From the easter eggs of the Lightyear trailer to the latest on the Lightyear release date, here’s why this Toy Story spin-off will take you to infinity… and beyond!

LIGHTYEAR, slated to open in theaters on June 17, 2022, is a sci-fi action-adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy. The film reveals how a young test pilot became the Space Ranger that we all know him to be today. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved."

© 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Your summer of cinema blasts off with Lightyear: the Toy Story spin-off starring Chris Evans as the heroic Space Ranger.

As we start the countdown to the Lightyear release date on June 17th, here’s all the latest on the voice cast, in-jokes and easter eggs behind Pixar’s new Buzz Lightyear movie.

What are the roots of the Buzz Lightyear character?

If you were a kid when the Toy Story saga began in 1995 – or a parent over the past quarter-century – Buzz Lightyear will feel like an old friend. In the first instalment of Pixar’s animation juggernaut, this cocksure action figure came swaggering into Andy’s bedroom like he owned the place, and immediately rubbed the rest of the toybox up the wrong way.

TO INFINITY… -- Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans. Prepare to blast off for a thrilling adventure that will take you “To infinity… and beyond.” Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure releases on June 17, 2022. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

But across the arc of the four smash-hit Toy Story movies, Buzz grew in heart and gained humility, proving himself both an intrepid adventurer and a faithful friend to Tom Hanks’ Sheriff Woody. By the time the beloved franchise wrapped up with 2019’s Toy Story 4, the Space Ranger was the prime candidate for the spin-off treatment.

“Lightyear is its own thing,” director Angus MacLane told Entertainment Weekly. “This is standalone. It's the Buzz Lightyear movie.”

Is the new Buzz Lightyear movie a Toy Story sequel?

Not exactly. Stop us if this is getting too ‘meta’, but Lightyear isn’t actually about the further adventures of the action figure from Toy Story. Instead, MacLane’s new movie offers the premise that the Buzz Lightyear toy was based on an intrepid human astronaut that Andy would have idolised – and sets out to tell his story.

“Maybe there was a movie starring Buzz Lightyear and that’s what Andy saw that made him want a Buzz Lightyear action figure,” the director told Looper of his Lightyear pitch to the studio. “So why don't we just make that movie – and make it awesome?”

TO INFINITY… -- Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans. Prepare to blast off for a thrilling adventure that will take you “To infinity… and beyond.” Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure releases on June 17, 2022. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Will long-time fans like the new Buzz Lightyear movie?

Affirmative. MacLane might have dragged Buzz Lightyear into bold new quadrants with this spin-off movie, but the director’s impeccable Toy Story pedigree means you can trust him with the franchise lore.

Back in 1997, as a Pixar newbie, one of MacLane’s first jobs was working on Toy Story 2, and he’s never lost his passion for the saga’s square-jawed hero. “When I first saw Toy Story, Buzz was the character I was most excited about,” the director told Collider, “mostly because he’s a great-looking toy that is really robot-esque and deals with sci-fi, which I love.”

What do we learn from the Lightyear trailer?

Pixar hasn’t given us the plot on a plate – but the Lightyear trailer reveals just enough to tantalise. The new Buzz Lightyear movie opens on a distant planet that appears to have been colonised by mankind. But with green-tentacled monsters on the loose, the Space Ranger has been chosen to pilot a test flight ahead of a full-scale evacuation.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. If Buzz can pull off this dangerous mission, he and his marooned comrades will finally be able to head home to Earth. But deep space proves even more dangerous than Sid’s bedroom – especially when Buzz comes face-to-face with the real-life version of Toy Story 2’s villain, Emperor Zurg. And this time around, the big bad ain’t firing foam balls…

It's not yet clear whether Lightyear 2022 will run with the concept that Zurg is Buzz Lightyear’s father. But once again, with MacLane boasting some pretty hefty credentials, you can expect him to treat both characters with respect. “One of the first things I did,” the director told Empire of his early career, “was help design Zurg in the art department.”

Who voices Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear 2022?

Here’s the headline news: after 27 years voicing Buzz Lightyear, Tim Allen has hung up his microphone and handed the character down to a younger actor.

Which seems unthinkable – until you learn that the new Buzz is given life by none other than Chris ‘Captain America’ Evans.

TO INFINITY… -- Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans. Prepare to blast off for a thrilling adventure that will take you “To infinity… and beyond.” Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure releases on June 17, 2022. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

“Chris was the first choice, pretty much as soon as we knew we were going to do it,” said MacLane in an interview with Fandango. “Because of his gravitas and star power, he knows how to carry that strait-laced classic movie hero. But at the same time, he'll know how to subvert it and make fun of it at the same time, in a very knowing way. It's not a subtraction for the character.”

Meanwhile, Evans himself has made it clear on Instagram that he’s not in competition with Toy Story-era Buzz. “Tim Allen is Buzz Lightyear, and no one could ever touch his performance,” wrote the actor. “This one is gonna be special, and it doesn’t step on a single thing.”

 

Which other characters should I look out for in the new Buzz Lightyear movie?

Every Space Ranger needs his guys in the chair, and Buzz’s comrades in Lightyear include Izzy (True Jackson VP’s Keke Palmer) and Morrison (Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi), along with Steel and Hawthorn (respectively played by Dale Soules and Uzo Aduba from Orange Is The New Black).

HERO’S BEST FRIEND -- Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans. But Buzz can’t do it alone—he shares space with a dutiful robot companion cat called Sox. A hidden grab bag of gizmos in a cute kitty package, Sox is Buzz’s go-to friend and sidekick. Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure releases on June 17, 2022. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

But the humanoids are only half the story. Much of Lightyear’s pre-release publicity has centred on Sox – Buzz’s ‘personal companion robot’ that takes the form of a ginger cat. Voiced by Pixar artist Peter Sohn, we might have just found the most adorable droid since BB-8 rolled into our lives in The Force Awakens.

Official poster for Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear”

© 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

What’s the Lightyear release date – and why should I see it at ODEON?

While the Toy Story movies took place in an everyday world of yard sales and gas stations, Lightyear is a proper space adventure on the grandest scale (check out the sly nod to Star Wars’ hyperspace jump in the Lightyear trailer).

The Lightyear release date is June 17th, and if you want the seat-shaking rumble of rocket thrusters courtesy of our surround sound speakers – not to mention the full eye-popping spectacle that only the big screen can offer – it has to be ODEON.

Take it from Chris Evans himself, Lightyear is one you don’t want to miss. As the actor wrote on Instagram: “I can’t even put my excitement into words…”

 


 

Lightyear blasts off at ODEON on June 17

Blockbusters beyond...

Superhero sagas, family favourites, award-winning dramas and laugh-out-loud comedies.

Here's your one-stop timeline of cinematic magic on the horizon.

Read more
Blockbusters beyond...