Well this was a bit sooner than anticipated! And sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln, it looks like it’s going to be fantastic!
There’s nothing better than waking up to frantic messages from my closest fangirl friends, who are just as excited as I am to share something new. And this morning I was thrilled to find that Pixar had released both the teaser trailer and poster for Lightyear! I honestly wasn’t expecting anything until Disney+ day on November 12 at the earliest, so this was a huge surprise.
Buzz’s spacesuit looks amazing on the poster! Obviously, it was going to have to be brought more into the functional real world than the plastic toy version, and they did a wonderful job with it. And the Star Command logo is indeed the one that I wrote about a few months back. But while the glimpse of Buzz in his iconic suit is great to see, the trailer is really where it’s at…
There’s so much to process in this! And all of it is SO good.
First off, I have to mention human Buzz. Finally getting to see him in street clothes, and with his hair freed from beneath the purple hood, has honestly been one of the things I’ve been looking forward to most. Well, Pixar did NOT disappoint! Buzz looks exactly like my fangirl friends and I have been picturing him for the past decade, and I couldn’t be happier. I mean, look at this cutie:
But now on to the sleuth sort of stuff. I think we can clearly determine a few new characters from this trailer, even though they haven’t been announced outright. The books I found online mention a new friend and co-lead who will play a significant role in the story. My guess is it’s this person, named Alicia Hawthorne based on their nameplate and the subtitles:
I’m also very intrigued by this adorable robot cat, named Sox based on the subtitles (and you can see the tag on the collar briefly):
One other character has a visible nameplate, reading Burnside. He appears to be more of a commanding officer:
Of course the whole film will be chock full of new characters, but the fact that these three make repeat appearances throughout the trailer suggests that they will be integral to the story.
We got one other little bit of information today, in the form of an interview with director Angus MacLane on the D23 website. Although he doesn’t give away any new plot details, he does mention working with Chris Evans, who is voicing the young, human version of Buzz in Lightyear:
“He’s a really good comedic actor, he’s a really good dramatic actor, and he’s really good at action. When we pitched it to him, we saw how easy he was to work with and how excited he was for the project. Once he agreed to do it, we started recording, and it was a really natural fit; it couldn’t have gone better. It’s such a breeze every time we work together. Chris is such a great partner for the film, creatively and spiritually. He’s just so excited and just really positive about it. He’s exactly who you think he is. He’s awesome!”
And Evans himself made a statement about his role as Buzz:
“The phrase ‘a dream come true’ gets thrown around a lot, but I’ve never meant it more in my life. Anyone who knows me knows that my love for animated films runs deep. I can’t believe that I get to be a part of the Pixar family and work with these truly brilliant artists who tell stories unlike anyone else. Watching them work is nothing short of magic. I pinch myself every day.”
MacLane also discussed the cinematic style of Lightyear, based on sci-fi films of the late 1970s and early 1980s:
“There’s a very specific cinematography aesthetic I was chasing, which is a lot of chiaroscuro—a lot of light and dark. I also wanted to make the world feel really tactile and chunky. There’s a lot of different sci-fi design aesthetics, but especially in that era that, the ships and the materials were very chunky and the industrial design for them was really robust.”
“We first had a Buzz Lightyear ship built by a modelmaker who used to work at ILM [Industrial Light & Magic]. Then, after we saw the ship in 3D, we said, ‘OK, what are the signifiers that make it feel tangible? How do we get that into the movie?’ At the same time, we didn’t want it to look like live-action, because then the CG characters wouldn’t sit in there. It was really a balance of design aesthetics. From shape to surface texture to paint color, everything was designed with that in mind.”
And he mentioned any possible references to other movies in the sci-fi genre:
“There might be something that feels like an echo of something, but we never want things to be too overt. The movie is meant to be a love letter to film.”
I really like that he said this, because there has already been a lot of speculation online about Lightyear copying this or that element from other movies. This is not a Marvel or Star Wars copycat. It’s not even a copy of the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command series. It’s going to be an entirely original film, and one I am immensely excited about. I love MacLane’s enthusiasm for the project; you can tell he’s pouring his whole heart into it. I never felt that enthusiasm coming from Josh Cooley about Toy Story 4, and it truly makes a difference when someone is passionate about what they’re working on.
Also, there’s one personal thing I need to make clear, before we get too deep in the movie’s hype: I am not a sci-fi action-adventure fan in general. I’ll tolerate the genre if it’s something my husband wants to watch – one exception I’ll sometimes make is Captain America, so at least it’s fun for me that Chris Evans is voicing Buzz. But you won’t see me over-analyzing every little detail of Lightyear in comparison to Star Wars, or Marvel, or anything else along those lines. I’m also not an expert on the intricacies of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, so trying to find Easter eggs related to that won’t be my focus, either. I’m going to be looking at this this movie solely from the perspective of a Toy Story fan. I love Buzz, he’s one of my absolute favorite characters, so that’s where I’ll be coming from. I also have great respect for Angus MacLane and Galyn Susman because they also made the masterpiece that is Toy Story of Terror, so I can’t wait to see what they have in store with this one.
Now that the (literal robot) cat’s out of the bag, we might be seeing updates about Lightyear on a more regular basis! I’ll be on the lookout, that’s for sure, so stay tuned!
Images and video © Disney/Pixar.