Invader ZIM Wiki
20px-Cquote1.png The coming invasion... will not be stopped... by your... BURRITOS!

Invader Zim Episode
Episode OriginalPilot.png
Previous: N/A
Next: The Nightmare Begins
Episode No: 0
Production No: 0
Airdate: December 24, 2011 (created in December 24, 1999)
Writer(s): Jhonen Vasquez
Rob Hummel
Eva Almos
Ed Scharlach

The Pilot episode for Invader Zim was produced in 1999, but it was not part of the series' original run. The pilot was first made available to the public as part of the Doom Doom Doom DVD on May 11, 2004. It eventually aired on Nicktoons on December 24, 2011 as part of Nicktoons' Winter Funderland.


Zim's mission.

"At the forefront of a horrible alien plan for galactic conquest named Operation Impending Doom II is... Invader Zim! Sent ahead to gather information on the weaknesses and observe the terrifying customs of the doomed planet by ingeniously disguising himself as a normal, green, human boy. Himself the reason for the pathetic failure of Operation Impending Doom I, Zim is doubly determined to do the best job he can and regain the trust and confidence of his leaders, the Almighty Tallest! Together with his faithful half-robot, half-doggy companion and armed only with a ferocious devotion and bottomless reservoir of energy, Zim faces countless Earth perils undaunted to undermine filthy planet Earth's defenses, making it ripe for the impending alien... INVASION.

Dib called crazy again.

One day, at skool, Melvin gives a presentation for show-and-tell about his wish to become an astronaut, with a crude crayon drawing of him in a space suit for a visual aid. Not listening to the presentation, Dib attempts to talk to the classmate next to him, Tae, claiming that the new kid is an alien. Tae, however, brushes him off and calls him crazy, only to have his brain sneakily extracted by Zim.

Ms. Bitters berates Melvin.

Melvin's presentation fares about as well as Tae's brain: Upon its completion, Ms. Bitters is quick to condemn his ambition, burning his drawing to ashes just by holding it and stating that if he were to wear the suit he depicted, he would promptly implode in the cold vaccuum of space. Zim is also contemptuous, bursting into a fit of giggling as Ms. Bitters castigates Melvin. The teacher sits down, asking if there are any more comments, refusing to listen to any more of Dib's rants concerning Zim. The two students share a challenging stare-down until the bell rings moments later.

Gaz mocks her brother.

Zim's reaction to eating beans.

At the cafeteria, Zim looks around for a seat, unintentionally warding off other children with his efforts to state how "normal" he is. He looks at his meal and gags, while Gaz and Dib go and sit from a slight distance. Dib nudges his sister, pointing out that Zim doesn't even like the Skool's food.

Gaz notes that she doesn't like it either, and proceeds to mock Dib by saying that she must be an alien too, according to his logic. Ignoring her, he walks over to Zim and baits him into eating some beans; defending himself, Zim agrees. After chewing, he tries to affirm that he liked the beans, but falls to the ground almost immediately, his head beginning to swell and ooze green slime. Before anyone else is able to notice, the Irken drags himself back to his base. However, Gaz seems to notice.

Zim calls to GIR.

Robotic claws remove his lenses as Zim painfully pronounces that he does not like beans, coughs out some slime, and and has GIR make his head less "grotesque" by pumping the liquid out. Well again, the Invader walks to his kitchen and enters the lower area of his base via toilet.

Zim frustrated while playing "Pain Piggy".

Inside Dib's home, Dib complains to his sister about no one believing him, something that she responds to sarcastically and demands that he leave her alone. Continuing nonetheless, he comments on how he should expect more tricks and that he is undoubtedly well-trained (which is instantly proven unfounded by a quick cut back to Zim's Base, where the alien in question is seen screaming at a video game he just lost).

Dib then rhetorically asks Gaz if she saw what the beans did to him, concluding that Zim must have a weakness against it, and states that he will start a food fight tomorrow at lunch to expose him once and for all...

Zim and GIR go to the "Making Stuff Room".

Unbeknownst to Dib, Zim had attached a rather noticeable listening device to the back of Dib's head and is smirking evilly as he listens on. However, upon hearing that Dib plans to reveal his "evil" intestines, he is angered and calls GIR to meet him at the "Making Stuff Room" and tells him that he will show Dib the true meaning of superior beings.

Dib attacks.

The following day at lunch, Zim arrives in a large robot suit and casually greets the other children. Dib quickly notices and appears with an arm-mounted food launcher and boots it up. From far away, Gaz looks at the two and dryly comments that their fight will be entertaining.

Zim's suit malfunctions.

Zim compliments Dib's machine, which Dib thanks him for, claiming to have worked on it the whole night, before firing a giant meatball. It is quickly deflected, and hits a random student, triggering a cafeteria-wide food fight. Zim and Dib maintain their focus, seeing only each other amid the maelstrom. Zim captures another of Dib's attacks and taunts him, who in turn fires an immensely large amount of food, overloading Zim's force-field and causing him to squeal from within his suit. He snaps out of his fear and gathers more power.

Ms. Bitters arrives.

Dib asserts that Zim has chosen the wrong planet to invade, leading both to let their guards down when Zim asks what planet he is even on. When Dib replies that it is Earth, Zim lands an attack on Dib, heavily damaging his food launcher.

Zim laughs, but this victory is short-lived, as the suit malfunctions and all the children, with the exception of Dib, are pulled toward him. seeing the opportunity, Dib prepares to fire a large amount of beans at Zim. Zim claims that this will do nothing to stop the "Invasion". Dib quickly points out what Zim said, but is once again called crazy. A deranged smile growing on his face, Dib modifies the launcher for a final, powerful attack. This backfires, however, and the beans hit himself, causing an explosion. Ms. Bitters enters the cafeteria, and all the students put the blame on Dib for the mess.

Later, Dib is in detention writing "Zim is not an alien" over and over on the chalkboard, murmuring to himself that he was so close to victory. Ms. Bitters yells at Dib to continue writing, and that she doesn't want to hear another peep out of him. From the window, Zim arrives in an UFO and "peeps", getting Dib into even more trouble.

Facts of Doom


  • This episode is on the Invader Zim Doom Doom Doom DVD.
  • This is the only episode that is made with a cel animation style.
  • This episode was an animation test and went unaired until December 24, 2011 as part of Nicktoons' Winter Funderland. It was first aired twelve years after its completion and seven years after its first official release on DVD.
  • Zim's eyes in the pilot are light pink, rather then their usual ruby color. 
  • Dib's house looks the same as it does in the series, but Professor Membrane is absent as he probably hadn't been created for the series just yet.
  • The other students in Zim and Dib's class are largely different in this episode; Melvin is still there as is Zita in a later scene.
  • Zim is seen to play a video game, in the episode; other than Zim, Gaz is one of the only characters to play video games throughout the entire series.
  • Gaz seems to be unaware of the fact that Zim is an alien, but in the series she knows or alternatively she does know but decided not to say anything to simply keep continuing mocking her brother.
    • Strangely; in the pilot's script, Gaz was helping Zim because he needed a hand. This wasn't in the final version of the pilot.
  • Also, Gaz's eyes are blue, rather than the brown color they are in the main series.
  • When GIR is in Duty Mode, all his blue parts stay blue (including his eyes). In "The Nightmare Begins", when GIR went into Duty Mode, only his eyes turned red, while in other appearances when he goes into Duty Mode, all his blue parts (including his eyes) turn red.

Part of the 3D/CGI test.

  • There was a 3D/CGI test done of the food fight sequence, but footage of the sequence seems to be missing as only still photos of it exist online.
  • Billy West did the voice of Zim here, instead of Richard Steven Horvitz. However, Horvitz later recorded over West's lines as a tester sometime after his audition. This server can be seen here:
  • In the DVD commentary, Jhonen Vasquez reveals that Mark Hamill (famous for playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars and its sequels and voicing The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series) originally did the lines for Zim, but Jhonen felt during that time that he was unsuited for the role.
  • During Nick's early commercials, there were some clips used from this episode.
  • The "Game Over" voice of Pain Piggy sounds strongly similar to Terri Brosius who is known for voicing SHODAN in the System Shock series.
  • In this episode, Dib wears a yellow shirt, as opposed to the usual blue shirt he wears in later episodes. It's possible that this color change was made to accentuate on the dichotomy between Zim and Dib - Zim's color being red and Dib's being blue.
  • Richard Steven Horvitz was the only main cast member from the series that did not lend his voice in the pilot, at least initially.
  • The budget of this episode was $30.00.
  • In this episode Zim has four fingers. (In the series he has three)
  • It has been revealed that Andy Berman, who provides the voice of Dib, would have been providing Zim's voice if The Angry Beavers hadn't ended shortly before the voice actors were required, which freed up Richard Steven Horvitz. In "Ten Minutes to Doom", we can hear Dib talking like Zim, a phenomenon brought about when Zim's PAK accidentally disconnected from its owner, and latched itself onto Dib.

The color switch.

  • When Zim is shown inside the armor, his colors are switched around as they were in "NanoZIM", with Zim's skin being pink, and his eyes green. These are both a result of Zim being in darkness.
  • In the DVD commentary, Jhonen Vasquez reveals he chose Rosearik Rikki Simons to be the voice actor for GIR because he though Rikki just had a naturally ridiculous voice.
  • The scene where Dib writes "Zim is not an alien" over and over again is a parody of the The Simpsons chalkboard gag, where the character Bart Simpson writes as punishment over and over again on the school's chalkboard.
  • At the beginning of the episode Ms. Bitters was wearing purple clothes, while later in the end she was wearing black clothes.
  • In Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, one of the objects of Dib's memorabilia arsenal is his arm-mounted food launcher, which implies that the pilot may be canon, or at least similar events happened off-screen in the original series.
  • The episode can be viewed in full here.

Things You Might Have Missed

  • When Dib is writing "Zim is not an alien." over and over again during his detention, you will see written somewhere near the top "Zim kidnaps and dissects farm animals". There is also a drawing of an alien's head and, further down, the words "My hand hurts", "Yes he is", and "My hand is about to fall off".
  • When Zim flushes himself down the toilet to get to the base, there is a sign above the toilet that says "I eat food" (although it's more visible when the light comes on).
  • In this episode, Gaz has light blue eyes (with the exception of one scene when she was in the kitchen with Dib), while in the actual series, she has brown eyes.
  • Squee's possible cameo.

    One kid at the lunch table when Zim eats the beans bears an uncanny resemblance to Squee.
  • After the girl with the striped shirt passes in the food fight, GIR can be seen under the table in his dog suit.
  • In the scene where Dib is ranting in the cafeteria, pause frame-by-frame, because one second, Gaz and Zim are there listening to Dib prattle on and the next, they're gone, and the following scene shows Zim alone in his base.
  • Zita is one of the kids magnetized to Zim. However after the kids are magnetized, Zita appears further away from Zim and is perfectly fine.

Animation Errors

  • In the beginning when Zim says "Yes I do," when he says do, his mouth doesn't sync up with the words properly, his teeth are instead stuck shut.
  • When Zita says, "You're crazy," her mouth doesn't move.
  • Zim can be seen sleeping in the opening sequence, although it is revealed in the unaired episode "Roboparents Gone Wild" that Irkens do not require sleep. It could be explained, however, that they can, but choose not to.
  • In this episode, Zim's antennae are green in some instances.
  • In the beginning of the pilot, Zim's leggings are just like his arms (much like Skoodge and several other invaders), but when Zim walks in the lunch room to a table, they're black; in the series, his leggings are black.
  • When Zim is seen from outside his armor in the cafeteria fight, he has his contact lenses, but when he is seen from inside the armor, he doesn't have them.
  • After the kid sitting next to Dib in class talks to him, the little girl sleeping in the background freezes. This happens four times.
  • When Zim returns home, the robot arms remove his wig and human eyes, then he walks over to GIR, and his wig and human eyes are back on again. Afterwards they disappear again.
  • When Dib says "That is so not normal!" after Zim eats the beans, his bottom half is fatter than usual.
  • When the pilot shows Zim's house for the first time in it, when you hear the front door close, look back at the full view of the house and you'll realize that Zim isn't there.
  • When the Skoolchildren are magnetizing to Zim's suit, Zim stumbles offscreen for a moment. He doesn't go completely offscreen, as his leg freezes before going offscreen.
  • When GIR is dragging the bag of liquid offscreen, the bag disappears before being fully dragged offscreen.
  • When Dib sees Zim fall to the floor after eating a bean, there's no spoon near him. When Dib says "He is an alien!" the camera changes back to him and the spoon was there.

See also