Lightyear’s James Brolin Made A Hysterical Comparison Between Zurg And Thanos, Who’s Played By His Son

The evil Emperor Zurg from the Toy Story franchise isn’t the same villain audiences will be seeing on the screen in the upcoming movie Lightyear. Without spoiling any specifics, there’s been a lot of changes made to this character that portray him as a more serious threat than ever before; and screen legend James Brolin is an important part of that transformation. Though he didn’t know much about the part going in, Brolin is now able to make a hysterical comparison between his Disney/Pixar baddie and his son Josh Brolin’s Thanos from the MCU. 

Lightyear’s press day was an amazing experience I was able to attend, which put me in a position to talk to some of the cast and crew behind the film. While Chris Evans had help understanding Lightyear role as the “real” Buzz Lightyear, it was stated by many of the other cast members for the project that they went into their roles blind. Knowing what he knows now about the new and improved Zurg, James Brolin shared these thoughts on how he stacks up against Thanos with CinemaBlend:

…it sounds like it’s gonna be part of the latest news that we’re going to finally have it out, you know? I gotta start going to Gold’s Gym and catch up with him, because this is gonna be a nasty fight. He’s already killed half of the universe, man. I’ve gotta catch up.

Father versus son may be the sort of thing Disney fans are used to in the Star Wars galaxy, but a crossover battle between Zurg and Thanos would be exceedingly interesting. Seeing and hearing these two mad titans go head to head is a matchup worthy of any toy box, especially if Josh and James Brolin are game for it. Then again, Josh Brolin interviewed himself about Thanos, so that feels like an indication that the Avengers: Endgame actor is up for anything.

The tweaks to the scale and motivations of Buzz Lightyear’s ultimate foe have made the more terrifying Zurg shown in Lightyear’s trailers. If there was anyone who could take Thanos on, it’s the variant that actually shoots lasers out of his robotic suit of mystery. No offense to the toy version from Toy Story 2, voiced by Pixar creative mind Andrew Stanton, but as James Brolin himself put it, Thanos wiped out half the universe. That’s not a threat that ping pong balls and a laser pointer can stand up against.

Silly as that discussion may be, it’s also part of why the movie works so well. As I noted in Lightyear’s official review, co-writer/director Angus MacLane’s treatment of the material goes above and beyond what most may have expected. This is, after all, the movie that young Andy sees in the Toy Story universe that inspires him to start collecting Buzz Lightyear toys. The ultimate challenge was to nail the reality of the movie within the movie, and a proper hero needs the right villain to pull that off.

Without any specifics in play, let’s just say that the Zurg from Lightyear is definitely someone who Thanos would both identify with, but also see as a potential foe. Disney fans old and new have a lot to look forward to with James Brolin’s new spin on an old enemy, and they’ll be able to blast off in early showings tonight. Of course, Disney+ subscribers looking to go to infinity and beyond can indulge in the Toy Story collection of titles, thanks to that very streaming service. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.