Friendship, teamwork and learning from our mistakes
Disney and Pixar’s animated film, LIGHTYEAR, flies into theaters on June 17, 2022. In 1995, the Buzz Lightyear toy flew into our hearts, and now we get to see the movie that inspired that toy. Read on for a character breakdown and my review!
A sci-fi action-adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, LIGHTYEAR follows the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure. “They say you can’t live in the past, but what if you could?” States Angus MacLane, director of LIGHTYEAR. “We all wonder what it would be like to go back in time, but instead we’re jumping forward in time. That’s the truth I wanted to build for LIGHTYEAR—nostalgia for the past while rapidly jumping into the future.”
Meet The Characters
Buzz Lightyear – Voiced by Chris Evans
BUZZ LIGHTYEAR, is confident, loyal and an accomplished Space Ranger. He is serious and very ambitious and obsessed with perfection. He wants to do it all on his own and is very much obsessed with fixing a mistake. “Buzz Lightyear has always been a determined, confident and heroic character, but with LIGHTYEAR we get a chance to see a more vulnerable and human side of Buzz,” continues Evans. “We witness his struggles, uncertainties and occasional failures.”
Alisha Hawthorne- Voiced by Uzo Aduba
ALISHA HAWTHORNE, Buzz’s longtime commander, is a fellow Space Ranger and friend. “She
is skilled, competent and trusting,” says producer Galyn Susman. “She invests in people,
mentoring recruits and welcoming rookies to the action, while Buzz just doesn’t have the
After every mission Buzz undertakes, he stays the same while his crew ages four years. Alisha is his closest crewmate and, therefore, the measure against we all see this aging happen.
Izzy Hawthorne – Voiced By Keke Palmer
IZZY HAWTHORNE is the eager leader of the Junior Zap Patrol, a volunteer team of self-motivated cadets training to become protectors of the nascent society that’s taken shape on the planet. Izzy dreams of becoming a Space Ranger like her grandmother Alisha—but that’s easier said than done: Izzy has a secret that is standing in her way.
Maurice “Mo” Morrison – Voiced by Taika Waititi
MAURICE “MO” MORRISON suffers from a lack of direction—he just can’t seem to find
his passion. He has long had a fear of commitment, especially when it comes to holding
a full-time job. When Mo joins forces with Izzy Hawthorne and the Junior Zap Patrol, he
doesn’t exactly share Izzy’s passion for the cause—it’s just something to do. “Mo joins
the unit because he doesn’t have anything else going on,” says MacLane. “He doesn’t
have a lot of confidence in his ability to succeed—he figures he’ll just quit before he has
a chance to find out. But it’s impossible not to laugh at his antics.”
Darby Steel-Voiced By Dale Soules
DARBY STEEL is a gruff, no-nonsense and not-exactly-voluntary member of the
Junior Zap Patrol. Nonetheless, she completes the trio in a refreshing albeit abrupt
way—Darby says it like it is and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. “Her mysteriousness is what I think makes her interesting,” says MacLane, “and kind of hysterical.”
Sox – Voiced by Peter Sohn
SOX is a dutiful robot companion cat gifted to Buzz from Star Command (and
Alisha). Intended to ease the Space Ranger’s emotional transition after his time
away, Sox basically exists to make Buzz happy. A hidden grab bag of gizmos
in a cute kitty package, Sox is the friend and sidekick Buzz needs. Sox is also
adept at providing white noise and is capable of complicated computations.
“He can fill Buzz in on whatever he’s missed while he’s away,” says Susman.
“And, according to Sox himself, he’s an excellent listener.”
Commander Burnside- Voiced by Isiah Whitlock Jr.
COMMANDER BURNSIDE succeeds Alisha Hawthorne as the leader of Star Command. Buzz
has been working nonstop to fi nd the fuel that will allow them to reach ‘hyperspeed’ so they
can all return to Earth, but Commander Burnside has no interest in the endeavor. He grew
up on the uncharted planet—T’Kani Prime is the only home he’s ever known. Burnside’s
big source of pride is building a high-tech laser shield to protect Star Command and its
people from the planet’s dangers—giant bugs, aggressive vines and a mysterious alien ship
overhead. “When Burnside takes over, he has no idea about the kind of emotional rat’s nest
he’s just gotten into with Buzz,” says Jason Headley, who’s a screenwriter on the film. “He’s
not a bad guy, but he quickly becomes an antagonist—he’s the anti thesis to everything that
Buzz wants and stands for.
ZURG- Voiced by James Brolin
ZURG captains the alien spaceship that shows up at T’Kani Prime while Buzz is on his last test fl ight. The imposing presence comes complete with an army of ruthless robots and a spaceship full of high-tech gadgetry. Shrouded in shadow and mystery, Zurg’s mission is unclear, but the threat looms large.
This movie is so cute and unexpected. I expected a “true life story” of Buzz Lightyear, but we got the movie that TOY STORY’S Andy would have seen in 1995 that inspired the toy. LIGHTYEAR is a true action-adventure journey with a mix of sci-fi and heart warming moments that will make you simultaneously laugh and cry.
Buzz is a space ranger on a mission and when the mission goes awry we see the more human side of Buzz – flaws and all. So when a mistake that Buzz makes strands the crew on the hostile planet T’Kani Prime he becomes so obsessed with righting the wrong that he misses out on life. Buzz lives in the past while everyone else is moving forward with their lives, trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
To relate to the kids in the audience, LIGHTYEAR introduces the Junior Zap Patrol and Buzz’s robot cat companion SOX. Buzz likes to do things solo, but he must learn to accept the help of others in order to take on Zurg and the Alien Robots.
This movie was great new take on a character we all know and love. It has several nods to the original TOY STORY, including why Buzz always says “To infinity and Beyond,” and why Buzz is always narrating everything into to his Communicator. Ultimately LIGHTYEAR teaches us valuable lessons about life. “The journey is more important than the ultimate goal” and “Don’t dwell in the past.”
Stay until the end of the credits for some fun end-credits scenes! LIGHTYEAR is now playing at a theater near you.
Some Fun Stills from the Movie