|Toy Story character|
|First appearance||Toy Story (1995)|
|Last appearance||Lightyear (2022)|
|Species||Action Figure Toy|
|Title||Space Ranger Action Figure|
|Occupation||Toy (in the films)|
Space Ranger (in the TV series)
|Significant other||Jessie (Toy Story 2-4)|
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 four Toy Story movies. He also appeared in the direct-to-video film Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins and its spin-off television series.
Buzz Lightyear is voiced by Tim Allen in the Toy Story films, a few video games, and the Buzz Lightyear movie, while Patrick Warburton provides the voice for the TV series. Chris Evans is set to portray the human version of the character in the next film: Lightyear, which will explore his backstory.
The character has been the subject of critical acclaim, becoming one of the most iconic and beloved film characters of all-time. Buzz has remained Pixar's most famous character, and has become one of Disney's most marketable characters since his debut. The character's catchphrase, "To Infinity... and Beyond!", has also received high recognition as well, becoming one of the most famous movie quotes of all-time.
Concept and creation
Buzz Lightyear's name was in honor of Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon. According to Pixar producers, 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." Aldrin acknowledged the tribute when he pulled a Buzz Lightyear toy 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.
Regarding the design of Lightyear, Toy Story director John Lasseter said he wanted to create an action figure in the line of G.I. Joe for the film and decided upon a spaceman figure. Lasseter attributes his design to the influence of Apollo astronauts, in particular, their clear helmets, skullcaps, communication devices, and white suits.
The purple and fluorescent green color scheme were the favorite colors of Lasseter and his wife's 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.
In Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear, a Taiwanese toy, is given to a boy named Andy Davis from his mother as a birthday present. Buzz is ignorant that he is just a toy modeled after the character, believing that he is a bona fide Space Ranger instead, and that it is his mission to protect the galaxy from the Evil Emperor Zurg, as well as that his laser is a fatal weapon, his wings are airborne steel and he is unable to breathe if his helmet is opened. He quickly becomes Andy's favorite toy, making Andy's original favorite toy, a cowboy doll named Sheriff Woody, feel jealous, with it only growing further when his leadership among the toys is threatened as the other toys begin admiring and spending more time with Buzz than with Woody himself. The effects of Woody's jealousy eventually leads both him and Buzz to be separated from Andy and 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 a television ad featuring himself 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 regains hope and working together, the two escape Sid and his dog Scud, return to Andy (who decides that Woody and Buzz are his joint favorite toys) and become best friends.
Toy Story 2
In Toy Story 2, Woody is kidnapped by a greedy toy collector named Al McWhiggin, who is intent on selling him and other western toys to a toy museum in Japan. Buzz leads Andy's toys – Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex, Hamm – on a daring mission to rescue him. They travel to Al's Toy Barn, where they believe Woody was taken to. While inside the store, Buzz 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. Buzz finds himself wondering out loud if he was this deluded (due to being embarrassed about his delusional behavior in the first film) to which the Utility Belt Buzz mistakes for backtalk. Buzz tries to convince him that he is a toy but gives up and leaves. The two Buzz Lightyears fight and Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear traps Andy's Buzz 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, despite the real Buzz's cries of "No, no, guys, 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 to Al's apartment. After arguing with Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear over who the real Buzz Lightyear is, Andy's Buzz Lightyear eventually convinces them that he is the real Buzz by opening Utility Belt Buzz Lightyear's helmet to make him gasp for air (just like Woody did to Andy's Buzz in the first film) and showing them the bottom of his boot, which has Andy's name written on it. Although he manages to convince Woody to return home, Prospector stops him, as he wants to go to Japan. After Buzz 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 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, Buzz seems to have developed a crush on Jessie.
Toy Story 3
In Toy Story 3, Woody, Buzz, 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 to be a ruthless leader, after Buzz confronts him over a very rough playtime in the Caterpillar Room, where the toddlers are too young to know how to play with the toys, only to discover that they were deliberately assigned to that room and that moving to the Butterfly Room (where the preschoolers are older and more civilised) is a privilege that has to be earned. Buzz had earlier suspected that something was not right when he noticed the other Caterpillar Room toys going into hiding just before the toddlers came in. After Buzz rejects Lotso's offer to transfer him but not his friends, Lotso makes Buzz one of his henchmen and turns him against his friends, by switching him back to "demo mode" to brainwash him, erasing his memory and causing him to again believe that he is a real Space Ranger (similar to his delusional behavior in the first film), and convincing him that his friends are "minions of Zurg". When escaping, Woody and the other toys accidentally switch Buzz to his "Spanish mode", confusing many characters and resulting in many comedic character changes for the audience. While in his Spanish mode, Buzz still believes that he is a real Space Ranger, but Woody convinces him that he and the other toys are his "amigos". The Spanish Buzz makes no secret of his love for Jessie, and helps the other toys escape Sunnyside. They are picked up by a garbage truck after failing to escape in time, and Buzz returns to normal after a television falls onto him in the truck while rescuing Jessie, restoring his memory. Believing Buzz Lightyear to be dead, Jessie breaks down in tears and hugs him until he comes back to life. At the landfill, the toys (except the aliens) are pushed onto a conveyor belt, where Buzz helps Woody rescue Lotso from a shredder. However, Lotso abandons them and they fall into an incinerator, although the aliens later rescue them using a claw crane.
After making their way back to Andy's house, Buzz and the other toys are given by Andy to a little girl named Bonnie. When introducing Buzz, Andy describes him as "the coolest toy ever". The end shows the toys embracing their new life with Bonnie.
Toy Story 4
In Toy Story 4, Buzz plays a significantly smaller role since the film is centered on Woody, Bo, and a host of new characters. He still acts as Woody's moral support and eventually joins him on his mission to rescue Forky. Buzz also learns about the "inner voice", but misinterprets it as his physical voice box, using said voice box to guide him to what he must do next. When catching up with Woody, Buzz is surprised to see his old friend Bo Peep. The toys attempt to rescue Forky, Bonnie's new favourite toy. This fails and Buzz, using his inter voice, is forced to head back to the rest of Bonnie's toys. Woody and Buzz meet up at a carousel and Buzz notices that Woody is feeling heartbroken about having to part ways with Bo Peep again. In the end, Buzz suggests that Woody stay behind to be with Bo, knowing that Bonnie will be okay even without him. Knowing that this might be the last time they will see each other, they share a final goodbye hug and exchange the last words of dialogue from afar. Buzz says “to infinity...”, Woody completes the sentence with “...and beyond.”
On December 10, 2020, Disney & Pixar announced their upcoming film "Lightyear" which will serve as an in-universe prequel to the first Toy Story and an origin story to the human that the toy line was based on. This film directed by Angus MacLane will tell the story of Buzz Lightyear and his adventures to infinity and beyond. Buzz was confirmed to be voiced by Chris Evans and the film will be released on June 17, 2022.
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
In the television series 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 princess; Booster, a janitor; and XR, a robot. This version of Buzz Lightyear has a different personality from the one in Toy Story. 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 catchphrase, he has a habit of telling villains that "Evil never wins!"
Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Pat Fraley, appears in the computer games Disney's Animated Storybook: Toy Story and Disney's Activity Center: Toy Story, both released in 1996. Buzz Lightyear also appears in Pixar's 2003 film Finding Nemo. 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, Small Fry, and Partysaurus Rex, 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 Brian 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 2010 episode, "The Color Yellow", 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 was also in the 2008 Disney film Bedtime Stories and the 2010 Disney film The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Buzz Lightyear and Woody appear as piñatas in Pixar's 2017 film Coco. Woody and Buzz appeared in the 2019 video game Kingdom Hearts III, where the latter finally had wish of having a real laser attack and can fly as his fictional counterpart without knowing during a Keyblade war crisis across dimensions, with Woody recalls Buzz back in the first Toy Story film event in the day before Buzz realize he's a toy.
Buzz Lightyear is a meetable character at all of the Disney Parks and Resorts, and is located in Tomorrowland and in Toy Story Land. He is often accompanied by the Aliens. Tim Allen reprised his role using one of his archival recordings in the 2018 Walt Disney Animation Studios film Ralph Breaks the Internet, where he repeated his famous catchphrase.
Woody and Buzz were best friends throughout the franchise. In Toy Story, the two originally started off as rivals as Woody was jealous that Buzz replaced him as Andy's favorite toy and Buzz believed that he was a real space ranger, his features drawing attention from the rest of Andy's toys who also begin to neglect Woody. Woody's jealousy eventually causes him to accidentally knock Buzz out of the window, which in turn causes the rest of Andy's toys to turn on Woody, believing he deliberately tried to get rid of Buzz. Woody is taken to Pizza Planet where he is reunited with an angry and vengeful Buzz - a fight between them causes them to be separated from Andy at a gas station and kidnapped by Andy's evil neighbor Sid at Pizza Planet. Despite their rivalry, Woody does all he can to protect Buzz in Sid's house with hope of helping the two reunite with Andy, since if he returns with Buzz, it will be proof that he did not want to get rid of him. Buzz soon finds out that he is indeed a toy and is devastated, however, after encouragement from Woody, Buzz realizes his true purpose and begins to bond with Woody. After Woody enlists the help of Sid's mutant toys to save Buzz, Buzz thanks Woody as they shake hands, signifying the birth of their everlasting friendship. After reuniting with Andy, Woody and Buzz become best friends.
In Toy Story 2, Buzz is still shown to care for Woody like a true best friend. At the beginning, Buzz ensures that all the toys help find Woody's hat so Woody can go to cowboy camp. However, Woody's arm accidentally rips and so he is left behind - Buzz is shown to be deeply worried when his best friend is left on the shelf. Later, when Woody is stolen by Al McWhiggin, Buzz attempts to save Woody but ends up falling off Al's car, although he notes down the number plate which helps him and the rest of Andy's toys realize who kidnapped Woody. Despite some discouragement from the rest of the toys, Buzz vows to rescue Woody, noting how he owes Woody for once risking his own life to save him - taking Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, Rex and Slinky Dog to help him. The strength of Buzz's friendship with Woody is evident when the other toys demand a rest and Buzz comments how Woody never gave up and that he will refuse to rest until his best friend is home. When Buzz eventually catches up with Woody, he is devastated to hear that Woody would rather go to the museum in Japan rather than return to Andy, whom Woody is convinced will eventually outgrow him. As an upset Buzz leaves, Woody informs him that being in a museum is his only chance, to which Buzz warns Woody that in a museum, he will never fulfill his true purpose of being loved by a child. Hit hard by his best friend's words, Woody comes to his senses and decides to go back with Buzz, making Buzz and the other toys ecstatic. However, Stinky Pete prevents Woody from leaving which results in Buzz and the gang having to catch up with Woody at the conveyable at the airport. Woody becomes angry when Stinky Pete punches Buzz - when Stinky Pete is about to attack Woody, Buzz and the gang rescue Woody. When Woody still has to rescue Jessie, Buzz goes with him. Later, the gang returns to Andy's room where Buzz asks if Woody is still worried about Andy growing up - Woody replies that he is no longer worried because when it all ends, he will still have Buzz to keep him company for infinity and beyond.
In Toy Story 3, Buzz and Woody remain the joint leaders of Andy's remaining toys - none of them have experienced play time in years. Woody still maintains that Andy wants them although Buzz is skeptical of Woody's optimism. Buzz's belief seems to be confirmed when Andy puts all of the toys, apart from Woody, in a trash bag, which his mother puts on the kerb (not knowing that Andy intended to put them in the attic). Thankfully the toys narrowly escape being put in the garbage truck and believing that Andy intended to throw them away, decide to donate themselves to daycare. Woody, however, tries to convince the toys to stay, but Buzz assures Woody that going to day care is better for them, as he can see that Andy is outgrowing them. At daycare, Woody decides to return to Andy and asks Buzz to join him, however, Buzz still maintains that their time with Andy is over. Woody is devastated to the point that he rejects Buzz's handshake. Later, when Woody returns after hearing his friends are in danger, he is worried to hear that Buzz has been set to demo mode. In trying to set him back, the toys accidentally set him to his Spanish demo mode and Woody attempts to convince Buzz that he and the other toys are his friends. When Buzz is back to his normal self in the garbage dump, he is more than relieved to see Woody again. The two toys are shown holding hands for what they think will be the last time when they and the rest of the gang are about to die at the landfill furnace - they are, however, saved at the last minute. When they return home, Woody initially plans on letting Andy take him to college and he and Buzz share a farewell handshake as best friends. However, Woody decides to have Andy donate the toys, including himself, to a girl from the daycare centre named Bonnie (as opposed to having the rest of the gang in the attic as Andy had originally intended). Woody and Buzz are shown to be comforting one another once they accept their time with Andy is truly over.
Nine years prior to Toy Story 4, Buzz helps Woody and Bo Peep in rescuing RC whilst the toys still belong to Andy. Bo Peep is subsequently sold. In Toy Story 4, Buzz still cares for Woody to the extent that he comforts him over his constant neglect from Bonnie. On a road trip, Woody has dedicated himself to ensuring that Forky, Bonnie's new toy who believes he was made to be thrown away, remains with the gang - Buzz agrees to help Woody do so. When Forky escapes, Woody leaves the gang to find him. Later, Buzz uses his voicebox (which he believes represents his inner voice or conscience) and decides he must go and rescue Woody himself. He catches up with Woody and is shocked to find him with their old friend, Bo Peep who is helping Woody to rescue a captive Forky. When their attempt to rescue Forky proves fruitless, Buzz along with Bo Peep attempts to persuade Woody to leave without Forky. However, Woody states he does not leave toys behind. Buzz returns to the gang and later gets told by a rescued Forky to meet Woody at the carousel. At the carousel, Woody and Buzz reunite, but Buzz notices that Woody is sad about having to leave Bo behind again. He convinces Woody to stay with Bo, saying that Bonnie will be ok without him. The two best friends then share a final goodbye hug, knowing their paths may never cross again. From a distance, Buzz says 'to infinity' to which Woody replies 'and beyond.'
In Toy Story 2, Buzz and Jessie share only one scene together, yet it is clear that Buzz has feelings for her. Buzz helps Woody in rescuing Jessie when she is about to be shipped off to Japan. When they return to Andy's room, Buzz attempts to talk to Jessie but is clearly shy when giving her a compliment - Jessie nevertheless responds calling him the 'sweetest space toy she every met.' The fact they are seen together alongside Woody and Bo Peep during Wheezy's version of "You've Got a Friend in Me" illustrates that they are a couple.
By Toy Story 3, Buzz still remains nervous around Jessie, who clearly reciprocates his feelings. Buzz is shown to agree with Jessie when she states that Andy is outgrowing his toys, even when Woody refuses to give up. When Buzz is reset to demo mode (thinking he is a real space ranger and his friends are minions of Zurg), Jessie is heavily worried. When reset to Spanish mode, Buzz is shown to be more confident around Jessie and openly flirts with her. In the garbage dump, he tries to rescue her but ends up being squashed by a television - Jessie mourns over his apparent death. When he reverts to his normal self, she kisses him excitedly. When the toys reach the incinerator and believe they will die, Buzz and Jessie hold hands, signifying their romance. After the rescue, they are shown to still be holding hands, although Buzz is shown to not be so shy about this. At the end of the film, after the toys are donated to Bonnie, Jessie plays some Spanish music which causes Buzz to dance with her.
Although they do not interact much in Toy Story 4, Buzz and Jessie are still implied to be a romantic pairing. She is shown to be worrying when he goes off on a mission to find Woody who had abandoned the toys to bring Forky back. At the end, when the toys are watching Woody and Bo Peep from inside the RV, Jessie has her hand on Buzz's shoulder.
In 1995, Thinkway Toys introduced a 12-inch-tall Buzz Lightyear figure.
The figure was subject to mass sales in the Christmas after the film's release, mainly in the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1995, Thinkway did not think that Toy Story would be that popular and hence did not make enough dolls to meet demand, as referenced in Toy Story 2. Originally, Tim Allen's voice was on the action figure, but later models feature a voice actor who sounds similar to Allen.
In October 2009 and 2010, to coincide with Toy Story's 3-D re-release and the release of Toy Story 3 respectively, 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 and Disney released their own version of a replica Buzz Lightyear figure. Both Buzz Lightyears were much more accurately detailed than the other Buzz Lightyear figures and both had features similar to the figure seen in the movie with similar pop-out wings complete with blinking lights at the wingtips, laser, wrist communicator and the two figures had over 65 and 30 phrases with an original voice respectively. However, the Thinkway Toys figure lacks the karate chop action, while the Disney Store version has it. Only the Thinkway Toys figure comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and both come packaged in the spaceship packaging as seen in the movies. Another 2009 Buzz Lightyear figure by Thinkway Toys included the utility belt from Toy Story 2.
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 (ISS) 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.
The mission launched with Buzz Lightyear aboard 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 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 the toys-in-space educational program.
In 2009, Lego began releasing its Lego Toy Story line, which included a 205-piece Buzz Lightyear action figure. When the figure is completely built, it has an articulating head, arms, hands, torso, legs, feet, wings, and visor. Lego also created a Buzz Lightyear minifigure. In 2016 a new version of Buzz Lightyear was created for the Lego minifigures Disney series. This minifigure featured new prints for the legs and arms of the minifigure and removed the Star Command logo from the chest of the torso piece.
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. A book about the history of infinity from 1991 (4 years before Toy Story), by Eli Maor, uses the phrase for its title. Lucia 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. The 2008 quadruple platinum song "Single Ladies" by Beyoncé includes the lyric "...and delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond." Astronauts used the phrase while sending the Buzz Lightyear figure into space. The action figure was used for experiments in zero-g. 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.
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