In the upcoming Pixar film Lightyear, Chris Evans plays Buzz Lightyear. He’s playing “the original Buzz Lightyear,” not the Buzz from Toy Story. That alone raises a slew of concerns. Fortunately, the teaser trailer for the film, as well as its director, Angus MacLane, are here to offer additional light on how everything is coming together.
“‘Set in the world of Toy Story‘ is kind of weird. Another way to get at it, it’s a straightforward sci-fi action film about the Buzz Lightyear character,” MacLane tells EW over Zoom about co-directing Finding Dory and other Toy Story shorts for Pixar. “In the Toy Story universe, it would be like a movie that maybe Andy would have seen, that would have made him want a Buzz Lightyear figure.”
“The movie doesn’t end and then you see Andy eating popcorn,” the director explains. “This is its own thing… This is standalone. It’s the Buzz Lightyear movie. It’s that character but as the space ranger, not as the toy.”
Buzz, voiced by Tim Allen, is a toy based on the Buzz of a popular sci-fi franchise, a figure who is captain of the Universe Protection Unit of the Space Ranger corps from the Intergalactic Alliance, according to what we know from the Toy Story movie. Pixar said Lightyear would be the genesis story for that character, “the young test pilot that became the space ranger we all know him to be today,” when the film was first unveiled in December of last year with Chris Evans aboard in the starring vocal role.
“When you hear about the Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story talk about his space ranger-ness or Star Command, it’s very much a one-note amalgam of sci-fi cliches, which is the point of that movie,” MacLane elaborates. “If you were going to make that world real, you can’t have it constantly feeling like it’s this derivative thing.”
He discovered that “Buzz has a disagreement over the nature of reality” in all of the flicks.
Buzz believes he is a space ranger in the first Toy Story, whereas Woody (Tom Hanks) is well aware that he is a toy. MacLane directed the 2011 short Toy Story Toons: Small Fry, which featured a miniature Buzz with “the same kind of affliction,” according to MacLane. “So, for us, the core idea that we wanted to build upon was, how do you have a character out of step with the world around them?”
Other “surface things” will link Evans’ Buzz to Allen’s Buzz, such as the iconic Buzz Lightyear space outfit seen in the trailer and the character’s renowned catch phrase. Before the Lightyear trailer cuts him off, Chris Evans is about to finish the statement “To infinity and beyond.” It’s a strategy that Disney most certainly took from the Avengers movies, which consistently prevented Evan’s Captain America from declaring “Avengers, assemble!” until Endgame.
Lightyear is scheduled to debut on June 17, 2022.