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The Truth About Lightyear Revealed

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For months we’ve been scratching our heads over these trailers Disney has been sending out for a movie simply called “Lightyear.” They appear to be about Buzz Lightyear, only he’s not a toy, he’s an actual astronaut, and he’s not overconfident and reckless, but rather timid and cautious. And the voice coming out of him isn’t Tim Allen, but Chris “Captain America” Evans. Reboot? Reimagining? Or has Buzz been “real” all this time? Was the toy based on a….person?

What we found most puzzling about Lightyear is that it seemed to be a retcon of what Pixar has been telling us all this time about the Buzz IP in-universe. In Toy Story it was strongly implied to be a cartoon series, and to hammer that home, Disney later made the cartoon series for real (but good luck finding it on Disney+, it still ain’t there).

Finally, someone got some answers: the website iO9, which still exists buried within Gizmodo, got Lightyear writer and director Angus McLane on the phone to explain this movie’s continuity and how it fits into what’s already been established. We think we get it now, but it’s still a bit of a reach.

According to McLane, the whole Buzz Lightyear phenomenon started as a movie, released sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. By no coincidence this is when McLane himself watched and fell in love with Star Wars — the parallel is intentional. It will not be obvious when the Lightyear film was “made” as practical effects are impossible to mimic if everything’s CGI, but all the technology will be buttons and dials — no touchscreens or anything people couldn’t conceive of back in the late 70s.

Years after the movie (or movies — don’t count out a sequel here), the Lightyear property was turned into a much lighter, much goofier Saturday Morning cartoon, which was a very common business practice in the 90s. This was also when the original Lightyear movie was released on VHS, through which McLane claims Andy grew up seeing it.

So there you go. Does it all make sense now? There’s another new trailer too — see it below. Lightyear comes out in theaters June 17.