For those of you not ready to let go of Toy Story just yet, fear not, for the franchise is capitalising on your nostalgia, with its Lightyear spin-off due to hit cinemas in Australia in June.
The first footage from Lightyear already gave us quite the Captain Marvel vibes, putting Toy Story’s sci-fi hero into a militaristic, Top Gun-with-spaceships aesthetic. The trailer we got in February only helped to amplify those feelings further with the addition of one hell of a cute mascot cat. Then today, we got more.
So, what’s Lightyear about?
Obviously, for Lightyear, Pixar is tapping into one of its most famous characters, Buzz Lightyear. Lightyear will tell the story of the man behind the toy.
Buzz Lightyear the toy was of course a piece of merchandise that starred in Pixar’s original 1995 Toy Story and was voiced by Tim Allen. A child named Andy gets him as a birthday gift. Unlike Andy’s other toys, Buzz thought he was an actual space man. This pissed off Tom Hanks, a cowboy doll, who was jealous of his rival’s battery-powered gimmicks. Eventually they figured things out and lots of profitable sequels and real-life merchandise and licensing deals ensued.
The word from Pixar: the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear – the hero who inspired the toy – follows the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure.
Lightyear was announced at Disney Investor Day in December 2020, which was the first indication we had that a Toy Story spin-off was in development.
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
We have a pretty great (if I do say so myself) explainer on what exactly Pixar’s Lightyear is, and i’d encourage you to check it out.
In October, we got our first teaser trailer for Lightyear. As Gizmodo writer Ethan detailed then, the teaser broke the internet’s brain.
“I was not ready for was Pixar releasing a trailer for a Buzz Lightyear movie that would make the internet stop in its tracks and collectively gasp, ‘What the fuck?’,” he said.
See for yourself:
The teaser was certainly unexpected: it was gritty and existential, with vibes somewhere between Interstellar and Ad Astra, backed by David Bowie’s Starman. It could almost be an entirely new sci-fi movie, except for Buzz’s green and purple space suit teased at the very end. It’s an origin story within an origin story, not for an action figure, but for the character who inspired it. In real life. But in a movie, which is fake.
Chris Evans had to go and do this, however.
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— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 11, 2020
“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,” he tweeted.
But he’s not completely wrong.
“Buzz’s world was always something I was excited about,” says director Angus MacLane.
“In Toy Story, there seemed to be this incredible backstory to him being a Space Ranger that’s only touched upon, and I always wanted to explore that world further.
“So my Lightyear pitch was, ‘What was the movie that Andy saw that made him want a Buzz Lightyear toy?’ I wanted to see that movie. And now I’m lucky enough to get to make it.”
Although we get some vague hints of Lightyear’s more realistically-rendered take on the infamous Toy Story 2 villain, the trailer is largely focused on one particular new addition to Buzz’s team: Sox, a small robotic feline companion robot, who is… well, a crossover between backflipping pet toys and Captain Marvel’s Goose, if Goose didn’t have alien tentacles flying out of its mouth and could instead speak in a clipped robot voice and play white noise.
It’s a much-needed dose of levity considering the otherwise self-serious sci-fi bent of the rest of the trailer, and a reminder that… yeah, it’s still weird that we’re getting this epic interstellar animated adventure about Buzz Lightyear. Or, well, the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy we know and love is actually based on. Try not to think about it too much, either way.
But here’s another. It answered some of these questions:
As you can see, the new trailer gives us so, so much more. We get a bit more of the test flight and some Zurg (James Brolin). We also see Buzz head to the future, the time-travelling hero we all need. We knew Taika Waititi was making an appearance, but we now know it’s in the future Buzz meets a number of friends. Plus there’s fart jokes. Wholesome, really.
And joining Captain America is…
Joining the previously announced Chris Evans, who lends his voice to Buzz, are Keke Palmer (Hustlers and the upcoming scary flick Nope), Dale Soules (Orange in the New Black) and Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) as a group of ambitious recruits. Peter Sohn voices Buzz’s robot companion, Sox, and the cast also includes the voices of Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Every hero has a beginning. 🚀 I am thrilled to go on an intergalactic adventure in Disney / Pixar’s #Lightyear!!!! I have always loved Buzz, I’m so excited I get to share the screen with him. Coming June 17, 2022. 💫 💫 pic.twitter.com/TYnDGHgEZB— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) February 8, 2022
Composer Michael Giacchino (who’s behind the scores for the upcoming The Batman, as well as Spider-Man: No Way Home) is on board to score Lightyear.
Lightyear is slated for release in Australia on June 16. While you wait, why not check out all the other sci-fi, adventure, horror and fantasy flicks hitting cinemas in Australia this year. We’ve updated this article since it was first published and we’ll make more changes as we learn more.