Voice of Buzz Lightyear: why does Chris Evans provide Lightyear’s voice in 2022 movie - why isn’t it Tim Allen

Buzz has got a brand-new voice for his latest outing - so why didn’t Tim Allen return to the character?

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The Toy Story animated film franchise began in 1995, depicting the story of Woody, a cowboy doll who feels threatened when his young owner, Andy, receives a new spaceman toy named Buzz Lightyear.

It was a smash hit, and three sequels were released in 1999, 2010, and 2019, with Tim Allen reprising his role as Buzz in all four films.

While the toy version of Buzz was portrayed in Toy Story, new film Lightyear will focus on the "real-life" hero who inspired the franchise’s character.

But is Allen back for the ride?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Buzz Lightyear’s voice actor?

Along with the project’s announcement in December 2020, Chris Evans was confirmed as the human Buzz Lightyear’s voice actor.

Evans was director Angus MacLane’s first and only choice for Buzz, and accepted the offer instantly after being pitched the project during a visit to Pixar’s offices.

The actor has described his transition from Captain America to his new role in the Toy Story spin-off as "intimidating."

Evans admitted that he was first more daunted by playing the part of Captain America because “there were so many people who had an idea of the character”.

“I thought jumping that hurdle would be tall enough,” he added, “but now trying to fill these shoes is just as daunting.”

Lightyear will be released in UK cinemas on 17 June (Pic: © 2021 Disney/Pixar)Lightyear will be released in UK cinemas on 17 June (Pic: © 2021 Disney/Pixar)
Lightyear will be released in UK cinemas on 17 June (Pic: © 2021 Disney/Pixar)

Why is Tim Allen not returning?

Tim Allen expressed his interest in doing another Toy Story film in early 2019, saying that he "did not see any reason why they would not do it".

However, Tom Hanks, the voice of Woody, stated a few months later that Toy Story 4 would be the final movie in the franchise - though producer Mark Nielsen hinted at the possibility of a fifth picture, indicating Pixar was not ruling it out.

As to exactly why Allen wasn’t chosen to reprise his role of Buzz in the new film remains to be seen, but technically, the Lightyear depicted in the more recent movie is a separate character from that shown in the Toy Story films.

That’s because rather than the toy version of Buzz presented in Toy Story, Lightyear will focus on the "real-life" hero who inspired the franchise’s character.

Of course, there was no “real-life” Buzz Lightyear in our reality, but in the universe of Pixar, six-year-old Andy is said to have received his Buzz Lightyear action figure as an early birthday present after seeing an action-packed film about a brave Space Ranger with his mother.

That film is Angus MacLane’s out-of-this-world computer-animated adventure.

Not only does the new film sound different to Toy Story, it looks different too.

Despite the fact that Lightyear takes place in a different universe than Pixar’s previous work and iconography from Andy’s childhood abounds – including Buzz’s catchphrase and Emperor Zurg’s insidious threat – the animators wanted the film to look "cinematic" and "chunky" to evoke the feeling of the sci-fi films the director grew up with.

The animation, according to MacLane, takes various "visual lessons" from early sci-fi and space opera films, such as the Star Wars franchise, without attempting to imitate them.

When can I watch it?

Lightyear is scheduled to be released on 17 June 2022.

It will be Pixar’s first film since 2020’s Onward to be given a theatrical release, after Soul, Luca and Turning Red were all given direct-to-streaming releases on Disney+ following the Covid-19 pandemic.