The Toy Story franchise may have ended (for now), but we don’t have to say goodbye to Buzz Lightyear just yet. Pixar has tapped into one of its most famous characters with a new animated film Lightyear, which tells the story of the character that inspired the toy.
What is Lightyear about?
Lightyear was announced at Disney Investor Day 2020, which was the first indication we had that a Toy Story spin-off was in development.
Blasting into theaters June 17, 2022, Lightyear is the definitive story of the original Buzz Lightyear. Voiced by @ChrisEvans, get ready to go to “infinity and beyond” with Lightyear. 🚀 👨🚀 pic.twitter.com/LdYXlN33sP— Pixar (@Pixar) December 11, 2020
Lightyear is a movie by Pixar, makers of all things good and animated, and it tells the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, a character who inspired millions of toys made in his name. Now we’re going to find out why.
Disney said the sci-fi action-adventure movie “presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy, introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans”.
The studio revealed more details about the plot in a recent synopsis, saying:
The definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy, Lightyear follows the legendary Space Ranger after he’s marooned on a hostile planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth alongside his commander and their crew. As Buzz tries to find a way back home through space and time, he’s joined by a group of ambitious recruits and his charming robot companion cat, Sox. Complicating matters and threatening the mission is the arrival of Zurg, an imposing presence with an army of ruthless robots and a mysterious agenda.
If you’d like a better idea of what Buzz did to become this well-known, check out the collection of Lightyear trailers below.
First, we got shots of Buzz travelling around space, dealing with all manner of sci-fi robots and aliens, and, hey would you believe it, he has hair under that helmet!
The first official trailer also introduces us to Buzz’s companion, an adorable robot cat named Sox.
If you’re curious about Sox (who will definitely be in toy stores everywhere) and Buzz’s partnership, Chris Evans gave some insight at a global press conference:
“I like the idea of someone like Buzz who’s this very autonomous, you know, austere kind of guy, but he’s given an emotional support cat to acclimate not just from coming back after four years, but just to address problems that he may otherwise overlook.”
Chris Evans released a special preview of Lightyear at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Unfortunately, it didn’t air live here in Australia, but if you thought we couldn’t still see it down under, think again. Check it out.
We were also served a second official trailer for Lightyear, where we saw more of Buzz’s time-travelling experience through space and the team he gets to fight aliens with – including Sox.
The third trailer gives an even longer and more in-depth look at Lightyear, including a glimpse at the evil Emperor Zurg!
If you’re still confused about where this whole thing fits in Toy Story canon, we asked the director Angus MacLane and producer Galyn Susman a few questions.
“I think I’ve always liked Buzz as a toy, but I’ve always been inspired by the idea that if Buzz was this amalgam of reacting to the sci-fi movies of our youth, what is his movie? What is his story? What is that mythology? Why don’t we explore that?” MacLane told us.
If you’re wondering why there’s a lack of Zurg in the trailers, we tried to find out, but unfortunately, Pixar is keeping that one close to the chest.
Who is in the cast?
Tim Allen may have voiced Buzz in four Toy Story movies, but he won’t be the voice of the titular hero this time. Chris Evans (aka Captain America) is voicing the human Buzz Lightyear, and he’s kind of perfect for the role if you ask us.
Evans is clearly stoked for the gig, saying in a press release:
“The phrase ‘a dream come true’ gets thrown around a lot, but I’ve never meant it more in my life. Anyone who knows me knows that my love for animated films runs deep. I can’t believe that I get to be a part of the Pixar family and work with these truly brilliant artists who tell stories unlike anyone else. Watching them work is nothing short of magic. I pinch myself every day.”
If you’re wondering why the team went with Evans over Allen for the role, producer Galyn Susman shared some insight at the global press conference:
“Tim Allen is Buzz Lightyear the toy, and he’s the embodiment of Buzz Lightyear the toy. We weren’t making a Toy Story movie. We’re making Buzz Lightyear’s movie, the Lightyear movie. And so first and foremost, we just needed to have a different person playing that Lightyear, separate from the toy.”
As you’ll notice in the second official trailer, there are more space cadets to get to know. The rest of the voice cast includes Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, James Brolin, Dale Soules, Peter Sohn, Uzo Aduba, Efren Ramirez, Mary McDonald-Lewis and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Lightyear is directed by Angus MacLane (co-director of Finding Dory) and produced by Galyn Susman.
When was Lightyear released?
As of June 16, Lightyear has officially landed in cinemas. So head on out there and see if you can spot the Pizza Planet truck.
Can I stream Lightyear at home?
Soon you will be able to! Disney+ has announced that Lightyear will be streaming on its Australian service as of August 3, 2022. Mark your calendars!
You can also catch up on all your Buzz Lightyear lore via the Toy Story films and shorts over on Disney+.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.