It’s easy to get confused about what exactly the new Pixar film Lightyear is and how it relates to the Toy Story franchise. Is it a prequel or a spinoff (or both)? Is it live action or animated? Is it the real story behind the famous toy? And why isn’t Tim Allen, who provided the voice of the original Buzz Lightyear, involved?
If fans could better understand director Angus MacLane’s intent for “Lightyear,” starring Chris Evans as the eponymous space explorer, they might understand why Allen isn’t involved. MacLane explained, per Gizmodo, that watching “Star Wars” as a kid changed his life. “‘Light Year’ [is] the movie that Andy [from “Toy Story”] saw his life change. [It’s] Andy’s Star Wars. A sci-fi epic destined to inspire a new generation.” The Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story is even further away. “I envisioned that being a movie that would later become a spin-off cartoon,” MacLane said. “And then the ‘Toy Story’ toy was made from that cartoon design.” He added: “I just wanted to branch off and get away from the Toy Story universe to exist on its own.”
That doesn’t stop some fans from being disappointed or even angry – like Allen’s former co-star Patricia Heaton – that Allen isn’t involved. But what does Allen himself think of Evans’ take on Buzz?
Tim Allen had nothing to do with Lightyear
Tim Allen told Extra that Chris Evans’ Lightyear, the prequel film to his character in the Toy Story franchise, “is unrelated to Buzz.”
“We talked about this many years ago,” Allen said, “but the boss who did the first four films isn’t that. It’s a whole new team that really had nothing to do with the first films.” Allen shared some of the same confusion the audience had. “I thought it was live action [film]he explained, “You know, people, not an animated thing.” He also referenced his costar Tom Hanks, saying, “as Hanks and me [have said], there really is no ‘Toy Story’s ‘Buzz without Woody’, which left Allen confused about the story. “If this was done in 1997, it seems like a big adventure story, and I see it’s not a big adventure story. It’s a wonderful story, it just doesn’t seem to have any connection to the toy.”
That’s true, and that’s essentially why Allen wasn’t cast for the role. “Buzz was a supporting character on ‘Toy Story,’ and he was a little bit more goofy and a little bit more comedic,” director Angus MacLane told The Hollywood Reporter. “For Buzz to be a main character, he needed a little more gravitas, a little more vulnerability, he needed to be funny, but not in a goofy way that would undermine the drama. Chris embodied all of those things.”