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How Lightyear Completely Changes Zurg's Origin Story From Toy Story 2

Contains spoilers for "Lightyear"

"Lightyear" finally brings the high-flying adventures of the famous Pixar character to a new realm. Acting as a movie-within-a-movie that explores Buzz's origins as the intergalactic space ranger, "Lightyear" sees Buzz marooned on a mysterious planet and trying to find a way to get himself and his crew back to Earth all while taking down a horde of robots that threaten their safety. Starring Chris Evans in the titular role, alongside Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, and Peter Sohn, the film presents an ambitious new step for Pixar into a sci-fi action epic akin to the likes of "RoboCop," "Alien," and other iconic sci-fi movies.

As a film connected to the "Toy Story" universe, however, "Lightyear" couldn't get away without referencing other elements of the beloved animated franchise outside of Buzz Lightyear himself. One of these is Buzz's sworn enemy, the evil Emperor Zurg (James Brolin), probably best-known for his appearance in 1999's "Toy Story 2." In "Lightyear," he fits into a similar role as the main antagonist, but one major difference between the two versions of the character may have some fans scratching their heads.

Zurg is an alternate, older version of Buzz in Lightyear

In "Toy Story 2," Zurg (Andrew Stanton) is accidentally released from his toy box when Buzz (Tim Allen) and the others are at Al's Toy Barn. During a battle atop an elevator with a new identity-confused Buzz who has tagged along with the gang from the toy store, Zurg tells him, "No, Buzz. I am your father." An obvious reference to the famous twist in "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back," it's a funny moment with an even more comedic resolution, in which the new Buzz and Zurg happily play catch together.

"Lightyear" takes the idea in a new direction. Toward the beginning of the film, Buzz makes several attempts to reach hyperspeed, but the four minutes he spends on each test run equate to four years on the planet, meaning that everyone on its surface continues to age while Buzz virtually does not. After Zurg captures him and brings him aboard his ship, Buzz learns that Zurg is actually an alternate version of himself from the future.

This version of Buzz returned from a successful hyperspeed test only to find Star Command waiting to arrest him. Rather than submit to authority, Buzz goes further into the future and finds technology that allows him to travel back in time. His plan is to use Buzz Prime's fuel source to help send them back in time before the ship crashes, which would mean that the planet's future generations, including Buzz's new friends, would cease to exist.

"Lightyear" certainly takes liberties with the relationship between Buzz and Zurg as presented in "Toy Story 2," but in doing so, it takes on an identity all its own.