To infinity and beyond! That is where Pixar and Disney are headed, though the new mantra probably should read, to the beginning and beyond! If that first phrase is immediately recognizable, it should be. It is uttered numerous times by Buzz Lightyear, the famous toy spaceman who is part of the Toy Story legacy. Now, Buzz is about to get his own origin story and we are here to break down what we know about the upcoming Pixar film.
THE LIGHTYEAR ANNOUNCEMENT
Not that it was lost in the shuffle, but when Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer at Pixar, announced at the 2020 Disney Investor Day that Lightyear would be one of Disney/Pixar’s upcoming movies, it probably fell on more deaf ears than hoped for. How could it not with all the Star Wars and Marvel news Disney was kicking out?
But Docter announced it and as you will see in the video below, he had other big news as it concerned Lightyear.
CAPTAIN AMERICA IS BUZZ LIGHTYEAR
Yes, Captain America’s Chris Evans will be taking on the iconic voice role made famous by Tim Allen. So, why not Allen, who has defined that vocal role? Simply put, the Buzz Lightyear Pixar will be introducing to fans in the animated origin film is not the Tim Allen Buzz Lightyear we have come to know and love.
TELL ME MORE
As Docter mentioned in the above video, Lightyear will follow the exploits of the real Buzz Lightyear or, more to the point, “some really cool character from an epic blockbuster film.” And that is what Pixar will be giving audiences. A Chris Evans cool, test pilot astronaut character who then will have a toy, Buzz Lightyear, based on him.
The story plans to show Evans’ Buzz (we aren’t sure here if his character will actually be called Buzz or if that comes later) as he makes a name for himself as a test pilot. His exploits garner him recognition as a space hero who eventually becomes an action figure toy.
CHRIS EVANS REACTS
Chris Evans was quick to take to social media after the announcement by Docter. He tweeted out first, “I don’t even have the words” in response to Pixar’s own posting of the announcement.
But then there was a mass of confusion as to why Tim Allen wasn’t going to be involved in the film. Fans weren’t understanding that Evans was going to play the real Buzz and not the Toy Story version. Evans was then quick to clear up the confusion, stating on Twitter, “And just to be clear, this isn’t Buzz Lightyear the toy. This is the origin story of the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on.”
PIXAR IN CHARGE
Lightyear will be directed by Angus MacLane, whose career has centered around numerous Disney projects such as Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Up, and Toy Story 3. In all these projects he has performed as an animator.
Lightyear won’t be MacLane’s first directing assignment through the House of Mouse. He was given the reins on two shorts, one titled Toy Story Toons: Small Fry and Toy Story of Terror. He was also co-director on Finding Dory. This will, though, be MacLane’s first solo feature film effort.
As Docter mentioned in his video announcement, the idea of telling Buzz’s origin story has been gelling since the original Toy Story. For that reason, Docter is lending a hand at writing the script.
At the moment, no other vocal cast has been announced.
THAT PLOT HOLE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
There has always been an issue concerning Buzz Lightyear and it stems from the very first film. Finally, Docter had to address it and give it its due.
During the original Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear does not believe that he is a toy, but when he is approached by humans or in the same room with them, he goes limp like all other toys. Come on, Pete. What gives?
Docter claims this issue was discussed at length as Toy Story was being written. If Buzz doesn’t think he is a toy, then why does he act like one? Ultimately, the entire production crew in charge of the story decided, it really didn’t matter.
“We went through a lot of discussion on Toy Story, the first one, about like, ‘If Buzz doesn’t know he’s a toy, why does he go rigid when a kid walks in the room? We had a lot of explanations and talk about that, too. And in the end, nobody cared,” Docter explains via Hypebeast.
Fortunately for Lightyear, this point should be moot.
DOCTER SAVES THE DAY
If you are not aware, Pete Docter is the straw that stirs Pixar’s drink. He is the creative mind behind so many big Pixar films and before the controversy that eventually put him in the driver’s seat as CCO, he was a big man on campus behind the scenes.
John Lasseter, who now calls Skydance Animation his home, was large and in charge of Pixar before sexual misdeeds took him down. Lasseter stepped away from Pixar in 2017 for his sexual misconduct, which Lasseter described at the time as “missteps”, in what was to be a six-month sabbatical to clean up his act. Lasseter never returned to Disney.
Pete Docter, who was actually being groomed to eventually take over, stepped in and never looked back. He steadied what was looking like a sinking ship, keeping Pixar afloat in the wave of controversy.
Docter gave Pixar a bigger voice for diversity’s sake, building the Pixar hit Soul around a Black protagonist. He’s helped usher in Luca, the coming-of-age tale set in Italy. Docter also revels in telling stories that may not sound appealing as far as animated features go, such as widower’s grief in Up or a young girl’s sadness in Inside Out.
Docter has found himself in the envious position of leading a billion-dollar company and has done himself proud.
LIGHTYEAR RELEASE DATE
Along with the announcement of Lightyear and Chris Evans taking on the role, there also came a definite release date. June 17, 2022, is when Lightyear will “buzz” into theaters, providing COVID doesn’t have anything to say about it.
Who out there is looking forward to a Buzz Lightyear origin “toy” story? Give us your thoughts.