Buzz Lightyear

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Buzz Lightyear
Toy Story character
Buzz Lightyear.png
First appearance Toy Story (1995)
Last appearance Toy Story 4 (2019)
Created by
Voiced by
Information
Species Spaceman action figure
Gender Male
Occupation Toy
Title Space Ranger
Significant other(s) Jessie

Buzz Lightyear is a fictional character in the Toy Story franchise. He is a toy Space Ranger superhero according to the movies and an action figure in the franchise. Along with Sheriff Woody, he is one of the two lead characters in all three Toy Story movies. He also appeared in the movie Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins and the television series spin-off Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.

He is voiced by Tim Allen in the Toy Story films, a few video games, and the Buzz Lightyear movie, Patrick Warburton in the TV series, and by Pat Fraley for the video games and the attractions in Disney Parks.

Concept and creation[edit]

Buzz's name was inspired by Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon. According to an interview with Pixar producers in Entertainment Weekly, the character was provisionally named Lunar Larry, but it sounded "too wacky", so while trying to rechristen him "we went through some space terms and the word light-year came up, and the coolest astronaut name was Buzz Aldrin."[1] Aldrin acknowledged the tribute when he pulled a Buzz Lightyear doll out during a speech at NASA, to rapturous cheers. A clip of this can be found on the Toy Story 10th Anniversary DVD. Aldrin did not, however, receive any endorsement fees for the use of his first name.[2]

Regarding the design of Lightyear, his creator, John Lasseter, is on record as saying he wanted to create an action figure in the line of G.I. Joe for Toy Story and decided upon a spaceman figure.[3] He attributes his design to the influence of Apollo astronauts, in particular their clear helmets, skullcaps, communication devices and white suits.[4]

The purple and fluorescent green color scheme were his and his wife's own favorite colors respectively. The looks of television actor Ed Kemmer are also believed to be a prototype for Lightyear. Kemmer played Commander Buzz Corry in Space Patrol, one of the first science-fiction series on American television.[5]

Appearances[edit]

Films[edit]

Toy Story[edit]

In Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear is given to a boy named Andy Davis from his mother as a birthday present. He also believes that he is a real space ranger, rather than a toy. Buzz Lightyear quickly becomes Andy's favorite toy, making Andy's original favorite toy, a cowboy doll named Sheriff Woody, feel jealous. The effects of Woody's jealousy eventually leads both him and Buzz Lightyear them to be captured by Sid Phillips, the toy-torturing boy who lives next door to Andy's house. While imprisoned in Sid's house, Buzz Lightyear sees his own television ad, and realizes that he is a toy and not a space ranger. But when he tries to fly out of the window, he falls, causing him to break his arm. Upon understanding this, Buzz Lightyear becomes depressed, but Woody eventually convinces him that it is a good thing. Buzz Lightyear regains hope, and working together, the two escape Sid, return to Andy, and become friends.

Toy Story 2[edit]

In Toy Story 2, After Woody is kidnapped by a greedy toy collector named Al McWhiggin, who is intent on selling him to a toy museum in Japan, Buzz Lightyear leads Andy's toys – Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex, Hamm – on a daring mission to rescue him. On the journey, Buzz Lightyear accidentally comes across a newer Buzz Lightyear toy with a Utility Belt. When he tries to take the Utility Belt, the newer Buzz Lightyear (who, like Andy's Buzz Lightyear in the first film, believes he is a real Space Ranger) attacks him, believing that he is a disobedient Space Ranger. The two Buzz Lightyears fight and Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear traps Andy's Buzz Lightyear in a cardboard rocket ship similar to the one he originally came in. Soon the other toys find Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear and mistake him for Andy's Buzz Lightyear, despite Buzz Lightyear's cries of "You've got the wrong Buzz, YOU'VE GOT THE WRONG BUZZ!". Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear joins the gang after Rex tells him that he knows how to defeat Evil Emperor Zurg (in a video game.) Andy's Buzz Lightyear eventually breaks free from his cardboard prison and tracks down Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the toys. After arguing with Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear over who the real Buzz Lightyear is, he eventually convinces them that he is the real Buzz Lightyear by showing them the bottom of his boot, which has Andy's name written on it. Although he manages to convince Woody to return home, Stinky Pete stops him, as he wants to go to Japan. After Buzz Lightyear and the gang fight Evil Emperor Zurg in the elevator shaft, they use a Pizza Planet truck to chase after Al to the airport (while Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear stays behind to play with an amnesiac Evil Emperor Zurg), with Buzz Lightyear controlling the steering wheel as well as moving a pizza box on the driver's seat to help him reach it. Eventually, they manage to rescue Woody and his new friends Jessie the cowgirl and Bullseye. At the end of the film, we see that Buzz Lightyear has developed a crush on Jessie.

Toy Story 3[edit]

In Toy Story 3, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the other toys accidentally end up in a daycare center after a mistake when Andy is packing for college. The daycare center toys are led by the teddy bear Lotso, who is later revealed as manipulative, untruthful, misunderstood, and some might say "evil". Buzz Lightyear is caught spying on one of his secret meetings. To stop Buzz Lightyear, Lotso switches Buzz Lightyear back to "demo mode" causing him to again believe he is a Space Ranger and turn against his friends. When escaping, Woody and the other toys accidentally switch Buzz Lightyear to "Spanish mode" causing confusion for many characters and comedic character changes and opportunities for the audience. Buzz Lightyear turns back to his normal self after he nearly gets crushed by a television set in a garbage truck. After making their way back to Andy's house, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, and the other toys are given by Andy to a little girl named Bonnie. The end shows the toys embracing their new life with Bonnie.

Toy Story 4[edit]

In Toy Story 4, Buzz Lightyear will return, where he and the others will help Woody reunite with Bo Peep.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command[edit]

In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Buzz Lightyear is a Space Ranger working for Star Command, protecting the universe from Evil Emperor Zurg. He works in a team alongside Mira Nova, a Tangean princess with phasing powers, Booster, a janitor from the planet Jo-Ad, and XR, a robot created by the Little Green Men (the aliens from the movies, LGM for short). This version of Buzz Lightyear is completely different from the one in Toy Story, in looks and personality. Buzz Lightyear also has had many love interests on the show. He once had a friend and partner named Warp Darkmatter, however, he later joined Evil Emperor Zurg and became his primary agent. Buzz Lightyear also seems to never take off the purple headwear that he has with his Space Ranger uniform. Aside from his regular catch phrase, he has a habit of telling villains that "Evil never wins!"

Other appearances[edit]

Buzz Lightyear also appears in Pixar's 2003 film Finding Nemo.[6] He also appeared as a car in Pixar's 2006 movie, Cars, along with Woody and Hamm. He is also seen in the Toy Story Toons episodes Hawaiian Vacation (released with Cars 2), Small Fry (released with The Muppets) and Partysaurus Rex (released during the 2012 3D re-release of Finding Nemo), and the two specials: Toy Story of Terror! and Toy Story That Time Forgot. Buzz Lightyear also appeared in two episodes of Family Guy both times in cutaway gags set up by Stewie Griffin. In the 2013 episode Chris Cross, after Stewie has seriated Brian Griffin with You Needed Me, he complains that he invited Buzz Lightyear to watch and he did not show up. This cuts to Buzz Lightyear talking with a woman at a bar. In the 2017 episode The Finer Strings, when Brain insists that Carter is his friend, Stewie says "That's what Woody thought about Buzz Lightyear." This leads to a cutaway gag where Woody catches Buzz Lightyear making out with Bo Peep. Buzz has also been referenced on The Simpsons. In the 2005 episode The Italian Bob, Lisa Simpson mentions both Buzz Lightyear and his voice actor Tim Allen. In The Simpsons, in the 2010 episode, The Color Yellow, probably as a promotion for the theatrical release of Toy Story 3, Ralph Wiggum holds on a picture where he is with Buzz Lightyear and Elmo from Sesame Street, "saying Martin Luther King had a dream. Dreams are where Elmo and Toy Story had a party, and I went there". In the 2011 episode Flaming Moe, Bart Simpson is playing with a toy parodying Buzz Lightyear. Buzz Lightyear was also in the 2008 Disney film Bedtime Stories and the Disney film The Sorcerer's Apprentice which was released the same year as Toy Story 3. Buzz Lightyear is slated to appear in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III. Buzz Lightyear and Woody appear as piñatas in Pixar's Coco, along with Mike from the Monsters, Inc. series.

Characteristics[edit]

Tim Allen

Buzz Lightyear is known for his bravery and courage. Buzz Lightyear believes that following rules is the way people should live their life. Though a great leader, at times he exhibits rather unemotional, erratic, and impulsive behavior, a triumvirate of his biggest character flaws. Buzz Lightyear is trained in several forms of martial arts and is a highly skilled warrior in hand-to-hand combat. Being in peak physical condition, Buzz Lightyear makes a perfect space ranger and is an example to many. Perhaps unexpectedly, Buzz Lightyear the space ranger toy enjoys his closest personal relationships with two cowboy dolls: his best friend in the trilogy is Sheriff Woody Pride and by the end of Toy Story 2, he has developed a crush on Jessie the Cowgirl, which is actualized with their mild romance in Toy Story 3.

Buzz Lightyear wears a high-tech space suit, similar to those of modern-day astronauts though more streamlined and iconic. The suit chest features a green control panel on his torso consisting of a light blue sticker that has the words "SPACE RANGER" and the Star Command symbol and four buttons. On the left hand side of the suit, a large red button activates the suit's flight system, which are two purple wings with red and white candy cane lining, and green and red wing tips. Above the red button is a yellow nametag that says "LIGHTYEAR". The three buttons (one red, one green and one blue) on the right of the suit have numerous functions such as contacting Star Command, shooting grappling hooks, and activating full throttle. As the toy Buzz Lightyear of movies however, all they do is make him say different catch phrases. His suit also protects against the vacuum and cold of space. It can also translate all he says into any language even an outer space dialect. A retractable helmet, when activated, covers Buzz's head and allows him to breath in space or on planets lacking a sufficient supply of oxygen. His left arm of the suit has a Space Ranger symbol sticker on his uppon arm and panel that flips open to reveal a display that contains a mission log in the wrist area to record history and provide records. His right arm has a yellow with black striped sticker that says "LASER" on his upper arm, and contains the weapon system which projects an unusually strong and powerful red-colored laser out of the small cannon on the back of the wrist. Buzz Lightyear has a utility belt as an upgrade to suit. It has various things such as anti-gravity servos, magnets for climbing purposes, and a grappling hook.

Action figure[edit]

Toy figure, Buzz Lightyear, with packaging, licensed from the film Toy Story, plastic / cardboard, made for Thinkway Toys[7] in China, 1995–1999. The Buzz Lightyear figure was manufactured by Thinkway Toys, New York between 1995–1999. An enhanced, newer model was released in 2009 to coincide with the Toy Story 3-D Double Feature. Originally, Tim Allen's voice was on the action figure. The newer models feature a voice actor who sounds similar to Tim Allen.

The Toy Story Action Figure, Buzz Lightyear was subject to mass sales in the Christmas after the film's release, mainly in the United States of America and United Kingdom of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 1995, Thinkway didn't think that Toy Story would be that popular hence didn't make enough dolls to meet demand, as referenced in Toy Story 2. When Toy Story 3 came out they made two more Buzz Lightyear action figures for the Toy Story Collection, one normal one and an extra one with the utility belt from Toy Story 2. Produced by Thinkway Toys also with the spaceship box from the movies.

John Lasseter, director of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, and Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey, holding the action figure of Buzz Lightyear, which became the longest serving toy in space[8]

In May 2008, NASA and Disney announced that an original Thinkway Toys' Buzz Lightyear action figure would fly aboard the space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-124. The 12-inch toy was to remain on the International Space Station for six months, where it would take part in an experiment and appear in a video downlink from space. The flight was arranged as part of the Toys in Space program that began in 1985.[9]

The mission launched with Buzz Lightyear aboard the NASA space shuttle Discovery (STS-124) on May 31, 2008, to celebrate the opening of Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure Park theme parks, with the ultimate destination of the International Space Station (ISS). The action figure "ate" dinner with the 10 astronauts and cosmonauts and was seen peering out a window aboard the ISS. The action figure stayed aboard the space station for a period of six months as part of a NASA toys-in-space educational program.[10]

The Buzz Lightyear action figure returned from the space station on September 11, 2009 aboard mission STS-128.[11]

In October 2009, Thinkway Toys released a replica Buzz Lightyear figure based on the figure in the Toy Story movies as part of their Toy Story Collection series of toys. This Buzz Lightyear was much more accurately detailed than the other Buzz Lightyear figures and it has features similar to the figure seen in the movie with similar pop-out wings complete with blinking lights at the wing tips, laser, wrist communicator and the figure has over 65 phrases with original voice. However, the figure lacks the karate chop action. The figure also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and comes packaged in the spaceship packaging as seen in the movies.

In 2010, Lego created a Buzz Lightyear action figure. The LEGO set is number 7592 and has 205 pieces. When the figure is completely built it has articulating head, arms, hands, torso, legs, feet, wings and visor.[12]

In 2010, Lego created a Buzz Lightyear mini-figure it was released in two variants. Both variants featured the same molded elements with different printing both mini-figures had a total of five new molded elements for the minifigure being the head, the two winged pieces, the head cover and the torso of his spacesuit. One being the standard variant to represent the "clean" Buzz Lightyear. This minifigure was featured in 7 sets : 30073, 7593, 7598, 7597, 7590, 9002700 (watch set) and a magnet set (852949) featuring Buzz Lightyear, Woody and a pizza planet alien. The other variant was the "dirty" version of Buzz Lightyear as seen in Toy Story 3. This mini-figure was featured in 1 set which was 7599. This variant featured the same Buzz Lightyear mini-figure with printed on dirt stains. In 2016 a new version of Buzz Lightyear was created for the LEGO mini-figures Disney series. This mini-figure featured new prints for legs and arms of the minifigure and removed the Star Command logo from the chest of the torso piece. The most noticeable difference between this mini-figure and the 2010 release was the mini-figure head which is now a classic styled mini-figure head and not a molded piece.

Cultural impact[edit]

On October 2007, readers of Empire voted him No. 1 of the Top 20 Greatest Pixar Characters.[13] They also rated him the 94th greatest movie character of all time.[14]

Buzz Lightyear's classic line "To Infinity... and Beyond!" has seen usage not only on T-shirts, but among philosophers and mathematical theorists as well.[15] A book about the history of infinity from 1991 (4 years before Toy Story), by Eli Maor Lucia uses the phrase for its title.[16] Hall of The Humanist linked the film's plot to an interpretation of humanism. She compared the phrase to "All this and heaven, too!", indicating one who is happy with a life on Earth as well as having an afterlife.[17] The 2008 quadruple platinum song "Single Ladies" by Beyoncé includes the lyric "...and delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond." Also in 2008, astronauts took an action figure of Buzz Lightyear into space on the Space Shuttle "Discovery" as part of an educational experience for students while stressing the catchphrase. The action figure was used for experiments in zero-g.[9] Also in 2008, the phrase made international news when it was reported that a father and son had continually repeated the phrase to help them keep track of each other while treading water for 15 hours in the Atlantic Ocean.[18][19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Toy Story 3 Featurette – Buzz Lightyear". Trailer Addict. June 18, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ Solomon, Deborah; Oth, Christian (June 15, 2009). "Questions for Buzz Aldrin: The Man on the Moon". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2009.  Note: nytimes.com print-view software lists the article date as June 21, 2009; main article webpage shows June 15.
  3. ^ Tyler, Josh (September 30, 2009). "Watch John Lasseter Explain The Origins of Buzz Lightyear". Cinema Blend. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ Disney's Buzz Lightyear and Wall-E explore space for NASA June 24, 2008, collectspace.com
  5. ^ Brian Pendreigh Ed Kemmer TV star and inspiration for the character of Buzz Lightyear November 19, 2004, The Herald Scotland
  6. ^ Stopera, Dave (August 30, 2012). "23 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Movie "Finding Nemo"". BuzzFeed. Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Hero Complex". Los Angeles Times. December 30, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Receives Buzz Lightyear Flown in Space" (Press release). Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. March 29, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Pearlman, Robert Z. (May 29, 2008). "Buzz Lightyear Becomes Real Space Ranger". Space.com. Retrieved March 12, 2009. 
  10. ^ Dunn, Marcia (June 6, 2008). "Japan's space lab just got bigger". MSNBC. Associated Press. Retrieved June 7, 2008. 
  11. ^ "The Return of Buzz Lightyear". NASA. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 
  12. ^ "7592 Construct-a-Buzz". The LEGO Group. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Empire Features". Empire. December 5, 2006. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  14. ^ "94. Buzz Lightyear". Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  15. ^ Dusek, Val (2006). Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 59. ISBN 1-4051-1163-1. 
  16. ^ To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite. Princeton University Press. 1991. ISBN 978-0-691-02511-7. 
  17. ^ Hall, Lucia K.B. (March 1, 2000). "Toy Stories for Humanists?". The Humanist. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Buzz Lightyear got us through". Star Tribune. Associated Press. September 10, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2009. [dead link]
  19. ^ "'Toy Story' Line Helped Father, Son Survive in Water for 15 Hours". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. September 10, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 

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