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SYFY WIRE Lightyear

Tim Allen on not returning for ‘Lightyear’: ‘It has no relationship to Buzz’

The Toy Story star doesn't seem too concerned about the spinoff, but he doesn't seem too interested, either.

By Matthew Jackson
A still from Lightyear (2022)

Since 1995, across four feature films, two TV specials, and several video games, Tim Allen has been the voice of Buzz Lightyear, the intrepid Space Ranger who sometimes has trouble remembering that he's an action figure and not a legendary sci-fi hero. The legendary sci-fi hero who inspired that action figure is a different Buzz Lightyear altogether, one brought to life through the voice of Chris Evans in this year's Lightyear. Now, Allen is addressing the spinoff film for the first time, and while he doesn't seem too bothered about it, he doesn't seem all that interested either.

Speaking to Extra as part of the promotional cycle for his new unscripted series More Power, Allen noted that he could recall having discussions with the Toy Story folks about some kind of standalone Buzz Lightyear adventure at one time, but that "a whole new team" of filmmakers is essentially running the show at Pixar now. In the interview, Allen notes that he's "stayed out of this" with regard to Lightyear, because it's so far removed from his own experience with the character.

Though Allen does seem to be leaning in the direction of a diplomatic response to a Buzz Lightyear story happening without his involvement, he does note that he's disappointed in the lack of real Toy Story connective tissue in the film.

"It's a wonderful story. It just doesn't seem to have any connection to the toy," Allen said. "It's a little...I dunno. It has no relationship to Buzz. It's just no connection. I wish there was a better connection to it."

In some ways, though, the lack of connection to Buzz as he exists as a Toy Story character was exactly the point. As director Angus MacLane explained to SYFY WIRE:

"It has a recognizable IP with tons of creative freedom because there’s so little pinned down. We wanted to make a sci-fi action film and we always loved Buzz Lightyear, having worked with him. It allowed the creative freedom and the space, because of the way we were framing it, to really pursue the movie without having to do a checklist of things we were expected to hit for 'the Buzz Lightyear movie,' if that makes sense."

Though the premise of Lightyear and where it fits within Toy Story canon has been the subject of a lot of joking since the film was announced, anyone watching the movie can probably understand both perspectives. Allen co-created a character in his own way, and MacLane and his team created a version quite removed from that character, aside from a few catchphrases and choice lines of dialogue that allow the two Lightyears to echo each other. If you're expecting the toy to come to life, you won't find that in Lightyear, but you also won't find a character that's wholly removed from who the action figure is either. It's a strange line to walk, and while it doesn't seem to sit particularly well with Allen, he still has four Toy Story movies under his belt to look back on with pride.

Looking for some more sci-fi adventures? Check out Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Warehouse 13, Eureka, SYFY's Resident Alien, Sliders, Intergalactic and more on Peacock now.