Although we have always known Buzz Lightyear as a brave hero from the Star Command universe defense squad, the Toy Story films told only part of the story. The new release of the Disney/Pixar Lightyear film immerses us in the world of the movie that inspired many to play with Andy, and in this case it is Chris Evans who voices the “real” Buzz. With the new incarnation of Captain Lightyear comes not only a lot of questions related to Lightyear, but also the need for new cadets to train under him. This is what introduces the audience to the team of junior rangers, voiced by Taika Waititi, Keke Palmer and Dale Soules.
Talking to all three actors during Lightyear’s press day, the entire junior Ranger team was at my disposal. Three new characters in the world of Buzz Lightyear’s Star Command have a lot to explore together with this motley team, which is forced to act a little earlier than expected. With the right attitude to heroism, the right skills, and the help of Sox’s stage stealer, the robot cat, there’s nothing these people couldn’t do under Buzz Lightyear’s guidance.
But what are the most heroic traits in Lightyear’s new candidates? For Taika Waititi, who voices Maurice “Mo” Morrison, this heroism comes from a joke that turns from a funny joke into a serious hero. Here’s what Waititi told CinemaBlend about Maurice’s most heroic trait:
My boyfriend, Mo Morrison, his most heroic trait is perseverance. He will try and try to find a use for his pen. Or for any other business. He will try until there is no benefit.
Perseverance is what turns jokes into dreams, especially when Maurice tries to grope for weapons like his fellow junior rangers. Which brings us to Keke Palmer, whose character, Izzy Hawthorne, carries a bigger burden than the rest of her team as she tries to live up to the legacy of her grandmother/Buzz Lightyear’s best friend Alisha (Uzo Aduba). This makes Palmer’s answer to the question even more relevant:
I think Izzy’s most heroic trait is that she knows how to engage and inspire her team. She knows how to interest everyone. And I think that a team is always the best way to achieve its goal.
What’s also great about Izzy Hawthorne’s natural leadership qualities is that they are backed up by extensive knowledge. In “Lightyear” we learn that Izzy is a master tactician who knows her space Ranger history as she has read her grandmother’s books from cover to cover—twice! This will definitely come in handy when you’re trying to come up with a plan in the hour of need for a Lightyear mission.
Recall: Mo Taiki Waititi is the one who will not leave to find a use for the handle of his suit, and Izzy Keke Palmer knows how to use history and inspiration to bring his team on board. Which makes the question of what kind of heroism Darby Steele Dale Soules brings to Lightyear even more exciting. If her character’s name wasn’t enough, Soules herself sums it up pretty accurately:
In my case, I would say that she is willing to put herself in danger to try to protect others.
Darby can build an explosive device from any three components and received a probation period under the Young Rangers program for an offense that we were not aware of at the time of her submission. Under normal circumstances, she would probably just lay low until her sentence was served, with some cunning actions going unnoticed.
Lightyear isn’t exactly a story set in such times, as the terrifying evil known as Zurg (James Brolin) has a master plan that puts the fate of the universe in the balance. These junior Rangers may have everything it takes to curb Buzz Lightyear’s Maverick-like character, provided he can slow down long enough to learn the lessons his junior colleagues are trying to teach him.
Just like Lightyear’s voice—a list that seems like a dream, the characters voiced by Taika Waititi, Keke Palmer and Dale Soules are ideal candidates for this particular mission. How and why is something you need to see for yourself, as Lightyear is currently in theaters.
Disney+ subscribers can also enjoy most of the Toy Story franchise through this very streaming platform. With all four films and a bunch of TV shows, infinity and more awaits you.