Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear.

‘Lightyear’: So Why Didn’t Tim Allen Voice Buzz Lightyear?

Lightyear is a movie that makes fans finally understand why Toy Story’s Andy was so excited to leave his favorite toys behind when he got that Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday. Chris Evans and company are making the rounds in the movie’s press tour and giving us their insights, that doesn’t mean we still aren’t a bit confused about what’s going on with the Lightyear plot.

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There are some questions that fans have heading into Lightyear, ahead of its June 17 release—mainly where exactly the movie hits, whether or not it’s about a real person in the Toy Story universe or is a sci-fi film, and most commonly … where is Tim Allen? For fans of Toy Story, Tim Allen was our Buzz Lightyear because he voiced the toy that came crashing into Andy’s room and tried to take over Woody’s (Tom Hanks) role as they leader among the toys.

When Disney announced that Chris Evans would be voicing Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear, many were excited (myself included), but some also had questions about why it wouldn’t just be Allen or what exactly this movie was going to be, and while we know a lot more about the timeframe of Lightyear and its connection to Andy, fans are still a bit confused on why there’s no Tim Allen in the movie. Here’s why Tim Allen wasn’t the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear, explained.

Why Tim Allen didn’t voice Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear, explained

The short answer is just that this is a different thing. Look at things that we’ve had in the past when a movie franchise turns into a cartoon series or what have you. The cast changes. Tom Holland is not out here voicing Peter Parker in Marvel’s animated offerings because he’s busy, and that’s not to say voice actors are not busy, it’s just a different gambit, and that’s why there’s somewhat of a division between the live-action world and the animated one.

And what’s so great about Lightyear is that it is highlighting that division in its own way. The Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story was a toy, not the actual character from the movie, and he had his own personality—and role to play in the story. Lightyear Director Angus MacLane explained to Vanity Fair that the change marks the difference between a more comedic character and a serious, dramatic one: “Tim’s version of Buzz is a little goofier and is a little dumber, and so he is the comic relief. In this film, Buzz is the action hero. He’s serious and ambitious and funny, but not in a goofy way that would undercut the drama. Chris Evans has the gravitas and that movie-star quality that our character needed to separate him and the movie from Tim’s version of the toy in Toy Story.”

For Andy and the rest of the characters in the Toy Story universe, Lightyear is a live-action movie where the main character isn’t exactly the comedic, egotistical buffoon that the toy version is. Yes, I know, this movie is animated for us, but in Andy’s world, this is just what people look like. (And again, Buzz is hot, so I would for sure be in love with that actor, who I guess, in theory, is just Chris Evans? That’s where I get confused.)

So sure, Tim Allen could have been the “live-action” voice actor who then played the cartoon who then went on to do the voice for the toy, but that just feels incredibly rare in that industry, so it makes sense to have a different actor playing Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear—and Allen would’ve had to play the character very differently from his original comedic role, anyway. Evans does an incredible job of bringing this version of Buzz to life so that it doesn’t feel out of place. So, it all just makes sense to have Chris Evans taking on Buzz versus bringing Tim Allen back for it.

(featured image: Pixar)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.