Buzz Lightyear
Source: Disney

Why Did Disney Replace Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear? Chris Evans Has an Explanation


Oct. 27 2021, Updated 11:20 a.m. ET

In December of 2020, Disney announced that a Buzz Lightyear origin story is in the works — except instead of focusing on Buzz Lightyear the toy, the movie would explore the human Buzz is based on. So, the real Buzz Lightyear. We learned back in the first movie that Buzz Lightyear was a Space Ranger who works for the elite Universe Protection Unit, which protects the galaxy from evil Emperor Zurg.

The movie is titled Lightyear, and it'll premiere in theaters June 17, 2022.

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A teaser trailer released in October of 2021 has gotten audiences even more excited. While it's kind of wild to see Buzz Lightyear in regular ol' human form, it's basically impossible to watch the trailer and not get excited about the real Buzz's story:

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Buzz doesn't say much in the trailer, but careful listeners will notice something quite different about the voice of the spaceman. Chris Evans voices Buzz Lightyear in the new film — not Tim Allen, who's been voicing toy Buzz Lightyear since 1995, and last portrayed the brave action toy in Toy Story 4 in 2019.

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As much as we love us some Chris Evans, we do have questions.

Why did Disney replace Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear?

It's a weird move coming from Disney, considering how iconic and beloved Tim Allen's Buzz Lightyear is. Wouldn't they want the same person behind the character? Apparently not. "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," Chris explained on Twitter. Tim Allen made no mention of stepping away from the Toy Story franchise. In fact, he said he really couldn't imagine the franchise not living on.

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When asked by Us Weekly if there will be more Toy Story, Tim replied, "I can’t give that away. There’s very little to suggest that this isn’t, at the very least, [part of] a much bigger world. It reminds me of the Avengers movies — there are not only offshoots of characters that have simultaneous stories, but the world itself got much bigger. … My sense is it’s done. My creative side says, at the same time things end, there’s a new beginning. I would find it difficult not to just continue." Avengers? Did Tim know something we didn't at the time?

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Maybe Disney felt like the new Buzz needed to completely divorce himself from any association with Tim Allen. After all, the movie is coming out in 2022, 27 years after the first one did. We have a whole new generation who gets to fall in love with Buzz, and maybe his character just needs a fresh start. Who better than Captain America, aka Chris Evans? 

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The other two possibilities is that Tim Allen wasn't asked to revive the character again, or that he didn't want to come back. In the same interview with Us Weekly, Tim talks about how emotional Toy Story 4 made him: “It’s a very different Pixar movie. It’s not somber, but very reflective, layered. I put too much into it because I’m involved in it. I’m too close to it. I literally had a tough time watching it, because it brought up some of my own personal stuff about loss, change, moving on. It’s heartwarming. A little tough, but essentially pays off," he said.

chris evans tim allen
Source: Getty Images

Could it be that Tim is just emotionally done with the Toy Story franchise? As of publication, Tim Allen has not addressed the change in voice actors, nor has Disney provided an explanation, although it seems like the most likely answer is simply that this Buzz and Tim Allen's Buzz are two completely different characters, so having different voices makes sense.

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