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What Chris Evans Brings To The Lead Role In Lightyear, According To The Toy Story Spinoff’s Director

Buzz in the trailer for Lightyear
(Image credit: Disney/Pixar)

When it was announced that Tim Allen would not voice Buzz Lightyear in the character’s upcoming spin-off movie, fans immediately wondered who would play the iconic Toy Story astronaut. After a bit of speculation, Disney found a suitably heroic replacement in Chris Evans, a.k.a Captain America. While it might be strange to hear a different voice come out of Buzz Lightyear’s mouth, Lightyear director Angus MacLane is thrilled for the new dimensions Chris Evans will bring to the role. 

In an interview with Fandango, Lightyear director Angus MacLane (Finding Dory) revealed his decision-making process behind the casting of Chris Evans. The Pixar veteran cited a respect for Evans’ previous work as well as a desire to find the humor in a relatively straitlaced character. MacLane explained: 

He was the first choice, pretty much as soon as we knew we were going to do it. And he came up, drove up to Pixar. And we hung out for a day and pitched him the movie. And he was thrilled. He really was. He totally got what we were going for. He's been such a part of the process of honing that voice and recognizing the reverence to what it could be, and what the character should be, and taking that seriously, and finding the comedy in the character of it, and not in mockery. But because of his gravitas and star power, because of who he is as a performer, he knows how to carry that straight-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.

While some fans were disappointed that Tim Allen would not return for Lightyear, the casting decision actually makes a fair amount of sense. The film’s plot doesn’t actually revolve around the action figure that we’ve all come to know and love. Rather, the story will follow the astronaut who theoretically inspired the Buzz Lightyear line of toys in the Toy Story universe (and yes, he actually has hair). For Angus MacLane, Chris Evans was the natural choice to embody this new incarnation of Buzz: 

It's been such a wonderful experience. He's such a joy. And he's an animation fan. He at one time considered being an animator, so he was really interested in the process. You don't always get that. It really helped to show him the sequence in storyboards, and he'd say, ‘I got it.’ He could just do it. Especially action scenes. He's so good. I can't say enough great things about Chris Evans. I'm so glad he said yes.

Lightyear is set to be released in the summer of 2022. Until then, you can check out CinemaBlend’s line-up of upcoming movie releases

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.