Chris Evans will voice the real Buzz Lightyear in a new Toy Story spinoff movie from Pixar called Lightyear. Toy Story launched Pixar back in 1995 and the series has remained at the forefront of the studio ever since. Even after essentially wrapping up the series with the celebrated Toy Story 3, the brand continued with much success in Toy Story 4, and it still continues to grow with a variety of shorts and specials.
The first Toy Story is a buddy film that introduces Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), a couple of toys who become unlikely friends. As the series went on, the focus shifted more towards Woody, and come Toy Story 4, Buzz is largely relegated to the supporting cast with the other toys while Woody and the returning Bo Peep take the lead. However, while Buzz Lightyear may not feature as heavily in recent Toy Story content, Pixar remains interested in the concept - specifically, in the man who inspired the toy.
During Disney's annual investors call, Pixar announced a new animated movie called Lightyear that will explore the story of a young test pilot who becomes the Space Ranger known as Buzz Lightyear. It will star Chris Evans as the real Buzz and is slated to release in theaters on June 17, 2022.
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
I don’t even have the words. https://t.co/GHC8X6Yp7n— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 11, 2020
Memorably in the first Toy Story, Buzz believes himself to be an actual Space Ranger and not a child's toy for the first part of the movie. It plays hilariously and Tim Allen's delivery is perfect, but it's unlikely Chris Evans' Buzz will be anything like that. Rather than being a sentient toy's confused interpretation of Buzz, Evans is playing the real deal. Exactly what that means remains to be seen, but the test pilot turned Space Ranger description gives the movie a slight Green Lantern-vibe, with a regular human wrapped up in a galactic adventure. A sci-fi action movie is new territory for Pixar and it's exciting to think of the ways the studio will play with the genre.
Lightyear is certainly an unexpected spinoff idea for Pixar to pursue, demonstrating a desire for new ideas while also sticking with what made them famous in the first place. Developing an origin story for the man who inspired a popular toy seen in their very first movie seems strange, but it isn't entirely untested. There was the early 2000s cartoon, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, but this movie is likely aiming for a slightly more serious tone. The casting of Evans, meanwhile, is the real masterstroke, and there's little doubt his attachment will drive interest in Lightyear more than just about anything else.