The Buzz Lightyear Movie: Release Date, Cast, and More

To infinity and beyond! 'Lightyear' will show off the space ranger in a very different way than 'Toy Story.' HollywoodLife has you covered with all the details you need to know about the upcoming movie.

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Toy Story fans rejoice! Buzz Lightyear will get his own PG-rated movie outside of the main Toy Story series. Like the original movies, it’ll be produced by Pixar Studios and distributed by Disney. Lightyear is expected to put a unique spin on everyone’s favorite space ranger, with more of an action-adventure tilt than the Toy Story films. While Buzz is a familiar face and Emperor Zurg (who appeared in Toy Story 2) are set to make appearances, it’s sure to be a unique take on the original, and it’ll be Pixar’s 26th animated feature film. Find out everything you need to know about Lightyear here!

Release Date & Where To Watch

While some animated Disney films are going straight to Disney+, Pixar’s Lightyear is sure to be a blockbuster smash for the summer. It will be released in theaters on June 17, 2022. While a number of animated Disney films hit the streaming platform exclusively, Lightyear is going to get its first release in theaters. While it will definitely be available on Disney+ at some point, it’s not clear when.

Cast & Crew

Chris Evans will voice the legendary space ranger Buzz Lightyear. (Shutterstock)

Cast

While fans may be well-acquainted with Buzz, the cast is completely different from the original Toy Story (1995) movie. Chris Evans will lend his voice as Buzz Lightyear himself, but this movie won’t feature Buzz as a toy. The movie will tell the story of how Buzz became a Space Ranger for Star Command. Director and writer Angus MacLane explained that they were looking for someone with “gravitas and seriousness” as well as someone who could “balance comedy and drama” in an interview with Ashley and Co. “There was a lot of comedy and serious action stuff that we’d seen Chris Evans do, and I was always impressed by his ability to not seem too goofy but be able to laugh at himself,” he said.

Chris was also clearly stoked to work on his first ever Pixar movie. He called playing Buzz a “dream come true,” in a December 2020 Instagram post. “This one is gonna 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,” he wrote in the caption.

Taika will play another space ranger Mo Morrison. (Shutterstock)

While some fans may be disappointed that Tim Allen won’t be offering his voice to the character, it’s very intentional that the Home Improvement star isn’t voicing Buzz. Simply put, Tim voiced the Buzz Lightyear toy, while Chris is meant to voice the real Buzz Lightyear that the action figure in the Toy Story universe is based on. Producer Galyn Susman explained the separation to Ashley and Co. “When casting Buzz, it was important to differentiate our hero Buzz from the toy that’s made on his character and represented in the Toy Story movies,” she said.

Of course, Chris isn’t the only talent lending his voice to LightyearJames Brolin will voice Buzz’s nemesis: the evil Emperor Zurg. On Buzz’s side, Uzo Aduba is playing Alisha Hawthorne, Buzz’s friend and commanding officer, while Keke Palmer will be Alisha’s granddaughter Izzy. Taika Waititi will voice Mo Morrison, who appears to also be a space ranger, based on the trailer. Peter Sohn will also play Sox, a robotic feline who keeps Buzz company. While this will be James, Uzo, Keke, and Taika’s first time in Pixar movies, Peter has worked on tons,  lending his voice to Ratatouille, Monsters University and more. Besides his voice acting work, Peter has been behind-the-scenes on a number of Pixar movies in a wide range of roles, including directing, writing, and being both a production and story artist, as well as other roles. He was on the senior creative team for modern Pixar classics like Finding Dory and Turning Red.

Keke Palmer will be playing Izzy Hawthorne. (Shutterstock)

Crew

Besides the all-star cast, the crew behind the scenes are just as exciting! The screenplay was written by Onward writer Jason Headley along with director Angus MacLane. The music is composed by another Pixar veteran Michael Giacchino, who also made music for The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and more. The set director is Greg Peltz. Other art directors include: Paul Conrad, Matt Nolte, Garrett Taylor and Bill Zahn. 

Peter Sohn is voicing Buzz’s robotic companion. (Shutterstock)

Angus seems like the perfect pick for the Lightyear film! He explained that the movie about Buzz was one of the films he pitched to Pixar after he co-directed Finding Dory in an October 2021 interview with Collider. “The last thing that I pitched was basically, ‘What was the movie that Andy (from Toy Story) saw? Why don’t we just make that movie?'” he explained. “Buzz is a character I’ve been working on, since I started at the studio. When I first saw Toy Story, he’s the character I was most excited about, mostly because he’s a great looking toy that is really robot-esque and deals with sci-fi, which I love.”

Premise

As mentioned before, the story behind Lightyear is the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the character from the Toy Story franchise. Rather than exploring the origin of the toy, it’ll follow the story of how Buzz became a Space Ranger for Star Command.

The official trailer, released on April 21, 2022, showed Buzz going through a test flight and getting lost in Space, only to return and find out that over 60 years have passed. It shows the Space Ranger forming a friendship with his pal Alisha Hawthorne’s granddaughter Izzy. It also shows them planning to fight an alien spaceship. The Lightyear film also appears to be influenced by Star Wars, as Angus spoke about how much he loved the sci-fi classics in an April press conference, per Gizmodo.

‘Lightyear’ will explore Buzz’s journey to becoming a Space Ranger. (Everett)

This isn’t the first time that Disney has explored the context that the Buzz Lightyear toy existed within the Toy Story universe. There was also a cartoon series called Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, which aired from 2000 to 2001, per IMDb. The show featured Patrick Warburton as Buzz, and it explored the Space Ranger’s many adventures in the universe.

Production Trivia

Angus revealed that he started developing Lightyear after Finding Dory premiere in 2016 in an interview with Fandango. The first Lightyear teaser trailer for the movie was released in October 2021. The runtime for Lightyear is an 1 hour and 40 minutes, per Rotten Tomatoes.

Besides exploring Buzz’s backstory, the movie will also reportedly contain a same-sex kissing scene, according to a report from VarietyA source told the outlet that the character Alisha will share a kiss with another woman, who she has a relationship with. The scene was restored in wake of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, after employees at Pixar sent a statement to Disney, claiming that the company had censored scenes with same-sex shows off affection.

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