“Saw the trailer for Buzz Lightyear and all I can say is Disney/Pixar made a HUGE mistake in not casting my pal @ofctimallen,” Heaton, 64, wrote via Twitter on Tuesday, June 14. “Tim Allen in the role that he originated, the role that he owns. Tim IS Buzz! Why would they completely castrate this iconic, beloved character?”
Allen, 69, voiced the role of Buzz Lightyear in all four Toy Story films, the first of which premiered in November 1995. Chris Evans plays the courageous space ranger in Lightyear, the iconic character’s origin story.
“Ok so the current Buzz Lightyear movie is an origin story,” the Everybody Loves Raymond actress continued. “But the reason the character became so beloved is because of what @ofctimallen created. Why remove the one element that makes us want to see it?#stupidHollywooddecisions.”
Lightyear producer Galyn Susman defended the casting decision in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month. “Tim really is the embodiment of the toy Buzz, and this isn’t the toy world, so it really doesn’t make sense,” Susman explained. “There’s not really a role. It would just cause more confusion for audiences instead of helping them understand the movie we’re trying to tell.”
The film’s director, Angus MacLane, added, “Buzz was a side character in Toy Story and was a little goofier and a little more of a comedic relief. For Buzz to be a main character he needed a little more gravitas, a little more vulnerability, needed to be funny but not in a goofy way that would undercut the drama. Chris embodied all of those things.”
Evans, 41, told USA Today that he would’ve been foolish not to use Allen’s Buzz Lightyear as inspiration. “The reason we’re doing this movie is because Tim Allen made such an iconic impact,” he told the outlet. “Not only would you be a fool to not take his interpretation because it worked so well, but the truth is this character is in fact the human version of that toy, so there does need to be overlap in terms of their cadence and nature.”
The Captain America actor also admitted it was initially hard to find the balance between paying homage to the Home Improvement alum and finding his own voice.
“The first time you have to do an iconic line, ‘to infinity and beyond,’ you kind of just do a shameless Tim Allen impression,” Evans told Variety. The Massachusetts native said that he eventually discovered his own interpretation of the beloved character “while still using Tim Allen as the blueprint.”
Lightyear hits theaters on Friday, June 17.
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