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Why Isn’t Tim Allen Voicing Buzz in Lightyear?
Tim Allen won't be voicing Buzz Lightyear in the new spinoff movie. Here's why the director picked Chris Evans instead.
Here’s Why Tim Allen Isn’t Voicing Buzz in the New Lightyear Movie
Chris Evans will be playing the character in the upcoming Pixar feature. Here's why
Lightyear (Disney) Aurora Amidon
June 14, 2022 | 5:42pm ET
It’s hard to think of an animated character that is more iconic than ’s Buzz Lightyear. Voiced by Tim Allen, Buzz is goofy, optimistic, relatable, and undeniably lovable. So when Pixar and Disney announced that Buzz was getting his own feature film, entitled simply Lightyear, fans were naturally overjoyed. Understandably, it also came as a bit of a shock when news broke that Allen wouldn’t be voicing Buzz this time around — that the character would be played by Chris Evans, instead.
Tim Allen and Buzz Lightyear Go Way Back
Allen first played Buzz almost thirty years ago when the first film came out. Since then, he’s voiced the big-hearted, adventurous space-ranger-figurine in a whopping total of 17 different projects — from video games like (2001), to shorts like , and sequels galore. However, when it came to Buzz’s newest solo film, Disney had a wildly different idea for his casting.
What is ?
Directed by Angus MacLane (), follows a young version of the Buzz Lightyear that ’s beloved toy is based on. In this film, Buzz is tasked with finding his way home from a strange planet lightyears away (get it?), while also attempting to stave off a dangerous extraterrestrial threat.
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The film, which will be released on June 17th in theaters, stars Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, Uzo Aduba, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
So Why Isn’t Allen Returning to the Franchise?
While Tim Allen’s controversial political statements have been a part of his public persona for the last several years, Disney’s decision not to bring him on board Lightyear had nothing to do with his politics, as he was recently cast in a new Santa Clause TV show for the streamer.
In a recent press conference, producer Galyn Susman explained that a lot of thought had gone into the casting of Evans. “Tim Allen is Buzz Lightyear the toy,” she said. “We weren’t making a movie. We’re making Buzz Lightyear’s movie. And so first and foremost, we just needed a different person playing that Lightyear, separate from the toy.”
Director Angus MacLane had an additional explanation as to why Buzz needed to be played by Evans, specifically. This time, he said, Lightyear is “a little more well-rounded. Technically he’s a bit smarter because he’s not comic relief. He has to be funny, but not too goofy. And that’s why we went with Chris.”
Chris Evans on Kickstarting a New Era for Buzz Lightyear
Back in December of 2020, Chris Evans took to Instagram to announce that he’d be tackling the role of Buzz in . He starts off by addressing the elephant in the room – that this role typically belongs to Tim Allen. “My team could barely contain their excitement when they told me that Pixar had a pitch for me,” he recalls. “All they said was ‘Buzz Lightyear.’ I didn’t know what that meant, since Tim Allen is Buzz Lightyear, and no one could ever touch his performance.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Evans added that Allen was an informative part of him stepping into his own understanding of Buzz. “I used Tim Allen as a guideline,” he said. “He did such a good job, and I’d be a fool not to acknowledge the work he did. But I couldn’t just do a shameless impression. I had to somehow create my own understanding of the character, and try to make some fresh tracks in the snow while paying homage to the great work that he did.”
Although Evans told reporter Angelique Jackson at the premiere that: “The first time you have to do that iconic line, ‘To Infinity and Beyond…,’ you kind of just do a shameless Tim Allen impression,” he closes his Instagram post with an assurance that is very much a novel take on the character – and also a worthwhile watch. “Trust me when I say that they REALLY know what they’re doing over there,” he writes. “This one is gonna [be] special, and it doesn’t step on a single thing. I can’t even put my excitement into words. I smile every time I think about it.”
And if you love Evans’ take on the character, you’re in luck — this may not be his last stint in the animated Disney world. When asked at a press conference about other Disney characters he’d love to play, Evans said: “I was always a big fan of the old animated Disney movie . I just thought that Robin Hood was so cool. I think of all the animated characters in the Disney library, Robin Hood stands alone. I think he’s just smooth and charming and capable. I don’t have that cool British accent, but I’d love to give it a crack.”
Lightyear arrives in theaters Friday, June 17th.
Lightyear: Why Isn't Tim Allen Buzz Lightyear?
Buzz Lightyear will sound different in Disney's Lightyear because he's voiced by Chris Evans instead of Tim Allen. Here's why Tim Allen isn't in the movie.
Popsugar Entertainment Chris Evans
Lightyear: Why Isn't Tim Allen Buzz Lightyear?
Lightyear: Why Isn't Tim Allen Buzz Lightyear? Let's Talk About Why Tim Allen Isn't Voicing Buzz in "Lightyear"
June 10, 2022 by Emma Vallelunga First Published: February 10, 2022
If you watched the Toy Story franchise growing up, you know what your favorite astronaut, Buzz Lightyear, sounds like when he says his signature catchphrases. Part of what makes Toy Story so timeless is the devotion Disney and Pixar have given to its iconic characters for the past 27 years. However, in "Lightyear," the new prequel, Buzz won't sound exactly the same. Instead of the iconic voice of Tim Allen, Chris Evans will voice the beloved space cadet, a decision that sent some fans spiraling to infinity and beyond. So, why isn't Tim Allen in "Lightyear"?
As most fans know, Buzz Lightyear is voiced by Allen throughout all four movies of the franchise. In a lot of ways, Allen does feel like the only Buzz Lightyear because his voice is the only one kids and adults hear while watching any of the "Toy Story" films. When the news broke in October, fans seemed angry, hurt, and confused. @KayAmity wrote on Twitter: "Hold the phone... there's a Buzz Lightyear movie coming out and @ofctimallen isn't Buzz?!?! 'There seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere.'" But others offered a simple explanation, one that both satisfied the evolving theories behind what "Lightyear" would be and what the "Toy Story" universe will become as it appeals to a new generation of fans in 2022.
Fans will remember one scene in the original "Toy Story" that puts this idea of betrayal into a different perspective. Before they became life-long friends, Woody and Buzz argued a lot. Remember the scene when the two are stuck in a gas station parking lot after falling out of Andy's parents' car? "You. Are. A. TOY!" Woody shouts in anger at Buzz. "You aren't the real Buzz Lightyear! You're an action figure! You're a child's play thing!"
So what does that have to do with "Lightyear"? Simply put, while the "Toy Story" movies do tell the tale of Buzz Lightyear, the Buzz we've fallen in love with is just a toy. With that logic in mind, fans reasoned that Allen is the voice of the Buzz Lightyear "toy," while Evans will represent the actual Buzz Lightyear.
"Lightyear" is supposed to be Buzz's origin story, and the space cadet depicted in early release photos and teaser trailers is the real deal, i.e. the astronaut who inspired the Buzz Lightyear action figures within the "Toy Story" universe. Fans theorized that this distinguishes the original films and the prequel enough without directly connecting them, allowing Disney and Pixar to give Buzz a different identity for the new decade.
The creative team behind the film recently confirmed this reasoning. "Lightyear" producer Galyn Susman told The Hollywood Reporter, "Tim really is the embodiment of the toy Buzz, and this isn't the toy world, so it really doesn't make sense. There's not really a role. It would just cause more confusion for audiences instead of helping them understand the movie we're trying to tell." Director Angus MacLane also told the outlet that they wanted to make sure Buzz had "gravitas" in the new movie, and that it was clear it was a standalone film and not part of the "Toy Story" universe.
When You Can Expect "Lightyear" to Hit Disney+
Variety asked Evans about stepping into Allen's legendary shoes at the "Lightyear" premiere. "The first time you have to do an iconic line, 'to infinity and beyond,' you kinda of just do a shameless Tim Allen impression," Evans explained. He said over time, he felt more comfortable making his own choices, "while still using Tim Allen as the blueprint."
So although we won't get to hear Allen reprise his role, "Lightyear" will show those '90s kids Buzz's real story and provide a gateway into the "Toy Story" universe for younger generations. Knowing Buzz Lightyear can continue to shine outside of the toy world should comfort the fans who want more "Toy Story" nostalgia in their lives in 2022!
— Additional reporting by Victoria Edel
Image Source: Everett Collection
CHRIS EVANSDISNEYTOY STORYMOVIESLIGHTYEAR
Patricia Heaton: Pixar castrated Buzz by not casting Tim Allen in Lightyear
'Everybody Loves Raymond' star Patricia Heaton says Disney and Pixar 'castrated' a beloved character by not casting her pal Tim Allen as Buzz in 'Lightyear.'
TYPE Movie GENRE Animated Family
Everybody Loves Raymond alum Patricia Heaton is going to infinity and beyond for her fellow sitcom star and friend Tim Allen.
Having apparently just learned that Allen isn't reprising his beloved Toy Story role as Buzz Lightyear in Pixar's new movie Lightyear, Heaton took issue with the recasting on social media.
"Saw the trailer for Buzz Lightyear and all I can say is Disney/Pixar made a HUGE mistake in not casting my pal Tim Allen in the role that he originated, the role that he owns," she tweeted Tuesday. "Tim IS Buzz! Why would they completely castrate this iconic, beloved character?"
CREDIT: JESSE GRANT/GETTY IMAGES FOR DISNEY; JC OLIVERA/GETTY IMAGES
Chris Evans voices Buzz Lightyear in Pixar's spin-off film, which technically centers on a different character than the one Allen played in the Toy Story movies: Evans' Lightyear is the interstellar action hero on whom Allen's character, a toy version of Buzz, is based. As director Angus MacLane previously told EW, "In the Toy Story universe, [Lightyear] would be like a movie that maybe Andy would have seen, that would have made him want a Buzz Lightyear figure."
As for the differences between Evans' and Allen's characters, MacLane recently told Vanity Fair, "Tim's version of Buzz is a little goofier and is a little dumber, and so he is the comic relief. In this film, Buzz is the action hero. He's serious and ambitious and funny, but not in a goofy way that would undercut the drama." He added, "Chris Evans has the gravitas and that movie-star quality that our character needed to separate him and the movie from Tim's version of the toy in Toy Story."
When fans pointed out the distinction to Heaton on Twitter, she doubled down. "Ok so the current Buzz Lightyear movie is an origin story - but the reason the character became so beloved is because of what Tim Allen created," she wrote. "Why remove the one element that makes us want to see it?" She added the hashtag "#stupidhollywooddecisions."
EW has reached out to representatives for Allen and Disney (which owns Pixar) for comment on Heaton's remarks.
Lightyear, which also features the voices of Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, James Brolin, Peter Sohn, and Uzo Aduba, hits theaters Friday.Related content:
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TYPE Movie GENRE Animated Family MPAA