Lightyear, the new film from Pixar that’s set sort of in the studio’s venerable Toy Story universe, opens with a three-line text crawl that is, essentially, a Hail Mary pass to explain the movie’s whole premise: “In 1995 Andy got a toy. That toy is from his favorite movie. This is that movie.” It’s actually a little marvel of screenwriting ingenuity, apparently supplied by producer Andrew Stanton in an effort to cut off the confusion stemming from a film premise that has only ever been fitfully clear, vis a vis how “real” or “not real” the film is supposed to be in regards to the wider Toy Story world.
And yet! And yet, Uproxx has still posted an interview with the film’s director, Angus MacLane, tonight that re-muddies those intergalactic waters a bit. Helmed by writer Mike Ryan, it is, by Ryan’s own assertion, an incredibly dork article, despite MacLane’s best efforts to note that the whole entire premise was really just an excuse to make “ a cool sci-fi movie.”
Which is all well and good, except MacLane immediately blows the whole conceit of that little title crawl up, revealing that the Buzz doll played by Tim Allen in Toy Story is not based off the movie Lightyear that’s about to be in theaters; it’s actually based on a cartoon based on that film, with MacLane drawing direct comparisons to animated series The Real Ghostbusters. (Is that the animated series Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command, which existed in our world? Ryan’s failure to address this question is damning.) We don’t know why MacLane felt moved to note this, but it does force him to grant that Tim Allen, who presumably provided the voice of animated Buzz and its attendant dolls, while the version from Lightyear was played by a time-shifted Chris Evans (see: Avengers: Endgame) might qualify as the Lorenzo Music of the Toy Story universe. Then they talk about Rhoda. It’s a wild interview.
Tragically, at no point does either party address the question that is currently driving us insane: Within the fiction of Lightyear, are the toys also secretly sentient, watching their masters age away and die with every passing year? How does Sox the robot cat fit into this grim synthetic cosmology? Are we real, or just a dream Buzz Lightyear had once? We need to know!