Watch Chris Evans, Keke Palmer and Taika Waititi Unbox Their 'Lightyear' Toys (Exclusive)
By Meredith B. Kile
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The cast of Lightyear is ready to head to infinity and beyond! But first, they'll need some of the galaxy's coolest gear.
In ET's exclusive unboxing video, Chris Evans, Keke Palmer and Taika Waititi check out some of the coolest Lightyear toys from the upcoming film -- from action figures to plushes and even a robot cat!
Evans, who takes on the voice role of Buzz Lightyear in the movie, is immediately enthralled by the spaceship toy, while Palmer and Waititi check out the miniature versions of their fellow space rangers, Izzy Hawthorne and Mo Morrison. And of course, they all love each and every version of Buzz's robot cat companion, Sox. Watch the full video above.
To be clear, Lightyear is not a Toy Story movie -- or at least, not exactly. It's a clever meta take on an origin story 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."
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.
"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."
Of his concept, he explained, "If Andy saw a movie that got him excited about getting a Buzz Lightyear toy, what would that movie look like? And why don't we just make a movie like that?... Where the world was serious and not tongue-in-cheek, and not winking at the audience, just making kind of a straightforward sci-fi movie."
The character of Buzz Lightyear has long been synonymous with Tim Allen, who has voiced the space ranger in the first four Toy Story movies. (Patrick Warburton played the role on the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command television series in the early 2000s, which, interestingly, featured some opening titles animation by MacLane.)
But Toy Story's Buzz is not Lightyear's Buzz, and the new interpretation of the self-serious spaceman necessitated a new voice as well.
"When we were coming up with the world of it, and it was going to have a tonal difference... there was a sense of gravitas that we needed," MacLane explained. "There's just a different tone, a different flavor."
The director admitted that Evans was their "first and only choice" for the role, having already proven himself skilled at playing an earnest hero with a self-deprecating sense of humor.
"To me, the comedy comes from the character really believing, being really serious about it, but also knowing how to make that funny in that seriousness," MacLane noted. "Chris had shown that in spades for Captain America."
"He's been such a joy to work with and such a partner in developing this alternate take on the character and really made it his own," he added. "It's been such a wonderful experience. So, I'm so happy he's exactly who you think he is. And he's really good at his job."
Lightyear flies into theaters on Friday, June 17. Check out the trailer below!