Emperor Zurg (also known as Evil Emperor Zurg or simply Zurg) is a recurring villain of the Toy Story franchise. He is the Sworn Enemy of the Galactic Alliance and the archenemy of Buzz Lightyear and first appeared in the 1999 film Toy Story 2, as the tertiary antagonist. He later became the main antagonist of the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command television series and it's movie: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins from 2000. He also appears in the credits of the 2010 film Toy Story 3 as one of the new toys being donated to Sunnyside Daycare.
Zurg appears in two forms in Toy Story 2.
The first form appears during the opening sequence, 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 Buzz Lightyear: Attack on Zurg, a video game Rex is playing.Much later in the film, an incarnation of Zurg is later accidentally released by Andy's Buzz Lightyear in Al's Toy Barn. Believing himself to be real much like Andy's Buzz has done in the first film, he pursues after Andy's Buzz to destroy him. He seems to have followed Andy's 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 Andy's 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 an "alternate" Buzz Lightyear action figure (also released from Al's Toy Barn by Andy's Buzz Lightyear), who also believes himself to be real. Both the "alternate" 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 "alternate" Buzz and Zurg atop an elevator, where Zurg uses his chief weapon (which appears to be a Nerf ball gun). During this battle, after overpowering the other Buzz, Zurg reveals he is Buzz Lightyear's father (a parody of the duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) and same as Optimus Prime and Megatron. As Zurg sets his gun to his highest level and is about to finish the "alternate" Buzz off (at point-blank range), Rex, not bearing to watch the duel anymore, turns his back, but his large thick tail hits Zurg, knocking him off balance and falling down the elevator shaft to his supposed death. While Rex finally feels excited about finally overcoming his frustration toward not being able to defeat Zurg previously, the "alternate" Buzz feels forlorn about losing his father. Zurg seems to have survived the fall as he and the "alternate" Buzz are seen playing catch and spending "quality time" together when the "original" Buzz and his rescue squad make their way out of Al's apartment. The "alternate" Buzz describes Zurg as a "great dad" as he rushes to catch another ball fired by Zurg.
After this, it is unknown what became of the two.
Zurg is mentioned by a brainwashed Buzz Lightyear (as Lotso had earlier reset him to Demo Mode), as he sees Andy's toys as minions of Zurg. Zurg himself makes a brief appearance in the end credits of Toy Story 3, 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. It is unknown what actually happened to his ion blaster unless it was lost by his previous owner. It is also unknown whether he thinks he's the "real" Zurg or if he already knows that he's just a toy. He is later seen doing the robot dance.
It was revealed on Lee Unkrich's now defunct Formspring that this was a different Zurg than the one in Toy Story 2.
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins
- Main article: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Star Command
- Main article: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
- ""EVIL RULES!""
- —Emperor Zurg in the series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
Zurg is the main villain of the series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, in which he rules over Planet Z and wants to take over the entire universe. His subjects are Grubs, which are similar to Star Command's Little Green Men, Brain Pods, who work for him as scientists and researchers, and an army of Hornets, which are his robotic foot soldiers used for battle. One of his henchmen is Warp Darkmatter, who was once Buzz's partner but had been secretly working for Zurg and given the codename "Agent Z." This incarnation of Zurg is a flamboyant villain who often breaks the seriousness of his evil statements, and is just as much a comic relief character as he is a formidable opponent. In one of his scantest appearances in a Buzz Lightyear episode, Zurg is considered to be the chief suspect in the disappearance of various senators, but Zurg scoffs at "Kidnapping politicians? Even I would not stoop to that!" then challenges all his underlings if they were doing such a stunt behind his back "Come on everyone, out with it!"
He is known for videotaping Buzz's speeches so he can secretly mock him, and in one episode tells Buzz that he is his father during a fight (just like he did in Toy Story 2) only to gain the upper hand by using the statement as a "Made You Look" moment to trick Buzz, which strongly suggests that he is not of Buzz's parentage, and that only the toy from the movie believed himself to be the father of the Buzz toy. Despite his campy nature, he is still widely considered the most evil person in the galaxy. In the animated series, he is voiced by Wayne Knight, who had also been in the first film to introduce Zurg, Toy Story 2, where he voiced Al McWhiggin, the other antagonist.
Emperor Zurg is one of the villains that appear in Disney INFINITY. He is apart of the final mission in the Toy Story in Space playset after the player conquers all of the simulation missions. He appears as a giant version of himself in the skies above the alien planet, unable to be attacked or interacted with. The player has to gather the batteries to convert the great tower in the alien city into a shrink ray. Once powered up, the laser is fired and Zurg is shrunk down to toy size and later given to Buzz as a trophy for their heroics. However, soon after, he comically attacks everyone with blasts from his blaster before scurrying off to who knows where.
In the 3DS version, he appears on a game board where the player must start up the shield generators and beat Zurg. He also a character is faced off against in the adventure games.
- 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.
- In Toy Story 2, Zurg claims to be Buzz Lightyear's father, and then the two spend time together as father and son. However, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- When Zurg lifts Utility Belt Buzz off the floor by his "neck," 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.
- Buzz #2 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 Buzz #2 fight atop the elevator, as the talk button of Buzz #2 is repeatedly hit, it skips the message "Buzz... Buzz... Buzz Lightyear to the rescue," which also happens when Woody and 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 Buzz #2 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.
- 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, since this is just an intro.
- 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, due to 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.
Characters: Buzz Lightyear | Mira Nova | Booster Munchapper | XR | Commander Nebula | LGMs | Ty Parsec | Rocket Crockett | Plasma Boy | Petra Hammerhold | Emperor Zurg | Grubs | Brain Pods | Hornets | Varg | Warp Darkmatter | Gravitina | NOS-4-A2 | Torque | XL | Madame President | King Nova | Dr. Ozma Furbanna | Vicki Vortex
Disney Parks: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters