Buzz Lightyear and Izzy meeting. Image: Disney Pixar
(Disney Pixar)

Stop Asking Why Buzz Lightyear Is Chris Evans Instead of Tim Allen

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It’s been a weird time online. Now that we know more about Lightyear, there have been a lot of confused takes on the Tim Allen vs. Chris Evans front, with the latter, to an extent, stepping into the former’s role. Frankly, the casting of Evans as Buzz makes a lot of sense in terms of the movie and what Lightyear represents in the canon of Toy Story. But that isn’t stopping people like actress Patricia Heaton from going online and just woefully misunderstanding what they’re doing with the movie and rallying behind her friend Tim Allen, instead.

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Heaton started off this rant by tweeting “Saw the trailer for Buzz Lightyear and all I can say is Disney/Pixar made a HUGE mistake in not casting my pal Tim Allen in the role that he originated, the role that he owns. Tim IS Buzz! Why would they completely castrate this iconic, beloved character?” And when users quickly pointed out to her that the movie is not a continuation of the Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story but, instead, that Lightyear is an “origin” story, she still decided to oddly double down.

“Ok so the current Buzz Lightyear movie is an origin story – but the reason the character became so beloved is because of what Tim Allen created. Why remove the one element that makes us want to see it?#stupidHollywooddecisions

Not only does it make a lot of sense to have Evans voicing the character from the “unpacking a franchise” standpoint, but also, if you’re looking at it from the mindset of “Oh, this started all the love for Buzz that spanned years” side of things, you need to have a younger actor as Buzz Lightyear. So Evans … just works in a way that Allen wouldn’t. And they’re also playing two different kinds of Buzz Lightyear!

Heaton is also not the only one. Her replies are filled with the uninformed yelling about Tim Allen not being Buzz Lightyear without understanding the why behind the casting choice. I already wrote about why Tim Allen isn’t playing Buzz, but I want to focus especially on the commentary that this casting makes about toys and actors and the world of franchises as a whole, because it’s so good and things like Heaton’s tweets are completely erasing that conversation from happening.

What this movie shows us is, within the universe of the Toy Story movies, the first film that went on to inspire sequels and eventually the cartoon show that the toy is based on. So, in theory, we’re seeing a toy that has been a part of a larger franchise for years when we watch Toy Story, and so, having the same actor who initially played him also be the toy’s voice is … not likely to happen.

A great comparison, in my opinion, is the lack of Robert Downey Jr.’s voice in the Marvel’s What If…? series and the different voice for the Iron Man toys. It’s common practice that another actor will take on that role for animated work/a different voice actor will do the merchandise. So, in theory, Tim Allen’s Buzz is literally the voice actor for the toys only, because we know that Patrick Warburton was Buzz in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.

By saying that Buzz is only Tim Allen, you’re not only erasing Warburton’s work, but you’re also missing the entire point of what these movies are showing us. So yeah, sure, Tim Allen was the first Buzz that we saw, but that doesn’t take away from Lightyear and Chris Evans’ performance. In fact, Evans’ performance adds a new layer to the character and makes Toy Story that much more informed.

(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 current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.