Lightyear is an upcoming American computer-animated science fiction action-adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is a spin-off of the Toy Story film series, serving as an origin story for the fictional test pilot/astronaut character who the Buzz Lightyear toy/action figure featured in the main films was inspired by, and is presented as a blockbuster film within a film the characters in Toy Story would watch entertainment news. This concept was previously explored with the 2000 direct-to-video film Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins which was the pilot to a spin-off television series, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2000–2001).
While spending years attempting to return home, marooned Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear encounters an army of ruthless robots commanded by Zurg who are attempting to steal his fuel source.
A sci-fi action adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy, Lightyear follows the legendary Space Ranger after he’s 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’s 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.
Who Is in the Lightyear Cast?
Captain America himself, Chris Evans, will be the voice of the film’s titular Space Ranger. Although Tim Allen voiced Buzz Lightyear in the first four Toy Story films and has continued voicing him much of its related media, MacLane, who coincidentally directed Allen in the 2011 Toy Story short film Small Fry and the 2013 television special Toy Story of Terror!, said the following about this new casting:
“I wanted the film to have like a gravitas to it and a seriousness to it, but also have an actor who could bring comedy with that seriousness. He was really the first and only choice. I didn’t have a number two. It was very clear from the get-go. It was like, ‘If you were gonna make a legitimate sci-fi film about Buzz Lightyear, who would you get? Well, Chris Evans.’ You need someone that has that star power. If it had to be live-action, who would do it? He can do both. Although that chin would be so weird in live-action. You could never get around that. But he was the first choice and he’s been such an amazing partner. He totally got the material right away and felt the sense of responsibility to figure out the translation to the character, for this larger context of this sci-fi movie and really deliver on it. He’s just been a wonderful creative partner in the whole process.”
Apart from Evans, Keke Palmer (Scream Queens), Dale Soules (Orange Is the New Black), and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) have also been announced as part of the cast, lending their voices to other ambitious recruits at Star Command. The voice cast also includes Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, Peter Sohn, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. Bonus.
When Is the Lightyear Release Date?
Lightyear is set to release on June 17, 2022, three months after the last Pixar film, Turning Red. As for whether or not Lightyear will receive a simultaneous release with Disney+, the box office success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has convinced Disney to give theater-only releases to many of their 2021 movies and presumably everything after.
Lightyear is the first Pixar film since Onward to receive a standard theatrical release after Disney announced that Turning Red would become the third Pixar movie in a row to premiere exclusively on Disney+ at no extra charge. At the moment, it remains to be seen if and when the movie will be released on Disney+.