After dropping a short teaser about three months ago, Disney-Pixar has finally given us our first full-length trailer for its upcoming feature film Lightyear, and June 17th cannot come quickly enough. The trailer is clearly built off of the teaser, with both of them being set to David Bowie’s immaculate “Starman” and many shots from the teaser are used again here. But the trailer gives us much more in terms of what we can expect from Lightyear‘s story and overall tone.
As we already know, Lightyear is the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the in-universe character that inspired the toy we know from previous Toy Story films. Director Angus MacLane has said that his pitch for the film was essentially “What was the movie that Andy saw that made him want a Buzz Lightyear toy?” Pixar is still keeping most things under wraps, but the interesting story tidbit we get here is that Buzz is part of an astronaut crew who has been marooned under unknown circumstances for over a year and that he’s the test pilot for their first spaceflight in the hopes of getting everyone home.
So much of this trailer feels reminiscent of classic science fiction movies, from the visual style to things like the mission log voiceover, the team of young, eager recruits and the quirky robot cat companion. We got a lot more action here than in the teaser, but the tone is overwhelmingly that of classic sci-fi optimism in a way that feels like a breath of fresh air for a time period where much of film—and real-life—feels swamped with cynicism.
Speaking of said mission log voiceover, dialogue is another big thing we get here that was noticeably absent from the teaser. Chris Evans is the voice of Buzz this time around as a way of distinguishing him from his toy counterpart, and from what we get here it seems like it will be a perfect fit. We don’t hear much from the rest of the cast, but the trailer also came with the news that the voice cast will include the likes of Keke Palmer, James Brolin, and Taika Watiti.
The “big reveal” of the trailer is the presence of Zurg, Buzz’s Darth Vaderesque nemesis first introduced in Toy Story 2. He seems to have gotten a makeover too, appearing here as a heavy-hitting eight-foot-tall robot that looks to completely outmatch Buzz and his team—but it’s hard to tell if it’s the same as the Zurg looking figure we see smashing a console later in the trailer, or if the big guy is just a heavy-hitter drone while the real villain is much closer in size to Buzz.
I’ll be honest…I teared up watching this trailer. I must have watched it about four times already and I still get a little choked up each time I watch it again. Toy Story was one of the first films I loved as a kid growing up, and Buzz very quickly became “my” character—I believe I still have a Buzz Lightyear action figure somewhere in my long-term storage. Watching this trailer makes me feel like a ten-year-old kid again, and Lightyear looks to not only be one of the most brilliant ways I’ve seen to reintroduce a legacy character to a brand new audience but what is ramping up to be my most anticipated film release of the year.