Tom Hanks Reacts To Lightyear Replacing Tim Allen And The Toy Story Spinoff Competing With Elvis

Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Lightyear
(Image credit: Disney/Pixar)

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have worked their way into the hearts of a generation with the Toy Story films. Now however, things have changed, as Pixar’s new film Lightyear, while influenced by those movies is actually not part of the Toy Story universe. Tim Allen is not voicing Buzz Lightyear, which disappoints Tom Hanks because he was apparently looking forward to going head-to-head with his old friend at the box office.

CinemaBlend recently spoke to Hanks, who plays the infamous Col. Tom Parker in Baz Luhrmann’s new film Elvis. Our own Sean O’Connell asked Hanks what it was like going up against a Buzz Lightyear movie in theaters, and Hanks made it clear he’s as confused as everybody why Tim Allen isn’t voicing Buzz this time around, though in the end he’s just happy people are going to the movies again. Hanks explained…

How about that? Actually, I wanted to go head-to-head with Tim Allen and then they didn’t let Tim Allen do it. I don’t understand that. Here’s the thing – just as long as people come back to the motion picture theater. I want to go back in the theater with a bunch of strangers and leave with something in common. That’s what I want to do and, going to see a movie with him [Allen] – I’m looking forward to that.

The whole Lightyear is a “movie about the character the toy was based on” thing, that has practically become a meme, is a fairly unusual way to extend a franchise, though one that only a few movies like Toy Story could actually pull off. Regardless of the rationale there are many fans, and friends of Tim Allen who just don’t understand the reason to recast the voice of Buzz. Tom Hanks is clearly among their number. Allen himself has also voiced his own confusion over not being brought back.

As far as when Tom Hanks will be able to see Tim Allen at the movies again, that time is unclear. His only major upcoming project is the next entry in The Santa Clause franchise, but that will be a mini-series for Disney+, so he won’t be on the big screen. 

And as far as the box office battle goes, Lightyear is currently on top of Elvis at the domestic box office, but that may not last. Lightyear has been out for an additional week, and has been underperforming compared to what we would expect from Pixar from the outset. Elvis isn’t the biggest blockbuster, but it’s doing well in theaters now and may eventually overtake Lightyear. 

Perhaps viewers have just become accustomed to seeing Pixar films on Disney+ after three straight releases to streaming. Maybe the buzz around Lightyear will finally take off when the movie comes home.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.