Set in a sense of the studio’s venerable Toy Story universe, Lightyear, the new film from Pixar, opens with a three-line text crawl that’s essentially a Hail Mary pass to explain the film’s whole premise: “In 1995, Andy got a toy . The toy is from his favorite movie. That’s this movie.” It’s actually a minor marvel of screenwriting ingenuity, apparently delivered by producer Andrew Stanton to clear up the confusion stemming from a film’s premise that has always been vaguely clear as to how “real” or “not real” the film is meant to refer to the broader world of Toy Story.
And yet! And yet, tonight, Uproxx posted an interview with the film’s director, Angus MacLane, that muddies these intergalactic waters a little in a new way. Written by author Mike Ryan, it’s an incredibly dumb article by Ryan’s own admission, though MacLane has done his best to note that the whole premise was really just an excuse to make “a cool sci-fi movie.” .
Which is all well and good, except that MacLane immediately blows the whole vanity of this little title, revealing that the Buzz doll played by Tim Allen in Toy Story isn’t based on the upcoming Lightyear movie comes; It’s actually based on a cartoon based on that film, with MacLane drawing direct comparisons to The Real Ghostbusters animated series. (Is that the Star Command animated series Buzz Lightyear that existed in our world? Ryan’s failure to address that question is damning.) We don’t know why MacLane felt moved to point this out, but it compels him to admit it to Tim Allen, who presumably provided the voice of the animated Buzz and accompanying puppets while Lightyear’s version was played by a time-displaced Chris Evans (see: Avengers: Endgame), might qualify as Lorenzo Music of the Toy Story universe. Then they talk about Rhoda. It’s a wild interview.
Tragically, at no point do either party address the question that is currently driving us insane: Are the toys in Lightyear’s fiction also secretly sentient, watching their masters age and die with each passing year? How does the robotic cat Sox fit into this grim synthetic cosmology? Are we real or just a dream Buzz Lightyear once had? We have to know!