Lightyear Filmmakers Break Down The Movie’s Shocking Zurg Twist

Lightyear director Angus MacLane reveals the creative choice behind the film’s major twist and reveals regarding the film’s villain, Zurg.

Warning: Major Spoilers For Lightyear Below!

The director of Lightyear reveals the decision behind the Zurg twist in the film. Since his introduction in Toy Story In 1995, Buzz Lightyear’s backstory has been that he was a space ranger sworn to protect the galaxy from the evil emperor Zurg. In the film’s 1999 sequel Toy Story 2audiences got to see Zurg for the first time, and it is revealed that Zurg is actually Buzz’s father, in a nice homage to the twist ending of The Empire Strikes Back.

When it was announced that Pixar was making Lightyearthe in-universe movie that inspired the Buzz Lightyear toyline it was a question of how the film would incorporate Zurg being Buzz’s father into the film, or if they would at all and just regard the Toy Story 2 moment as a joke. In Lightyear, the evil Emperor Zurg is actually revealed to be a future version of Buzz (voiced by James Brolin), who traveled back in time to change his future. In a clever joke to the previous film, when Buzz sees the older version of himself, he first assumes it is his father.

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The decision to change Zurg’s backstory was revealed by Lightyear director Angus MacLane in an interview with IGN. The filmmakers did try to work with the father element, yet they realized it distracted from the story as audience members would just be waiting for the reveal of his father. Ultimately the choice came down to a thematic one, as making Zurg an older Buzz tied in with the fact that Buzz is his own worst enemy both emotionally and now given a physical manifestation in the form of his older self. MacLane said:

“We explored the father angle. But then the whole time you’re like, ‘It’s his father. It’s his father. Get to it. It’s his father.’ And then you’d have to really set up that his father was important in some way. But what we really found out, what we were really going for was the idea that Buzz’s greatest enemy is himself, literally and figuratively, and that it’s his passion to go back in time and correct the mistake that’s actually more self-destructive and world-destructive because it is his hubris. “


Lightyear and Zurg

While Zurg appears to have been beaten by the end of the film, Lightyear’s After-credits scene reveals Zurg floating in space with his eyes turning on, implying the villain will return to menace Buzz another day. While the hope might have been for the filmmakers to be able to make a sequel to Lightyearthe possibility looks a lot less clear as the film appears to be underperforming at the box office. Lightyear is competing with Jurassic World: Dominion for the number 1 spot at the weekend box office and will come in far below the opening weekend of the past two Toy Story films.

Canon has become an important aspect among creators and fans, most recently highlighted in audience reactions to some of the recent Star Wars series on Disney +, with many accusing Obi-Wan Kenobi’s writers of breaking canon. Lucasfilm and Marvel have prided themselves on their strict canon rules, yet this is the second time a Pixar movie has had to break the canon to tell its story, as Monsters University sees Mike and Sully meet in college where Monsters Inc. features a line referencing how they knew each other in Kindergarten. In both the case of Monsters University and Lightyearthe filmmakers decide to go with the decision to best tell their story instead of staying chained to the restraints of canon for what in many cases are single lines or jokes.


Next: How Monsters University Retconned Mike & Sulley’s Origin

Source: IGN

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