The Wild Connection Between Disney’s Buzz Lightyear Movie ‘Lightyear’ and ‘Toy Story’

·3 min read
Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

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This story contains spoilers from Disney and Pixar's Lightyear.

To infinity and beyond! Lightyear just flew into theaters and moviegoers wasted no time in checking out the latest film in the Toy Story franchise. Yes, the new animated film revolves around the life of Buzz Lightyear — but it's not the toy that everyone knows and loves. Instead, Disney and Pixar decided to expand our knowledge of the fictional space ranger the character is based on in the original move and give him his own film, complete with evil threats and an adorable pet for a sidekick.

Before we go anywhere, we need to break down the premise of the action flick. The movie follows a human Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans instead of Tim Allen), who's trying to make it back to Earth after getting stranded with his commander and crew on a hostile planet. Throw in his arch-nemesis Zurg, a cat named Sox for a scene partner and some cool special effects, and you've got yourself a good understanding of the movie, right?

Well, not necessarily. It turns out that fans of the Toy Story movies are a bit confused on where Lightyear sits in the franchise canon. Is Lightyear a sequel to the previous four films or is it an entirely separate movie altogether?

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

Don't worry, we're here to help walk you through understanding how Lightyear folds into Toy Story. The short answer is this: The film lives in the same universe but it's a separate movie altogether. The best part? You can watch it without needing any knowledge from its predecessor film.

So how did we figure this out? It's actually a pretty simple explanation and it all starts with a December 2020 tweet from the man behind the human Buzz Lightyear himself. When Chris announced that he joined the project, he tried — and failed — to explain Lightyear's connection to Toy Story.

"And just to be clear, this isn't Buzz Lightyear the toy. This is the origin story of the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on," he tweeted at the time. To be clear, Buzz Lightyear is not a real-life space ranger. Just like his owner Andy, he's a fictional character and Lightyear explores his origin story.

Furthermore, Lightyear is actually supposed to be the movie Andy saw in theaters way back in 1995, when the Toy Story world initially came to life. And thanks to Disney and Pixar, the opening title card backs our theory to a tee:

"In 1995, a boy named Andy got a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday. It was from his favorite movie. This is that movie."

So there you have it. Is the movie supposed to live in conjunction to the initial story brought to life in the 1990s? Yes. Is it meant to be a direct sequel (or in this case, prequel) to the original flick? Not at all. Either way, we're going to rewatch it and go on an intergalactic adventure all over again.

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