz to Bonnie Anderson.
Zurg himself makes a brief appearance in the end credits, where he is shown being donated to Sunnyside Daycare in a box along with a dinosaur, a giraffe plush, and two Fisher-Price Little People. He is helped down to the floor by Stretch and meets Barbie and Ken, who welcome him to a now cool and groovy Sunnyside, of which the two are leaders. He is missing his ion blaster. He is later seen doing the robot dance during a disco in the Butterfly Room.
It was revealed on Lee Unkrich's now defunct Formspring that this was a different Zurg than the one in Toy Story 2.
From Official Website:
|“||The ultimate force of evil in the galaxy, terrifying tyrant Emperor Zurg is unswerving in his quest to destroy his enemy, Buzz Lightyear.||”|
- Before Zurg made his first appearance in Toy Story 2, he was mentioned in the first Toy Story movie. An earlier version of him is shown in an alternate opening of the first film.
- Zurg's character may appear to draw from Darth Vader, a main villain in the Star Wars original trilogy, with a similar voice, appearance, and set of mannerisms. A notable difference between the two, however, is that Zurg, as implied by his title, acted as absolute ruler, while Darth Vader merely acted as the enforcer of the Galactic Empire and the second in command to Empire's actual ruler, Palpatine.
- In the first Toy Story, Buzz mentions that Zurg is building a "weapon with the destructive capacity to annihilate an entire planet," making a reference to the Death Star from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- In Toy Story 2, as Zurg and Utility Belt Buzz battle, the former lifts the latter off the floor by his "neck," and Buzz uses both hands to try to wrench Zurg's hand off him. A similar manner occurred at the beginning of the original Star Wars where Darth Vader lifts up a rebel soldier off the floor by his neck and the rebel soldier also uses both hands to try to wrench Vader's hand off him.
- During the same battle, Zurg claims to be Buzz's father, a word-to-word parody of when Darth Vader reveals he is Luke Skywalker's father in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
- In the opening for the film, just before fighting Buzz (or rather, Rex while the latter was playing the video game), Zurg says "So, we meet again, Buzz Lightyear, for the last time!", as well as a similar exchange when the toy Zurg ambushes the toys in the elevator of Al's apartment, was a paraphrase of Vader's line to Obi-Wan from A New Hope, "We meet again, Obi-Wan Kenobi, for the last time.", just prior to dueling him aboard the Death Star.
- Although not in the movie itself, the novelization has Utility Belt Buzz dragging Zurg's lifeless body back to Al's Toy Barn to "rest", which was similar to how Luke dragged Vader to the latter's shuttle in the climax to Return of the Jedi (as Vader wasn't able to get himself to the shuttle thanks to his life support armor suffering irreparable damage and leaving him a quadriplegic as a result of taking a full dose of Emperor Palpatine's Force Lightning in order to save Luke from being killed).
- In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Zurg only briefly claims to be Buzz Lightyear's father in order to distract him during battle. After doing so, he knocks Buzz over and mocks him for actually falling for it, hinting that Zurg may not actually be Buzz Lightyear's father, and Pixar just wanted to make a Star Wars reference.
- Coincidentally, Zurg's overall design, particularly the helmet, was reminiscient of the Star Wars Legends character Kueller.
- Zurg being the main antagonist of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins makes him the second main Toy Story villain to be a toy, after Stinky Pete, the overall main antagonist of Toy Story 2. Although, technically, the Zurg used in both instances was the actual Zurg from an in-universe TV series than one that was truly a toy.
- Zurg is the only Toy Story 2 villain to appear in Toy Story 3, as Stinky Pete and Al do not appear once, nor are they mentioned.
- The New Buzz spending "quality time" with Zurg may possibly be a reference to Kevin Costner's character Ray Kinsella reunited and playing catch with his father in the final scene of Field of Dreams.
- Zurg's species in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command is unknown, as he is never seen not wearing his helmet.
- Zurg appears as a playable character exclusive to the PlayStation 3 version of Toy Story 3: The Video Game, along with his custom-made car.
- Zurg appears in the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster Level in Kinect Disneyland Adventures.
- While Zurg and New Buzz fight atop the elevator, as the talk button of New Buzz is repeatedly hit, it skips the message "Buzz-- Buzz-- Buzz Lightyear to the rescue," which also happens when Woody and Andy's Buzz fight underneath Andy's car at the gas station in Toy Story.
- When looking at the shot where Zurg is about to finish the New Buzz off, it is noticeable that the levels on his gun are numbered to 11, a reference to Nigel Tufnel's amplifier in This is Spinal Tap.
- Zurg is also similar to Captain Gantu from the Lilo & Stitch franchise, being that they are both tall characters and have deep voices.
- According to Pixarpedia, Zurg's last name is unknown and his talent is "threatening the universe".
- A fun meal miniature figure of Zurg appeared in the Toy Story Toons short Small Fry.
- Zurg was actually to have a slightly bigger role in Toy Story 3, according to the original script. He was one of the recalled toys along with Buzz Lightyear. A quite insane Zurg was the first one to introduce Buzz to his ultimate fate of not being repaired, but sent to the toy crusher. Much easier to just ship out a new one than actually repair the recalled toys.
- The character may also be based on Emperor Ming in the 1980 film Flash Gordon, because he sports a cape similar to that of Ming's and is referred to as "Emperor".
- During Woody's nightmare earlier in the film, some of the the mismatched toy arms in the trash can Woody was discarded in belonged to Zurg (although there were a couple color variations).
- Zurg was based partially off Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich's favorite toy, the Six Million Dollar Man.
- The "Zerg" faction in the Blizzard produced computer game Starcraft originally had their name spelled identically to Emperor Zurg's during the game's earlier builds. However, in order to avoid possible copyright issues, the faction later had its name re-spelled with an "e" instead of a "u."
- According to concept art, Zurg is really just a small alien in robotic armor.
- In one Buzz Lightyear of Star Command intro, a Zurg toy is seen in Andy's room (replacing Hamm) possibly meaning that Andy might've had a Zurg toy or borrowed one from a friend at one time. However, it is unknown what happened with it, but most likely it was donated, given back (if it was indeed just borrowed), sold, or thrown away during the events between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. It is also unknown what relationship he had with Buzz. On the other hand, however, this may just be non-canon.
- In the Buzz Lightyear episode "The Lightyear Factor", Zurg enters an alternate universe where he finds an Evil Buzz Lightyear ruling the galaxy. The Zurg from that universe was a burger guy at Cosmo's restaurant, not having what it took to be "ultimate evil."
- In World of Cars Online, Zurg has a cameo where he is depicted as a train in an arcade game.
- Zurg's "villainy" may have been due to the fact that Zurg (the toy) actually thinks that he is the real Zurg and not just a toy, very much like how the toy Buzz Lightyear actually thinks that he is the real Buzz. It's implied that the toy Zurg is actually friendly, had he realized that he is just a toy.
- Zurg appeared in the 2015 live-action Disney movie, Tomorrowland.
- It is unknown what he is the emperor of.
- In the novelization of Toy Story 2, Zurg was dragged back to Al's Toy Barn by Utility Belt Buzz instead of playing catch with him, with it noting that Zurg wasn't stirring, although it was nonetheless implied that Zurg nonetheless survived his fall from the elevator when Rex accidentally shoved him due to it mentioning that Buzz was taking him back to "rest."
- "Come to me, my prey."
- —Video Game Zurg tracks Video Game Buzz Lightyear's location through his fortress
- "Destroy Buzz Lightyear. Destroy Buzz Lightyear. Destroy Buzz Lightyear."
- —Emperor Zurg, as he chases Andy's Buzz across the parking lot of Al's Toy Barn
- Zurg: "Surrender, Buzz Lightyear. I have won!"
- New Buzz: "I'll never give in. You killed my father!"
- Zurg: "No, Buzz. I am your father."
- New Buzz: "NO!!!"
- ―Emperor Zurg and New Buzz, as they battle[src]
- Rex: "Buzz, you could have defeated Zurg all along! You just need to believe in yourself!"
- (Rex gasps as Zurg aims his ion blaster at New Buzz's head)
Zurg: "Prepare to die!"
- Rex: "I can't look!" (Rex turns away, his tail knocks Zurg down the elevator shaft) "I did it. I finally defeated Zurg!"
- New Buzz: "Father..."
- ―Rex defeats Zurg by accident[src]
- New Buzz: "I got it!"
- Buzz: "Buzz, are you coming?"
- New Buzz: "No, I...I have a lot of catchin' up to do with my dad."
- (New Buzz throws the ball back at Zurg; it hits him on his head)
Zurg: "Good throw, son. That's my boy. Go long, Buzzy!"
- (Zurg fires another ball for New Buzz to catch)
New Buzz: "Oh, you're a great dad! Yippee!"
- Buzz: "Farewell."
- ―Andy's Buzz runs into New Buzz, who is playing catch with Zurg[src]