LIGHTYEAR Director Explains How The Movie Ties Into What We Saw In The TOY STORY Franchise

Lightyear director Angus MacLane explains the movie's premise, revealing his approach to the story, how it ties into the Toy Story franchise, the decision to cast Avengers: Endgame's Chris Evans, and more.

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Earlier today, Disney and Pixar released the first trailer for Lightyear. While we know the movie will reveal the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, many fans have wondered how this sci-fi adventure fits into the Toy Story "canon." Well, in an interview with Fandango, director Angus MacLane explained the studio's approach to the movie and why that ultimately involved two key questions.

"What was the movie that Andy saw when we made Toy Story?" the filmmaker ponders. "Why don't we just make that movie?" So, Lightyear is the movie Andy watched that made him want a Buzz Lightyear action figure for his birthday; that actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it! 

For MacLane, though, "Lightyear really is a story that's very personal." He adds: "I really want it to be something that's enjoyable and fun, and it would just stay with you, and it would just be something you would go and see again. That sense in movies like when we were kids. Lightyear is a love letter to the process, and a love letter to movies."

The director goes on to explain that when he delved into the Toy Story movies, he came to the conclusion that Buzz "has a disagreement over the nature of reality [and] that was a bedrock for something we knew we needed to pay off." 

"Buzz is somebody who takes his job very seriously, and is very much a rule follower," MacLane explains. "And has a steadfast belief in himself. There's these tropes of that kind of hero that we're recognizing, feeding on, and playing with. But he's such an amalgam of weird sci-fi cliches. How do you make that more than a punchline? That was really the charge of [the] film."

As for what made Avengers: Endgame star Chris Evans the right pick to play Buzz in Lightyear, he says the actor has "been such a part of the process of honing that voice and recognizing the reverence to what it could be, and what the character should be, and taking that seriously, and finding the comedy in the character of it, and not in mockery. But because of his gravitas and star power, because of who he is as a performer, he knows how to carry that straight-laced classic movie hero."

"He's such a joy. And he's an animation fan," MacClane concludes. "He's so good. I can't say enough great things about Chris Evans. I'm so glad he said yes."

The response to the trailer has been overwhelmingly positive thus far. As a result, even those who weren't convinced that this is a story worth telling now appear to be firmly on board with the movie. 

Lightyear is set to be released in theaters on June 17, 2022. 

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