When asked about how it felt to deliver Buzz's most famous line -- "To infinity and beyond!" -- Evans admitted that it was genuinely "nerve-racking."
"Because it's something that we all know from someone else," Evans said, referring to Tim Allen's delivery of the line as Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story franchise. "So it's big shoes to fill and you want to put your own interpretation on it, but you also have to make sure you pay homage to what we all know and what we all love."
Lightyear is not technically a Toy Story movie, in the sense some might expect. Instead, it's a meta take on an origin story for the toy character people fell in love with in the Toy Story franchise. Just as Toy Story 2 introduced Woody's Roundup -- the 1950s children's television show that inspired the Woody cowboy doll -- Lightyear is the movie within the Toy Story universe that inspired the Buzz Lightyear action figure coveted by young Andy in the franchise's first film.
"The truth is... this is the character the toy is based off of," Evans explained of his role in Lightyear. "So you can't make pure, fresh tracks in the show. You have to acknowledge that."
The idea for the origin story was crafted by longtime Pixar animator and director Angus MacLane, who found a unique way to explore a new side of the beloved hero.
"Buzz is a character I've always been pretty interested in and connected to, since I started on Toy Story 2 as an animator, and I've always been kind of drawn to him," MacLane told ET in an interview last year. "I've always been curious about Buzz's world, like, the world of the Space Rangers and the world of Star Command."
It was meant to be this lampooning of a collection of sci-fi clichés in the original Toy Story as kind of a punchline," MacLane recalled of the world-building around the Star Command hero, "but as time went on at the studio, I just increasingly became really interested in what kind of movie that would look like."
Lightyear flies into theaters on Friday, June 17. Check out the trailer below!