The idea of Pixar returning to the world of Toy Story in order to dig deeper into the lives of flesh and blood humans might not sound like the most promising premise on its face, but the first teaser trailer for director Angus McClain’s Lightyear makes it seems like the studio’s figured out a way to pull the concept off.
Though Buzz Lightyear was just a (very fancy) toy when he was first introduced in Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story back in 1995, Lightyear tells the story of the living (though fictional) astronaut whose adventures into space inspired the action figure line. In this Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans), you can see bits and pieces of the outsized, cartoonish personality all of the Buzz Lightyear dolls here imbued with in the Toy Story movies. But the teaser gives you more of a sense of where those aspects of Lightyear’s identity come from, and what it was about him specifically that made toy manufacturers want to turn him into a fast-selling collectible.
What’s kind of funny, and not all that surprising about the teaser is how much of Lightyear’s gags and plot points appear to have been at least partially inspired by Marvel Studio’s Captain Marvel, which drew inspiration from films like Top Gun. Though Toy Story’s signature three-eyed aliens don’t make appearances, we’re shown brief glimpses of other Star Command officers, a robotic ginger cat Buzz seems to befriend, and a handful of gorgeous shots of him launching into space to seemingly slingshot around a local star.
The cat and shots of Lightyear frantically trying to deal with a swarm of tentacles trying to eat him both feel like nods to Captain Marvel, a corporate cousin to Lightyear, which is…fine. But one can only hope that the story is sparing in those kinds of references because the movie feels like it has the potential to be something quite visually impressive and narratively intriguing— particularly if it ends up being more of a deep dive into what kind of person Buzz Lightyear really was beyond his fame and oversized chin.
Lightyear blasts into theaters on June 17, 2022.
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