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Who Voices Emperor Zurg In Lightyear?

Pixar is finally heading back into theaters with its new, out-there adventure film "Lightyear." After 27 years, the space ranger voiced by Tim Allen in the "Toy Story" franchise has his very own prequel film — and fresh voice talent courtesy of former Captain America Chris Evans. In this new adventure, Buzz faces off against his archnemesis and sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance the evil Emperor Zurg.

Zurg made his debut in 1999's "Toy Story 2", looking like a cross between a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robot and Darth Vader — with the requisite family therapy sessions to match. Of course, with the new film going full-on space opera, Lightyear's adversary will be far more intimidating. Pixar tapped a true Hollywood star to give voice to this iteration of its galactic-scale villain. He knows a thing or two about on-screen villainy — and he's the father of one of Evans' greatest nemeses from MCU films past.

James Brolin voices Emperor Zurg in Lightyear

In the role of Zurg, Pixar cast Hollywood legend — and father to MCU veteran Josh Brolin – James Brolin, marking only his second turn at voice work in a career boasting 141 acting credits. The other was just last year, as the narrator of Netflix's charming adaptation of the comic book series "Sweet Tooth." Of course, while he may only be a cadet in the recording booth, his on-screen career attributed to some of the most groundbreaking entries in their relevant genre, which, like Buzz Lightyear himself, would be revisited decades later.

In 1973, he appeared alongside Richard Benjamin and Yul Brynner in "Westworld," which eventually earned itself a modern polish in 2016 when it was rebooted as a TV series on HBO, albeit without Brolin. In 1979, the actor petrified audiences by starring alongside Margot Kidder in "The Amityville Horror," which was revisited in 2005 with an up-and-coming Ryan Reynolds taking on the lead.

While Brolin's time at this evil bit of real estate proved he could go bad if necessary, Pixar was understandably looking for a slightly more family-friendly villain for "Lightyear," and he needed to look no further than his own son's performance as a stone-obsessed space tyrant to accomplish it.

James Brolin looked to Thanos to bring Zurg to life

Speaking to Empire (via CBR), James Brolin revealed that his point of reference for zeroing in on Zurg was his son's take on the Mad Titan, one of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Brolin found Thanos to be the perfect stepping-off point in bringing Buzz Lightyear's greatest foe to life, with full credit going to how he handled tearing the universe a new one. "You know, my son played a pretty mean guy," he said, referring to Brolin Jr.'s time as the stone-hunting antagonist. "[The filmmakers] talked about Zurg being threatening one minute, then nice, then conning... So I just started reading [with that in mind]."

It's a smart move to make given that Josh Brolin has presented the purple-skinned problem-causer as a force to be reckoned with since his brief appearance in the post-credits scene of "Guardians of the Galaxy" in 2014 — that is, right up until he was snapped out of existence thanks to a hero in an iron suit. See how James Brolin handles things as the nemesis of everyone's favorite space ranger in "Lightyear," out now.