Lightyear is an American computer-animated science-fiction action film co-produced by Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures. It is a spin-off of the Toy Story franchise, serving as an origin story for the fictional test pilot/astronaut whom the Buzz Lightyear toy featured in the main films was based on, presented as a film within a film that the characters in Toy Story would have watched.
The definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy, Lightyear follows the legendary Space Ranger after he is marooned on a hostile planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth alongside his commander and their crew. As Buzz tries to find a way back home through space and time, he is joined by a group of ambitious recruits and his charming robot companion cat, Sox. Complicating matters and threatening the mission is the arrival of Zurg, an imposing presence with an army of ruthless robots and a mysterious agenda.
- Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear
- James Brolin as Zurg
- Uzo Aduba as Alisha Hawthorne
- Keke Palmer as Izzy Hawthorne
- Keira Hairston as Young Izzy
- Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Commander Burnside
- Taika Waititi as Mo Morrison
- Dale Soules as Darby Steel
- Efren Ramirez as Airman Diaz
- Peter Sohn as Sox
- Mary McDonald-Lewis as I.V.A.N.
- Angus MacLane as E.R.I.C. and Zyclops
- Tim Peake as Mission Control
- Bill Hader as Featheringhamsten
After finishing work on Finding Dory, Angus MacLane was allowed to pitch the idea of making a Buzz Lightyear film, based on the idea over what movie Andy Davis would have seen in the original Toy Story to get interested in a Buzz Lightyear action figure. As a science fiction fan himself, MacLane had felt attracted to the Lightyear character since he started working at Pixar, feeling that the film's story was very "personal" for him. An aspect present in the Toy Story films that Lightyear explores is Buzz's disagreement over the nature of reality, which, coupled with his heroic ideals, made an amalgam of sci-fi clichés that MacLane intended to make more than just a punchline.
In February 2019, Tim Allen expressed interest in doing another film as he "did not see any reason why they would not do it". On The Ellen DeGeneres Show that May, Tom Hanks said that Toy Story 4 would be the final installment in the franchise, but producer Mark Nielsen disclosed a possibility of a fifth film, as Pixar was not ruling out that possibility.
In December 2020 at a Disney Investor Day meeting, Lightyear was announced as a spin-off film depicting the in-universe origin of the human Buzz Lightyear, with Chris Evans providing the character's voice.
It was revealed in March 2022 that a scene featuring a same-sex kiss between Alicia Hawthorne and another woman was initially cut, because it was random and didn't help the storyline. However, due to then-current Disney CEO Bob Chapek's response to the passing of the Floridian Parental Rights in Education Bill (also known as the "Don't Say Gay Bill") and the internal uproar it caused within Disney, the scene was reinstated.
When asked about the relationship between Lightyear and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, a Toy Story spin-off series that also serves as an in-universe production starring the Buzz character, MacLane, who directed the CG opening sequence for Star Command, said that he did not have it in mind while working on the film, but always pictured the series being developed in-universe after a trilogy of Lightyear films. He later explained that Lightyear serves as a "live-action" film within the Toy Story universe, whereas Star Command serves as a hand-drawn animated series based on the film, from which the toy versions of Buzz and Zurg derive from.
Chris Evans was announced to have been cast as the human Buzz Lightyear upon the project's announcement in December 2020. Evans was the first and only choice MacLane had for Buzz. He visited Pixar's offices one day and they pitched him the project during a visit. Evans accepted the offer immediately, given his love for animation. Taika Waititi was reported to have been cast in an undisclosed role in November 2021.
The animators wanted the film to look "cinematic" and "chunky" in order to evoke the feeling of the sci-fi films MacLane grew up with. In order to achieve this, they asked a former Industrial Light & Magic employee to build a spaceship model for them, from which the animators drew inspiration; this technique was inspired by designers for early sci-fi films using models as inspiration for their sets and props. 
Recurrent Pixar composer Michael Giacchino was announced to compose the score for the film, marking his eighth collaboration with the company and the second time he would score an installment to one of their film franchises that is traditionally scored by Randy Newman, after Cars 2. He previously scored the Toy Story television specials Toy Story of Terror! and Toy Story That Time Forgot. The score was recorded over 15 days, requiring a 39-member choir and an 89-piece orchestra. A track titled "Mission Perpetual" was released as a single on June 3, 2022. Giacchino said the track was his favorite to work on the film, describing it as a challenge due to the music needing to convey Buzz Lightyear's frustration, sadness, and determination through the sequence. The soundtrack was released on June 17, 2022 through Walt Disney Records.
Lightyear premiered on June 8, 2022 and was theatrically released in the United States on June 17, 2022 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX formats. It is the first theatrical release for Pixar in two years, since Soul, Luca, and Turning Red were assigned direct-to-streaming releases on Disney+ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 75% approval rating with an average rating of 6.70/10, based on 246 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Lightyear settles for being a rather conventional origin story instead of reaching for the stars, but this gorgeously animated adventure ably accomplishes its mission of straightforward fun." Metacritic reports a score of 60 out of 100 based on 57 critic reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The film has received criticism from some American conservatives, who have argued that the film's scene with a same-sex kiss, as well as Alisha Hawthorne's relationship with her wife, is inappropriate for children (as the Toy Story franchise's target audience is primarily families and children).
As of June 19, 2022, Lightyear has grossed $50.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $34.6 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $85.2 million.
In the United States and Canada, Lightyear was originally projected to gross $70–85 million from 4,255 theaters in its opening weekend, with some estimates reaching as high as $105 million. However, after making just $20.7 million on its first day (including $5.2 million from Thursday night previews), estimates were lowered to $51–55 million. It went on to debut to $50.6 million, finishing second behind holdover Jurassic World Dominion. Additionally, the film earned $34.6 million from 43 international markets, bringing its worldwide three-day debut to $85.2 million. Both Deadline Hollywood and Variety attributed the under-performance to competition from Jurassic World and Top Gun: Maverick, though ultimately noted it as a disappointment given the brand strength of both Pixar and the Toy Story series.
- This is the second Toy Story spin-off after Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
- This is the first Pixar film of the 2020s to be produced in a 2:39:1 aspect ratio, since Soul, unlike Luca and Turning Red, which were produced in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
- This is the first Pixar film to be released theatrically since Onward, as Soul, Luca, and Turning Red were released on Disney+ instead of being released theatrically as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- As such, this is also the first Pixar film to be released in 3D since Onward.
- This is Pixar's first spin-off film.
- The second Pixar film to be released on June 17, after Finding Dory.
- This is the second Disney animated spin-off to be produced in a 2:39:1 aspect ratio, after Planes: Fire & Rescue.
- The film is rated PG by the MPA, unlike the main films of the Toy Story franchise which were rated G.
- However, due to the brief same sex kiss, it became the first children's animated feature film to be given an NC16 rating in Singapore, equivalent to a R rating in the US.
- Contrary to people's expectations, this is not the first time Buzz is played by an actor other than Tim Allen. The list includes:
- Pat Fraley (Toy Story Treats, video games, attractions)
- Patrick Warburton (Buzz Lightyear of Star Command)
- Javier Fernandez-Peña (Spanish mode in Toy Story 3)
- Mike MacRae (video games)
- Corey Burton (Disney on Ice)
- When the movie was announced, many people were thrown into great confusion over it. This can be largely attributed to the human character and the toy sharing the same name, which led many people to believe the human Lightyear's voice actor, Chris Evans, would replace the toy Lightyear's voice actor, Tim Allen, to become the new voice of the character. Disney later clarified on Twitter that this was not the case, with Evans being the voice of the in-universe character that inspired the toy, and Allen being the voice of the toy.
- This is the second Pixar film to feature a Marvel Cinematic Universe actor after Onward.
- Tim Allen and Chris Evans both share the same birthday but are 28 years apart, with Tim being born in 1953 and Chris in 1981.
- The song performing in the trailers was "Starman" by David Bowie.
- This is the fourth Pixar film to not a have a character voiced by John Ratzenberger.
- This is the ninth Pixar film to feature the full 2011 Disney opening logo as a closing logo after Finding Dory, Cars 3, Coco, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, Soul, Luca, and Turning Red.
- This is the third Pixar film to have a post-credits scene play after the production logos, after WALL-E and Soul.
- This is also the ninth Pixar film to have a post credits scene after Finding Nemo, Cars, Brave, Monsters University, Finding Dory, Cars 3, Luca, and Turning Red.
- This is the first Pixar film to have two post-credits scenes where it is before and after.
- This is the first Pixar film to have mid-credit scene.
- Andrew Stanton, who served as the executive producer of Lightyear, previously voiced Zurg in Toy Story 2, to which Zurg himself is voiced by James Brolin in this film.
- This is the fourth Pixar movie that didn't have any songs sung by characters nor singers heard in the background, right after The Incredibles, Up, and The Good Dinosaur.
- This is the first animated Disney film to feature a kiss between a same-sex couple.
- This is also the third overall animated Disney production to feature a same-sex couple kissing, after The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder episode "Father Figures" and The Owl House episode "Clouds on the Horizon".
- As a result, the film was banned in Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates, making it Pixar's second film to have experienced international censorship, after Onward.
- James Brolin is the father of Josh Brolin, who starred alongside Chris Evans and Taika Waititi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Evans and Waititi played Steve Rogers/Captain America and Korg, whilst Brolin played Thanos. Waititi also directed Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder.
- The text at the start confirms that the first Toy Story film takes place in 1995, the year it was released.
Easter eggs and references
- Just like Chris Evans character, Steve Rogers, the Lightyear version of Buzz ends up in the future over sixty-two years later.
- To Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3:
- Darby is seen wearing a Space Ranger uniform that belonged to a ranger named Tempus, a nod to one of Buzz's earlier names Tempus from Morph.
- Like in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, Buzz's reflection in shown on the inside of his helmet.
- Buzz quotes a number of lines that he (and Utility Belt Buzz from Toy Story 2) originally said in the Toy Story franchise (besides his signature catchphrase, "To infinity and beyond").
- Toy Story and Toy Story 2: "Buzz Lightyear mission log."
- Toy Story: "Terrain seems a bit unstable. No readout yet if the air is breathable. There seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere."
- Toy Story: "You're mocking me, aren't you?"
- Toy Story: "Blast!"
- Toy Story: "My ship!"
- Toy Story: "Buzz Lightyear to Star Command. Come in, Star Command. Star Command, come in. Why don't they answer?"
- Toy Story 2: "Not today, Zurg!"
- Toy Story 2: "I'm Buzz Lightyear, I'm always sure!"
- Buzz's ship is shown to be powered by a crystal. This is likely an homage to how in Toy Story, where Buzz asks Woody if his people have yet to discover crystalline fusion.
- The red cones that the characters get trapped in are a reference to the traffic cones that the toys use to cross the road in Toy Story 2.
- Buzz telling Featheringhamsten that he will not speak unless spoken to is a callback to one of the rules that Buzz, after being reprogrammed by Lotso and his gang, explains to the rest of Andy's toys after they are imprisoned at Sunnyside Daycare in Toy Story 3.
- A Little Green Man appears on Burnside's shelf during a post-credits scene.
- The ship Buzz and his team take off in at the end of the film resembles the spaceship box that all the Buzz Lightyear toys are packed in, in Toy Story and Toy Story 2.
- Buzz initially mistakes Zurg for his father, which the emperor claimed he was in Toy Story 2.
- To Buzz Lightyear of Star Command:
- When Alisha catches Buzz doing a mission log, she tells him nobody ever listens to them. In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins, Warp Darkmatter made the same remark about mission logs.
- One of the crew members listened as Buzz prepares his first flight is named Booster, a nod to Booster Munchapper, one of Buzz' teammates from the series.
- The ending of the film has Buzz and his new team shouting "To Infinity and Beyond!" as they fly to a new adventure, much like the ending of The Adventure Begins.
- Zurg's identity as an alternate future's Buzz trying to meddle in his past self's time period recalls the Evil Buzz Lightyear that occupied Zurg's Evil Emperor role in his home universe. Additionally, a future version of Buzz appeared in an episode of Star Command.
- The number on Izzy's suit is 42, the same number as Buzz' ship in Star Command.
- The Pizza Planet Truck can be seen parked near a garage when Buzz is being driven to the launch site so he can partake in the flight test.
- One of the jetpacks seen at the base resembles the Mandalorian jetpacks from the Star Wars franchise.
- A crate resembling WALL-E in his cube-shaped body can be seen in the control deck as it breaks off.
- Some scream canisters from Monsters, Inc. can be seen when Buzz hides in the room where the Space Ranger suits are stored.
- M-O, BURN-E, and a Little Green Man makes a cameo in a post-credits scene on Burnside's shelf.
- A Hidden Mickey appears in the form of some balloons on Alisha's 40th anniversary celebration party.
- The spaceships' launching area resembles the Space Mountain attractions at the Disney parks.
- A drink labeled Wade Water, showing its mascot Wade, is a reference to Pixar's next upcoming film, Elemental.
- "Lightyear Trailer & Poster Previews Pixar's Toy Story Spin-Off". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved on April 21, 2022.
- "Same-Sex Kiss Restored in Pixar’s Lightyear Following Staff Uproar Over Don’t Say Gay Bill (EXCLUSIVE)". Collider (March 18, 2022). Retrieved on March 22, 2022.
- "Archived copy".
- Hermanns, Grant (April 21, 2022). "Angus MacLane & Galyn Susman Interview: Lightyear". Screen Rant.
- Lussier, Germain (April 21, 2022). "Lightyear Explained: The Story Behind Pixar's New Toy Story Film". Gizmodo.
- "Archived copy".
- "Archived copy".
- "'Lightyear' Director Angus MacLane on Making the Action Sci-Fi Movie That Buzz Lightyear Is Based On". Collider (October 27, 2021). Retrieved on February 8, 2022.
- Disney-Pixar movie Lightyear banned in several countries over same-sex kiss
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