Tom Hanks has joined the chorus of Toy Story fans wondering why Tim Allen was replaced by Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear for the new Disney/Pixar movie Lightyear. In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, Hanks was asked about his movie, Elvis, going up against the Toy Story franchise spinoff movie at the box office. In Toy Story and its subsequent three sequels, Allen voiced the space ranger character and Hanks voiced his cowboy doll pal Woody.
"How about that? I actually wanted to go head-to-head with Tim Allen and then they didn't let Tim Allen do it. I don't understand that," Hanks replied, referring to Captain America actor Evans voicing Buzz Lightyear in the new film. "Yeah, yeah, I know," he said when Evans was then mentioned. "Here's the thing: I want to go back in the theater with a bunch of strangers and leave with something in common. That's what I want to do and going to see a movie with [Allen] – I'm looking forward to that."
The decision to cast Evans has been quite controversial among many, not the least of which was Allen himself. "The brass that did the first four movies, it's just a whole new team that really have nothing to do with the first movies," he said in an interview with Extra. "It's [Tom] Hanks and I. There's really no Toy Story's Buzz without Woody."
He added, "I'm a plot guy ...it seemed to be a big adventure story. As I see, it's not a big adventure story. It's a wonderful story. It just doesn't seem to have any connection to the toy. It has no relationship to Buzz. It's just no connection. I wish there was a better connection."
Offering his own comments on the controversial situation, Evans previously spoke highly of Allen and explained, "I'd be a fool not to acknowledge the work he did. But I couldn't just do a shameless impression." He continued "I had to somehow create my own understanding of the character, and try to make some fresh tracks in the snow while paying homage to the great work that he did."
Notably, Lightyear does not take place after the events of Toy Story 4 and is not actually about the toy that Allen voiced. In a very meta move for Disney, the movie is intended to be the one that the action figure is based upon — meaning that technically, in the Toy Story franchise timeline, Lightyear would precede 1995's Toy Story, and Allen's Buzz Lightyear character would be based on the one that Evans voices.
Additionally, this isn't even the first time another actor has voiced the character. Family Guy star Patrick Warburton provided the voice for Buzz in the UPN/ABC cartoon Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Furthermore, voice-actor Pat Fraley portrayed the character in a pair of Disney computer games: Disney's Animated Storybook: Toy Story and Disney's Activity Center: Toy Story. Lightyear is now playing in theaters.