Buzz Lightyear is a real person. That’s the set-up for Lightyear, the 26th feature-length effort from Pixar.
A teaser for the new film has been released, showing a more restrained graphic approach than usual for the studio. The human characters in Lightyear presumably exist in the same universe as the human characters in the Toy Story series, and they appear stylized to around that same degree.
From what we understand, Lightyear recounts the fictional story of the real person who inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy. So, the character in this teaser is not the Buzz Lightyear of previous Toy Story films, but an entirely new character.
This new character also explains why Chris Evans, and not Tim Allen, is voicing Lightyear. When the project was first announced last December, there was so much confusion about what was happening that Evans had to clarify the situation in a tweet: “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[.]”
As fan service, Lightyear is almost certain to delight existing Pixar and Toy Story fans, but the key question is whether the film engages the viewer outside of its connection to Pixar lore. Is this a space sci-fi film that aspires to the dramatic power of its live-action brethren like The Martian and Interstellar, or is it an origin tale for Toy Story fans? The answer to that question likely won’t be answered until next year’s release.
Lightyear is currently scheduled for release on June 17, 2022. The film is directed by veteran Pixar animator Angus MacLane, who also co-directed Finding Dory. He sent out this message upon the release of today’s teaser:
I’m fortunate to get to work with the most insanely talented folks everyday. The movie we’re all working on is the one I’ve always wanted to see, and I can’t wait to share it with the rest of you in June. Until then, here is a small taste.https://t.co/v7ekmEMzt6
— Angus MacLane (@AngusMacLane) October 27, 2021