Producer Gayln Susman reveals why Chris Evans was cast as the iconic Buzz instead of Tim Allen in Pixar’s highly-anticipated Lightyear film. Susman also admits that perhaps the reason Chris Evans is so committed to his Buzz Lightyear movie role might be because he knows he has some pretty big shoes to fill, with lots of pressure being directed his way as well.
Lightyear is the latest installment in the Toy Story franchise. It also serves as both a prequel and spinoff to the beloved Pixar movies. The film is set to explore the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, which will serve as the inspiration for Allen’s famous version in the Toy Story universe. Throughout Lightyear, Buzz and a large group of Star Command workers ended up landing on an alien planet. The clan struggles to escape, due to the fact that their hyperspace fuel has been depleted and all their efforts to restore its energy remain futile. Evans stars as the main lead in the upcoming film, alongside Dale Soules, Taika Waititi, Peter Sohn, Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez and Isiah Whitlock Jr. Although the film was announced in late 2020, Lightyear has actually been in development for roughly 6 years now. The Toy Story prequel first got its wings after the release of 2016’s Finding Dory, when the sequel’s co-director, Angus MacLane ended up pitching his concept to Pixar.
MacLane had big dreams of Lightyear being his first solo feature film and marking his directorial debut. Lucky for MacLane, some dreams do come true and Pixar immediately adored his vision. As the film’s release date inches closer and closer, Screen Rant had the opportunity to attend the first-look presentation for Lightyear, which takes a deep dive into the Toy Story spin-off. While discussing the outstanding cast for the film, producer Susman shared just how dedicated and hard-working Evans was in order to make sure he held up to the high standard of the hero he is portraying. She also revealed the reasons the creative team behind the film ultimately felt as though they needed a fresh, new actor to play young Buzz, and why Evans was definitely the man for the job.
“We needed a new voice for Buzz. He needed to have a nice, rich sound, able to be both dramatic and comedic – and most importantly, he needed to be heroic without coming off as arrogant or dense. That’s a tall order, and we immediately knew we had to ask Chris,” Susman stated. “What we didn’t know is that he is a huge animation fan, and would bring the love and passion into the project as well as his myriad acting talents. He even appeared in animation dailies and gave the team a pep talk. It’s really been a wonderful collaboration, and we couldn’t be happier.”
Evans’ casting originally did spark some controversy and criticism amongst long-term fans who believed that Pixar seemingly was writing original star, Allen, completely off. Yet, this is a younger version of Buzz Lightyear that has never been seen before, and therefore the logical rationale to cast someone new who can achieve and bring that new spark to the forefront is valid. Plus, it seems as though Susman has nothing but faith and confidence that Evans was meant to play this role and will do it justice.
Lightyear is scheduled to be released in theaters on June 17, 2022.