In terms of sheer critical adulation and consistent quality, Toy Story might be the greatest franchise of all-time. As well as raking in over $3 billion at the box office, the four installments were all subjected to universal acclaim. Last year’s swansong for Woody and Buzz holds the lowest scores in the series on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but ratings of 97% and 84 respectively are the sort of numbers that any movie would kill for.
Of course, a lot of people felt as if Toy Story 4 was unnecessary when it was first announced, given how perfectly the third chapter had tied the story up, with barely a dry eye in the house as the credits rolled. Pixar’s increased reliance on sequels made a fourth outing an inevitability, though, and even after almost a decade away from our screens, the gang remained as popular as ever, with Josh Cooley crafting a follow-up that sits comfortably alongside a trilogy of stone cold classics.
However, no marketable property is ever truly finished, and at yesterday’s Investor Day hosted by Disney, the studio revealed that Toy Story prequel Lightyear is in the works, with Chris Evans set to replace Tim Allen as the voice of Star Command’s Space Ranger. Pixar have even released the first official image from the project, which you can check out below.
A Buzz Lightyear origin story doesn’t sound like the most original or exciting prospect, but the studio’s Pete Docter confirmed that it exists separately from the Toy Story timeline, and focuses on the title hero rising up the ranks of Star Command, so it won’t have anything to do with him becoming self-aware about the fact that he’s a child’s plaything. And while it remains to be seen what else it may bring us, a sci-fi adventure set in a familiar universe with Chris Evans as an iconic character sounds like a great compromise for those who want to see more of this world without affecting the ending of Toy Story 4.