Buzz Lightyear maybe Woody’s partner in crime and a part of Andy and Bonnie’s toy troupe, but he has a little bit of history. At least that’s what the newest trailer for Disney•Pixar’s “Lightyear” seems to be hitting at. Hailed as the origin story of Buzz Lightyear—the hero who inspired the toy—, Chris Evans (“Knives Out,” “Avengers: Endgame”) voices the titular character that introduces the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans.
“Lightyear” marks the first spinoff to come from the long-running “Toy Story” franchise. His first appearance was in 1994. Voiced then by Tim Allen, the character had thought he was a real space ranger who landed on a mysterious planet inhabited by a ragtag group and giants. But the reality was that they were just toys and humans. Since then, he’s helped lead Andy’s toys on many adventures and helped them during a transitional phase when Andy gave his toys to Bonnie in the original trilogy and said goodbye to his old friend Woody in “Toy Story 4.”
But things have changed. Now the franchise looks back at the person that inspired the toy. In fact, during last year’s Disney Investor Day, Pixar CCO Pete Docter said: “When we created the first Toy Story, we designed Buzz Lightyear with the idea that he was a toy based on some really cool character from an epic blockbuster film. Well, all these years later we decided it’s time to make that film.”
And one of the other things to come out of that announcement was that Chris Evans would voice Buzz Lightyear. “The phrase ‘a dream come true’ gets thrown around a lot, but I’ve never meant it more in my life,” says Evans. “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.”
As for the trailer, it lives up to the idea of going “to infinity and beyond.” Shots of space rangers suiting up, launch sequences, holographic navigations, and maybe a few alien stowways appear. All of that set against David Bowie’s Starman. Because is there any other song that works for such an iconic character.
Annie Award-winning director and veteran Pixar animator Angus MacLane, who co-directed 2016’s “Finding Dory,” helms “Lightyear.” Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot” short) produces.
“Lightyear” opens in theaters on June 17, 2022.