- “Cy-Bugs are like a virus. They don't know they're in a game. All they know is eat, kill, multiply! Without a beacon to stop them, they'll consume Sugar Rush! But do you think they'll stop there?"
"WRONG! VIRUSES DO NOT STOP! Once those Cy-Bugs finish off Sugar Rush, they'll invade every other game until this arcade is nothing but a smoking husk of forgotten dreams.”
- ―Sergeant Calhoun explaining Cy-Bugs to Fix-It Felix Jr.
The Cy-Bugs are the secondary antagonists of Disney's 2012 animated feature film, Wreck-It Ralph. They are a race of viral, robotic, bug-like creature viruses that serve as the generic enemies in the game Hero's Duty. Due to a programming error, Cy-Bugs are unable to tell the difference between the game and real life, meaning they are truly malevolent creatures. Their only instincts are to eat, kill, and multiply their swarm, while their greatest weakness are beacons of light. The soldiers of Hero's Duty remain in constant battle with the bugs, to prevent them from escaping the game, taking over the arcade, and destroying every game in their wake.
The Cy-Bugs, as their name suggests, are robotic creatures closely resembling insects, most notably silverfish. Like insects, they are instinctive and only have three motives: eat, kill, and multiply. They live in organized groups, attacking in swarms and devouring anything in their path, making them a powerful force to be reckoned with. Because they were created to be destructive enemies in-game, they are non-sapient and dangerous beings in both game and reality as opposed to villains who are simply evil in their game. This effectively makes them computer viruses if released in the game world.
In Hero's Duty, their eggs are kept at the tower for every new game that starts, because they are native to the program and cannot be removed. Hatchlings are just as vicious as the adults and grow at a rapid rate. A single Cy-Bug can lay hundreds of eggs, given the proper conditions to survive and sustain them. The most notable (and deadly) ability the Cy-Bugs contain is turning into anything they eat, be it organic or inorganic. The results can range from simply changing parts of themselves into weapons (e.g. when one ate Ralph's gun and turned its appendages into the same kind) to a completely different form of the original (e.g. when many ate the contents of Sugar Rush, turning their carapaces into candy, cakes, and chocolate). Devouring other characters causes them to transform into a horrific fusion of the character (e.g. King Candy) and the bug, and the character seems to become the dominant personality (but more psychotic and sinister), while retaining the Cy-Bugs' basic instincts.
Though they are mighty opponents, the Cy-Bugs do have weaknesses. Laser guns from Hero's Duty and other weapons can destroy Cy-Bugs as long as the guns aren't eaten; otherwise, the Cy-Bugs can use their own foe's weapon against them. Devouring fragile objects will also cause the Cy-Bug to lose their armor and become much more vulnerable to physical attacks: for instance, when they devoured the candy from Sugar Rush, they were easily crushed by Ralph. Their greatest weakness is their attraction to immense rays of light, similar to a real bug's attraction to a bug zapper. Once they sense a form of light, the Cy-Bugs cannot stop themselves from heading towards it, even if it is lethal. As a result, a special beacon has been built into the tower that attracts and destroys them between games.
Powers and abilities
- Insect Physiology: True to their appearance and name, Cy-Bugs take on the form of insects.
- Absorption Consumption: Cy-Bugs are capable of mimicking whatever object/person they eat. However, a Cy-Bug that devours foreign material will undergo a drastic metamorphosis instead of a minor adaptation. So far, these forms have been shown:
- Candy Physiology - Cy-Bugs take on the form of various confectioneries that they consume after destroying Sugar Rush. Some gain hard protective armor and the ability to curl up into a ball and roll around.
- Electricity generation - Cy-Bugs that consume a street lamp turn their abdomens into light bulbs that can generate large quantities of electrical energy; the charged up energy is then released for long-ranged attacks.
- Hybridity - Cy-Bugs that consume characters mutate into hybrids of the Cy-Bug and its victim. These sort of mutations are far more powerful than any Cy-Bug mutation due to possessing rational thought.
The Cy-Bugs first appear in the first-person shooter game, Hero's Duty, preparing to attack a fleet of soldiers. When Ralph interfered with the game, one of them came close to nearly killing Ralph and the player. This forced the soldiers to end the game early and stopped the swarm by launching the tower's beacon of light, immediately attracting the Cy-Bugs and killing the swarm. Later, Ralph climbed to the top of the tower to achieve the gold medal and accidentally hatched one of the eggs at the top. The hatchling clung to Ralph, causing him to become disorientated and fall into an escape pod. The two were launched out of the tower into Game Central Station and then into Sugar Rush. The hatchling quickly grew and ate away some of the escape pod and proceeded to attack Ralph. However, the escape pod's ejection button caused Ralph and the Cy-Bug to be flung in the air, with the Cy-Bug being slammed into a Candy Cane tree and tossed into a pond of extremely sticky taffy, where the Cy-Bug seemingly drowned.
It is revealed that the Cy-Bug survived and burrowed its way underground. It found a yellow candy root with purple stripes and eats it, but transforms into a purple candy hybrid with yellow stripes as a result. Sergeant Calhoun later discovers its massive nest, where the Cy-Bug had quickly reproduced, multiplied, and created more candy-bug hybrids by feeding its offspring with the indigenous sweets of the land.
The Cy-Bugs make their move when the race begins, and destroy everything in sight. The attack forces the evacuation of the Sugar Rush residents, but leaves the racers Vanellope von Schweetz and King Candy in danger. When Vanellope discovers King Candy was Turbo, she escapes from him and races ahead, but Turbo gets swallowed by one and ends up taking control of it, turning into a viral hybrid monster, and becomes the Cy-Bugs' leader. Ralph overhears Calhoun explaining to Felix that the bugs cannot be stopped without a beacon and comes up with an idea to erupt the Diet Cola Mountain to produce another beacon of light. Though Cy-Bug Turbo tries to kill him, Ralph breaks free from him and brings down an entire crater of Mentos into the lava, causing the mountain to erupt. The eruption produces the beacon, and the Cy-Bugs who have been closing in on Calhoun, Felix and Vanellope (who glitches past the bugs to go to Ralph's rescue) stop their advances, turn to the beacon, fly toward the light and get vaporized along with Turbo. This kills all the Cy-Bugs and Turbo for good.
A baby Cy-Bug figure can be seen amongst Fred's action figure collection in the film.
Hero's Duty Prequel Comic
The Cy-Bugs were originally created by the A-Toy Corporation scientist Dr. Brad Scott who conceived of them as advanced adaptable toys that would alter themselves based on how their owners played with them. However, the firm's executives immediately saw their potential for military use and moved development to a far off planet for further development. Dr. Scott tried to stop the weaponization of the project but his cries fell on deaf ears. The initial weaponization experiments immediately resulted in disaster and while most of the scientific team was evacuated, Brad stayed behind to try and hinder his creations' spread until the Space Marines arrived to help evacuate the civilian population. After meeting Calhoun's team and helping them light the beacon to allow for the civilian ships to get away, he fell in love with Calhoun and chose to remain to help control the continually growing Cy-Bug menace.
- The Cy-Bugs' power to assimilate anything they eat into their physical structure is probably a joke on the phrase "You are what you eat".
- Unlike many of the other video game characters, Cy-Bugs are incapable of regenerating even when they die in their own game.
- The Cy-Bug queen, the implied final boss of Hero's Duty, does not appear until the events of Wreck-It Ralph: The Video Game as the main villain. However, the events tied to the game could be considered non-canonical.
- The Cy-Bug that ate King Candy during the climax appears to be the same one that Ralph accidentally brought into Sugar Rush while escaping from Hero's Duty, as it has the very same appearance as that which ate the purple and orange peppermint tree root.
- The Cy-Bugs' name is a combination of "cyborg" and "bug".
- Their eyes change from green to blue when they enter their mesmerized state.
- The Cy-Bugs' weakness is light, which is similar to that of flies' weakness toward bug zappers.
- In earlier development of Ralph Breaks the Internet, when both Felix and Calhoun had a different storyline before being demoted to extras in the finished film, it was planned to feature flashbacks of Calhoun's early childhood, which would have revealed that her hatred for Cy-Bugs started when her mother was eaten by them.
- The Cy-Bugs are similar to Buzz Lightyear and Bolt, in that they both unaware that they were fictional characters living in worlds where everyone-else knew that they were fictional characters. However, while both Buzz and Bolt eventually realized this reality, the Cy-Bugs were incapable of understanding due to their faulty animal behavior and intelligence.
- Merghart, Jeff (November 21, 2018). "Disney’s Ralph Breaks The Internet/Wreck It Ralph2 Art!: Happy Homemakers" (Tumbleblog). Tumblr.