Evil Emperor Zurg or better known as Emperor Zurg or simply known as Zurg is a rogue monarch and dictator in opposition to Star Command and the Galactic Alliance, Buzz Lightyear's arch-nemesis, and the most widely-feared villain and criminal in the galaxy. His chief goal seems to be to dominate the galaxy, each planet and entirely; the first phase to this campaign being the conquering of the Galactic Alliance and the defeat of its armed forces at Star Command. However, his enmity with Buzz Lightyear and the sabotage of his plans by he and Team Lightyear consistently thwarts this goal. While not the only domestic threat to the Galactic Alliance, he poses perhaps the greatest, and often confederates with other villains, ruffians, and enemies of the state from across the Galaxy.
Just as little to nothing is known of Commander Nebula's backstory (or indeed, the very setting of the Galactic Alliance), neither is it known how Zurg came to power, or his origins as an individual. Consistently throughout his recorded actions, he governs (and seemingly constructed, employing a variety of centrally-controlled technological and logistical systems) a vastly powerful, sinister empire and dictatorship the warlike actions of which constantly threaten the sanctity of the galaxy and the Galactic Alliance. The rule by strength system imposed by Zurg suggests that his realm is a rogue state, a terrorist hermit-kingdom of sorts; yet he seems to treat it as though it were merely a bizarre business or corporation of which he is in charge.
It is also unknown how many planets and sectors he possesses in his governance, but it is apparent that several lie within his borders; such as the Mine-Panet in "Shiv Katall," in addition to his capital at Planet Z.
In regards to his personal origins, nearly nothing can be found, but it can be inferred that they were disfunctional. He claims to have had a grandmother named (or nicknamed) "Nana Zurg", who he describes as "plenty evil." He appears to have had a close relationship with his mother, as he often mentions her while sleeping. This may suggest an unhealthy relationship with authority figures, which in turn could explain his distinct megalomania. In one episode, "Stranger Invasion", in battle with Lightyear, he claimed to be his father; yet, this was but a ploy to distract the Space Ranger and give Zurg the upper hand. He was quick to pass off the claim as a "Made You Look" scheme. Nonetheless, the potent grudge against Zurg held by Buzz suggests that some grief lay between them, for which Buzz sought revenge.
Zurg takes the form of a tall, thin-built but broad-chested humanoid of unknown species clad in armor and robes of royal purple. His head is always sealed in a great helmet crowned with horns, through which a pair of angular red eyes and a grille of yellow teeth (or at least a frowning bevor or mouthpiece) stare forth. His chest is clad in a grey and purple chassis, possibly of steel, his arms in gauntlets of steel tipped with cruel claws. His feet are shrouded by long, imperial robes of purple, and over all he dons a dramatic black cape lined with red, with upturned lapels in vampiric fashion. The clasp on of his cape is emblazoned with "Z," and it apparently functions as a sort of control panel for his various systems, for with it, he can activate his rocket boots, permitting him the ability of flight. Although not obvious at first glance, due to his obscuring robes, he does indeed have feet, demonstrated by his rocket boots which he apparently "got on sale".
It is obvious that Zurg's visage is that of an armor-clad humanoid, rather than some robotic form, as he was physically reduced to a blob-like creature in The Crawling Flesh, wherein he wore his helmet over a blob-like helmet with a newly visible mouth. Despite this, Zurg's supposed true appearance has never been seen, leaving the identity of his actual race unknown.
Evil Emperor Zurg is not your usual despicably evil supervillain. Despite being the most evil and nefarious villain of the galaxy for years on end and a constant thorn in the side of Star Command, Zurg has been known to take himself less than seriously, and actually seems to have a well-developed (if demented) sense of humor. He does, however, pride himself in his showmanship, making strong efforts to present himself as a fearful, intimidating Emperor.
His evil schemes are routinely less-than-stellar in design (such as one scheme to make children afraid to eat their vegetables so that years later they would be too weak to fight when he invades, a plan which only Buzz thought clever), and he is quick to shunt the blame for failures onto others' shoulders (usually his Grubs or Brain Pods). His main downfall whenever fighting against Buzz Lightyear, his nemesis, is the trademark error of every villain: the gloating monologue. Because of this, Zurg has never won out of the 3,247 times  he's tried.
He has a strange fear of being touched, mentioning something about "personal space" and "cooties" in the episodes "The Torque Armada" and "The Main Event". He is also somewhat picky about his schemes, claiming when politicians were being kidnapped that he would never do something "so obvious." When Team Lightyear disbelieved this, Zurg then called their bluff and said to his underlings, "Is anyone going behind my back? Come on, out with it!" When Gravitina and the others denied abducting anyone from Capital Planet, Zurg's innocence was finally believed, only for him to say to Buzz, "but we do have something good cooking up, just you wait!"
- Laser Vision: He has laser vision, but rarely uses it in battle, and seems to use it when losing his temper. Whether this is a species trait or an artificial enhancement is unknown.
- He is also shown melting a military gun from a distance with no visible lasers, but with his eyes glowing, suggesting something more akin to heat-vision.
- Weapon Gauntlets: He also has gauntlets which can transform into weapons (a la Warp Darkmatter's right arm) as seen in "Holiday Time", "War and Peace and War" and "The Main Event".
- Ion Blaster: Zurg's signature weapon is a tri-barrel Ion-blaster, which configure around either of his gauntlets.
- Claws: In "The Adventure Begins" he has sharp talons capable of cutting through glass.
- Electricity Generation: In "The Adventure Begins" he was shown creating a ball of electricity from his fingers to torture the LGMs.
- The back box art of "The Adventure Begins" video also displays Zurg shooting lasers from his fingers, but this ability was never seen on the show.
- Flight: Zurg wears a pair of unseen rocket boots under his robe to propel himself through the air and space in the same respect as Buzz's rocket pack.
- Super Reflexes: Zurg possesses highly advanced physical reflexes; for example, while invading Roswell, he was able to catch a missile with his bare hands.
- Super Strength: Zurg has demonstrated above-average levels of strength, able to destroy machinery with his bare hands, although it is unknown if this strength is natural or the result of his armor.
- Master Combatant: Despite his preference for weapons of destruction, Zurg is also highly skilled at hand to hand combat and able to physically battle Buzz Lightyear unarmed, but he is unable to defeat him.
- Torque: During the events of The Torque Armada, Zurg's interactions with the alien criminal revealed the evil emperor's sadistic glee in warning his patient that the operation would be incredibly painful at a time when the noise from the ambient machinery would drown out Zurg's words. When Torque asked what Zurg said, the horned fiend left the room with a smile on his face chucklingly stating that it wasn't important, all the while knowing the next thing he'd be hearing was Torque's guttural screams of agony. In order for Zurg and his minions to have made the technology and operation that could give Torque the ability to duplicate himself at will, detailed information and biological material would have to have been gathered from the multi-limbed alien ahead of time. With access to massive amounts of resources and skill and technology, it is dubious that the operation would have required Torque to experience such extreme levels of pain. With this in mind, it is clear that Zurg sees Torque as little more than a tool to be toyed and with the exception of killing him, Zurg holds little to no regard for the alien's life or health except as it serves Zurg's purposes.
- Buzz Lightyear: Zurg's arch-nemesis and at the same time, tragically, his only mortal friend in the galaxy, the relationship between Buzz Lightyear and Zurg is comical yet deeper than it appears at first glance; both Buzz and Zurg seem have been raised primarily by their respective grandmothers from an early age, both men are the peak of their respective mindsets and lifestyles, but while Buzz invested in a life of service which led to him becoming a highly honored member of wholesome communities, Zurg, whether by choice or inheritance, invested in a life of selfishness which led to him ending up alone in the dark.
"Curse you Buzz Lightyear!" - Zurg's catchphrase.
- "That's just jim-crackin'-dandy!"
- "Miss him now?"
- "Evil rules!"
- "Buzz, I am your father."
- "Psych! Made you look you dimwit!"
- "Not forty-two, any number but forty-two, why does this always have to happen to me?!"
- "And can't you come up with a shorter name for it, like, 'Evil Take Over Thingy'?"
- "Hold your fire! Don't damage the HYPER DEATH RAY!"
- "Want fries with that, ma'am?"
- "You do need a vacation."
- "Ta-ta, Lightyear."
- Zurg's species is a subject of much debate in the fandom, but there is canonical evidence that rules out him being a robot. He requests a glass of water, eats popcorn, and is shown coming back from recently using the restroom. In The Crawling Flesh, he is affected by Brain Pod 26's gas and turns into to a blob, a sign that he is organic. Also, the robot vampire NOS-4-A2 doesn’t try to consume Zurg, another sign that he is organic.
- When enslaving the people of Roswell, Zurg states that he is an "equal opportunity enslaver", a parody of the phrase "equal opportunity employer."
- He has a troll doll collection, according to "The Starthought".
- A little-known fact is that Zurg is afraid of the dark.
- A few of his hobbies include videotaping Buzz's speeches for his personal entertainment, and evil bowling (with the Grubs as his pins).
- Zurg is voiced by actor and comedian Wayne Knight, who had previously portrayed Al McWhiggin in Toy Story 2. In the same film, Zurg was previously voiced by writer Andrew Stanton.
- Many episodes featuring Zurg often end with him loudly cursing Buzz Lightyear, even if Buzz was not the actual one behind his defeat.
- Zurg telling Buzz he was his father is a reference to Toy Story 2 in which a Zurg toy told the new Buzz Lightyear toy the same thing which, in itself, is a reference to the famous "I am your father" scene from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
- According to Santa Claus, Zurg is the number one on the naughty list.
- Coincidentally, Zurg nearly succeeded in his most evil act of destroying Christmas but was foiled by Team Lightyear.
- "The Main Event", Ep. 10. Victor Cook (Director) & Gary Sperling (Writer). Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Disney Enterprises, Inc./Pixar Animation Studios. October 12, 2000.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Robotic
- "NOS-4-A2", Ep. 06. Victor Cook (Director) & Michael A. Medlock (Writer). Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Disney Enterprises, Inc./Pixar Animation Studios. October 8, 2000.
- "The Starthought", Ep. 42. Don MacKinnon (Director) & Kevin Hopps (Story Editor) & Lisa Klink (Writer). Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Disney Enterprises, Inc./Pixar Animation Studios. November 19, 2000.
- "The Adventure Begins", Pilot. Tad Stones (Director) & Bill Motz, Bob Roth (Writers). Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Disney Enterprises, Inc./Pixar Animation Studios. August 8, 2000.