Although it has been slightly polarising between diehard Pixar fans, the recent Angus MacLane-directed animated film Lightyear has been generally well-received, offering up a modern and progressive take on everybody’s favourite space ranger, Buzz Lightyear.
With MacLane’s creation, we see Buzz team up with the recruits Izzy, Mo, Darby, and his robot companion, Sox, to take part in an intergalactic adventure that has added a great deal of pulp to his already well-known origin story. Fans across the world are flocking to cinemas to watch the film, transporting them into another one of Pixar‘s immersive universes whilst also whisking the viewer down memory lane to the mid-1990s when Toy Story had only just been released.
However, one section of the movie that has proven to irk longtime Pixar fans is that Tim Allen, the original voice of Buzz Lightyear, has been overlooked in favour of Captain America star, Chris Evans, who voices the iconic space ranger, bringing a different edge to the role that is perceived as Allen’s most significant.
However, Evans serves a specific purpose. Lightyear is designed to be the film that Andy from Toy Story originally watched and fell in love with as a child, the whole reason why his mother gifted him the Buzz Lightyear in the classic 1995 film.
Interestingly, Lightyear is not the first time Disney has given Buzz Lightyear his own time to shine. In fact, it transpires that the events of Lightyear aren’t even that unique, as it covers a concept that was created over two decades ago when the new millennium was in its infancy.
In 2000, Walt Disney Television Animation launched the series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Running for just one season, but racking up over 60 episodes, the project follows Buzz, voiced by the legendary Patrick Warburton, as he undertakes a variety of missions, attempting to take down the nefarious Emperor Zurg.
However, before the TV series, Disney released Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins. A direct-to-video animated film, it acted as the show’s pilot, but strangely, featured Allen as the titular space ranger. For the opening scene, the Toy Story characters put the movie on in Andy’s room, and they cannot believe that a Buzz Lightyear film actually exists.
Without going into too much detail, the similarities between Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins and Lightyear are stark, but we’ll leave it at that as we don’t want to spoil the film for those who haven’t seen the latter. It makes you wonder if there are more reasons why the studio didn’t bring Allen back for Lightyear and if they’ll be following the plotlines of the series in any future films.