How ‘Lightyear’ gives Buzz’s 'To Infinity and beyond!' quote from ‘Toy Story’ new emotional heft

·3 min read

When Pixar's original “Toy Story” movie was released in 1995, Chris Evans was a 14-year-old, obsessed with Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, who dreamed of working at Disney and being a film animator. So getting to utter the famous quote “To infinity and beyond!” as an adult was a thrill almost three decades in the making.

But the saying boasts new significance in “Lightyear” (in theaters now).  Once a catchphrase for Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear (which he'd yell to fellow toys before showing them how he flies), it  now has emotional heft, reflecting the strong bond between astronaut Buzz (voiced by Evans) and his mentor/commander Alisha (Uzo Aduba).

The space rangers say it to each other and touch fingers when they’re about to embark on a mission, and it becomes a much larger theme through “Lightyear” as Buzz also shares it with Alisha’s granddaughter Izzy (Keke Palmer).

Review: Chris Evans' Buzz is more fantastic than plastic in Pixar's spiffy 'Lightyear'

The friendship between Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans) and his commander Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) is at the heart of "Lightyear."
The friendship between Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans) and his commander Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) is at the heart of "Lightyear."

“What was really great watching it in this movie is you understand that it's a pact between friends. It's a promise. And I think that's wonderful,” Aduba says.

Adds Evans: “You knew that Pixar was going to have fun with all of those origins, those reasons for why he says the thing he says. That line in particular, (it) was really satisfying to know that it was actually part of this connection he had with this person.”

“Lightyear” director Angus MacLane says there was “an evolution” to this new take on “To infinity and beyond,” which he imagines the original plastic Buzz spouts in the “Toy Story” movies because it has that “cartoon-show spinoff” feel. “They did this a lot in the '80s: Robocop had a show. 'Rambo,' that was hilarious. I'm sure they would've used that catchphrase in a way where they're like, ‘We’ve stripped all the emotion out of the film, and that's just what he says at the end.’ Because that just felt right for the era.”

'Lightyear': Why Pixar film has a same-sex kiss and not an 'awkward handhold' between queer characters

Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen, left) and Woody (Tom Hanks) are frenemies before becoming best pals in the original "Toy Story."
Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen, left) and Woody (Tom Hanks) are frenemies before becoming best pals in the original "Toy Story."

Filmmakers originally considered just putting the well-known quote in the “Lightyear” finale: The thinking was, “he'll just say that, and people will accept it because it's the Buzz they know,” MacLane says. They already had the finger-touch idea for Buzz and Alisha as “their 'it’s go time' kind of thing,” and then one of the film’s editors suggested pairing that moment with “To infinity and beyond.” "Once we had that, it was really clear that we need to carry that through the whole movie.”

Alisha acts as a positive force in Buzz’s life “as far as you can have a directive and have a thing that you're aiming for, but it's also entirely possible for those dreams to shift and adjust,” Aduba says. "And that those (new) dreams can be just as special, just as heroic, as the ones you initially set out on.”

And when they say, “To infinity and beyond” to one another, “there's a real warmth and tenderness behind that expression, and (it) really gives heart to the Buzz character in a way we haven't seen before and the relationships that he has with people surrounding him,” Aduba adds. “It's an iconic phrase. It's something that I never in my life imagined I would be uttering, but here I am saying it, and I'm incredibly grateful.”

'I love love, who doesn't?': Chris Evans on 'Lightyear,' playing bad guys and being 'a romantic person'

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Lightyear’: Buzz's iconic 'Toy Story' line gets new emotional heft

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting