As Chris Evans once said, Pixar’s upcoming film Lightyear “isn’t Buzz Lightyear the toy. This is the origin story of the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on.” Or as Pixar chief creative officer Pete Docter put it, “we designed Buzz Lightyear with the idea that he was a toy based on some really cool character from an epic blockbuster film. Well, all these years later, we decided it’s time to make that film.” That makes Lightyear kind of a prequel to Toy Story while also being a movie that exists within the world of Toy Story. If that’s the case, shouldn’t its trailer be done in a fun, throwback ’90s style?
The second trailer, released April 21, taps into some serious Top Gun: Maverick energy. Buzz Lightyear commandeers a spaceship with Keke Palmer’s Izzy Hawthorne in tow. They zip through the universe, taking on a cadre of robots and robot aliens as their mechanical cat, Sox, attempts to lighten the mood. New plot points are revealed; Sox can not only spin his head 360 degrees like a demon from The Exorcist, he also tells Lightyear that he’s been gone from the planet for “62 years, seven months, and five days,” meaning the Toy Story character is effectively a senior citizen. Lightyear director Angus MacLane wanted to make a more serious spinoff, “a movie about adults trying to solve their own challenges.” If he really wants to make Lightyear more realistic and adult oriented, he can start by giving Buzz some back problems.
In the first official trailer, we got a track of David Bowie’s “Starman” over photorealistic animation of Lightyear’s ship, space-training facility, and the far-off planets he visits. The animation is so advanced and lifelike that it makes the stylized human characters with their bush baby eyes a little unsettling. Also, “the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on,” voiced by Evans, looks like a de-aged Patrick Warburton fused with Jay Leno? He’s alllllllll chin, baby. The trailer, above, has a little bit more personality. As Buzz goes on his mission (something something tentacles, lasers, and mechas), he’s given a personal companion robot shaped like a cat, named Socks. Based on what the trailer shows us, it’s not as cute as Baymax and not as funny as the Mitchells vs. the Machines bots but will definitely move some plush at the Disney Store. Lightyear will be released June 17, 2022. We’re bracing ourselves for the inevitable Tim Allen cameo.
This post has been updated.