After last December’s out-of-nowhere announcement, Disney-Pixar have now given gave us our first look at their highly anticipated upcoming project: Lightyear.
In case you aren’t caught up, here’s the backstory behind Lightyear: within the universe of Pixar’s Toy Story films, Buzz Lightyear was a movie character that then inspired the in-universe Buzz Lightyear cartoon, action figure and extended toy line, and Lightyear is the origin story of that in-universe character. As Pixar head Pete Docter explained when the movie was first announced: “At first glance you might think, ‘Well, this is a Toy Story film. Well, not so fast! See, back when we created the very first Toy Story, we designed Buzz Lightyear with the idea that he was a toy based on some really cool character from an epic, blockbuster film. Well, all these years later we decided it’s time to make that film.”
Sound complicated? Don’t worry, the biggest message of Lightyear‘s initial teaser is: “Don’t worry about all that.” This isn’t a movie concerned with continuities or tying into the existing Toy Story canon, and while of course there are going to be some easter eggs and callbacks—mostly the obligatory “character sees their iconic costume for the first time” shot—Lightyear looks to be laser-focused on just telling a good old retro futuristic sci-fi epic that happens to be an origin story of sorts for a beloved character.
Visually, this trailer is absolutely stunning, even by the absurdly high standards set by previous Pixar films. I’ve been on a huge vintage animation binge, and Lightyear‘s first trailer is a solid reminder of what is possible with computer animation when it’s in the hands of people who are talented and genuinely love what they’re doing. The opening shot of the space center on a desert planet is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and everything that follows—a series of clips following Buzz as he explores distant planets and tangles with aliens while zipping through space at light speed—meets or even exceeds this initial high.
Also, it’s set to “Starman”, and having David Bowie music in a trailer has always been the correct move.
Noticeably absent from this teaser: dialogue. There are only about three words spoken in the trailer apart from the mission control pre-liftoff checks reminiscent of literally every space movie ever. The trailer is more focused on setting the tone and feel of the movie, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s a strategic move on Disney’s part.
See, Lightyear doesn’t feature Buzz’s longtime voice actor Tim Allen in the title role; instead he’s being played by Chris Evans, best known as Jake Wyler from ’90s classic Not Another Teen Movie. It’s not the first time that Buzz has been played by someone else, and Disney has since clarified that Evans would not be replacing Allen as the voice of Buzz Lightyear the toy and Evans’ casting is mostly a way to help distinguish between “Buzz Lightyear: Toy” and “Buzz Lightyear: Movie Character”, but there was initially some controversy over the move because this is 2021 and nothing is allowed to exist without some form of controversy.
But enough about all that. Our first glimpse of Lightyear delivers in just about every way, looking to hit that sweet spot of new enough to be a clever way to reintroduce the character to a new generation of fans while being familiar enough to satisfy the diehards, and it has me excited for a Pixar movie in a way I haven’t been in years. If this trailer is anything to go by, we’re looking at something truly special when Lightyear hits theaters in the summer of 2022.
Also, I’ve been told that Chris Evans also starred in a series of Marvel movies, you might be more familiar with those.
So what do you think of the trailer for Lightyear? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re looking for horror trailers, we’ve got you covered!