by Julia DeKorte | 30 Apr 2023
Following the release of Lightyear, the origin story of Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story franchise, Disney Pixar released Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to Lightyear. This short documentary takes viewers through time as Buzz as a character has evolved. After many successful Toy Story films, it seemed only right to give Buzz a spinoff. So, Director Angus Maclane, who was a story artist and animator for Buzz specifically in Toy Story 2, set out to create Buzz’s origin story. He figured: there must’ve been a reason Andy was so excited to receive Buzz as a present. Most likely, he saw a movie. In Maclane’s mind, that movie that Andy saw is Lightyear.
Beginning with the first inspirations for Buzz, viewers are introduced to Tin Toy, a Pixar short film that first introduced using a toy’s perspective. Data analysts and historians pull out original drawings of Buzz’s beginnings from the Pixar archives, so viewers can really get a sense of what Buzz was before he was the Buzz we all know and love today. Team members that worked on Toy Story that also worked on Lightyear explain what they did for each film, and how they saw Buzz develop as a dynamic character. Thomas H. Marshburn, an astronaut, is even featured explaining what time dilation is, which becomes a major premise in Lightyear. Among many others, Jeff Pidgeon, Bob Pauley, Galyn Susman, Jason Headly, and Tony Greenberg all offer their perspectives. Chris Evans, who voices Buzz in Lightyear and Uzo Aduba, who voices Alisha also speak on Buzz and how his character is different from Toy Story to Lightyear.
Also explored is the phenomenon that is the success of Buzz and Toy Story in general became such a global phenomenon. People fell in love with Buzz, and the team explains that they created Buzz to be a toy that Andy would want, and he ended up becoming a real toy that real kids wanted. Lightyear was also very influenced by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, as time began to feel differently as the normal aspects of each person’s day were altered with social distancing. A true exploration of Buzz Lightyear’s rich history and a well-produced documentary all around, any Toy Story and Lightyear fans should absolutely give Beyond Infinity a watch.
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