Movies undergo all sorts of changes on the way to the cinema. The scripts have been rewritten. Scenes are cut during the editing process. Filmmaking is a fluid business. This tends to happen less frequently in animation functions, since the animation of each sequence takes so long that it’s pointless to waste time on a scene that won’t survive the process. But Lightyear, Pixar’s new adventure starring Chris Evans, Keke Palmer and James Brolin, apparently had an alternate opening scene that was changed when former Walt Disney chairman Bob Iger asked the film’s director a question.
Angus MacLaine recently sat down with CinemaBlend as part of a press day for Lightyear, and in addition to telling us about the LGBTQ+ moment he insisted on keeping in the film, the director told us about his initial plans for the film’s opening. As he explained:
Initially, the discovery was the first mission. Because we knew we wanted time dilation. But we didn’t know why we needed time dilation. So, the accident allowed us to do this. But the most important thing is that we started working on the film — and I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet — but Buzz wasn’t a space ranger when we started. And it was about him becoming a space ranger. And what happened was that it took too long to get him involved… it became like, “Yeah, yeah. I know he’s going to be a space ranger!” So, as a spectator… it was actually Bob Iger who said: “Why can’t he just start in a suit?” And we said, “He can’t because… wait, yeah, why can’t he?” So we added (like) we’ll give you the Buzz Lightyear action right up front so the audience WANTS to get back to that. They feel like they have to say, “Yes, put him back in the suit!” and so when he gets the suit, you say, “Great, that’s what he wants. He wants to be nostalgic for who he was.” And that became the plot point.
As most of us know by this point (unless you’re Patricia Heaton), “Light Year” should be the movie Andy watched from Toy Story, and which made him want to buy a Buzz Lightyear toy to begin with. The officially licensed toy from the movie Lightyear can’t use Chris Evans’ voice, so she used Tim Allen… and that’s why Allen isn’t voicing Buzz in the new movie. But you can see why Angus MacLaine may have felt the need to over-explain Buzz’s origins in this movie, given that it would be the first time audiences had met the character. However, Iger’s suggestion that they would just jump right off Buzz as a space ranger was already a more sensible move.
Lightyear’s ending suggests that Pixar can tell more missions in this universe without breaking the timeline set by the studio with Toy Story. If Lightyear was a success in Andy’s world, the fictional studio behind it was undoubtedly making sequels. Except that “Lightyear” didn’t have much success in our world, failing to beat “Jurassic World: Dominion” at the box office and barely surpassing the behemoth “Best Shooter: Maverick” in its fourth weekend of screenings. So it can be one and done.
There will still be a lot of movies in theaters this year, so bookmark our guide to upcoming 2022 movie releases and check it out more often.