Disney/Pixar's latest film Lightyear just hit theaters, and it looks like they're about to take us on a nostalgic flight. With Chris Evans taking on the role of Buzz Lightyear, long-time Toy Story fans finally get a glimpse into the backstory of the superhero and how he became so well loved.
Even though movie-goers are quite excited to see Chris' take on the titular role (it's not like he doesn't have any experience playing a superhero), many fans have been asking the same question we are: Where is actor Tim Allen? After all, the Last Man Standing actor has quite a long history with Disney — he's spent 25 years voicing the character in many different projects. So why didn't Tim reprise the role he's made so famous? Well, there are a few reasons for it.
When the teaser trailer for Lightyear initially came out in October 2021, director Angus MacLane called the film a "side-quel" to the hit franchise. He further told Yahoo! Entertainment that the film is meant to be a "sci-fi adventure movie starring Buzz Lightyear, the character." And while he did have an explanation for why the Home Improvement star wasn't involved, fans were definitely not satisfied with his answer.
"I assume that the toy [voiced by Tim Allen] is based on either the cartoon series that was made after the movie or a later movie," he continued. "So the events that Buzz is talking about in Toy Story [Buzz’s ramblings about the edge of the galaxy, Emperor Zurg, Star Command, etc.] have not yet happened. So this would be the origin story of who we know Buzz Lightyear to be.”
Lightyear producer Galyn Susman also had thoughts about not casting Tim as the main lead, and they were pretty much in line with Angus' statement. “Tim Allen is Buzz Lightyear the toy,” she said during a recent press conference. “We weren’t making a Toy Story movie. We’re making Buzz Lightyear’s movie. And so first and foremost, we just needed a different person playing that Lightyear, separate from the toy.”
Okay ... we kinda get that. Despite the Santa Clause star's lack of participation in Lightyear, it doesn't mean he didn't provide inspiration for the movie. When Chris announced that he would be stepping into Tim's shoes in December 2020, he acknowledged just how special Tim was to putting the character on the map.
Furthermore, when asked by USA Today about him replacing Tim, he mentioned just how much the actor's work helped him shape the role.
“The reason we're doing this movie is because Tim Allen made such an iconic impact,” Evans said to the outlet. “Not only would you be a fool to not take his interpretation because it worked so well, but the truth is this character is in fact the human version of that toy, so there does need to be overlap in terms of their cadence and nature."
Honestly, this theory checks out. Will we miss Tim uttering the iconic slogan he made famous? Totally. But are we excited to see what Chris brings to Buzz Lightyear? Absolutely.