Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to Lightyear (2022) - full transcript

Follows the making of the Pixar "Lightyear".

This is Toy Story, Disney Studios,

February 4th, 1995.
Recording Tim Allen as Buzz.

So, this is that beginning section
where you must have written.

Do you read me?

Buzz Lightyear to Star Command.
Come in, Star Command.

Star Command, come in.
Do you read me?

Why don't they answer?

ANGUS MACLANE: When we were making
Toy Story, the first one,

it was just director John Lasseter
and a very small group of us

coming up with
the characters and situations.

And, of course, the toy version of Buzz.



And now we're about to release a film

about the origin story
of this Buzz Lightyear character.

We get to grapple with this question,

"Who is Buzz Lightyear?"

I'm Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger,
Universe Protection Unit.

His job in the first films is to show up
and basically push Woody's buttons.

He's the best of the best,
and he knows it.

He understands everything
in all the manuals,

he's studied the hardest.

Woody, are you all right?

He's the strongest, he's the fastest,
he's the estest.

(TOYS GASP)

Buzz is the most upright citizen...

We will not rest
until he's safe in Andy's room!



And takes his policing job
very, very, very seriously.

Watch yourself!
Halt! Who goes there?

He's the straight guy,
he's the very literal guy.

Everything that's on the box
is the sum total of his knowledge.

BUZZ: I protect the galaxy
from the threat of invasion.

He doesn't understand that he's the toy

based off of this character
on the big screen,

He thinks he is that character.

Very impressed
with Andy's new toy.

- Toy?
- T-O-Y. Toy.

Excuse me, I think the word
you're searching for is "Space Ranger."

And the comedy all comes from that
disagreement over the nature of reality.

(GASPING)

(GAGGING)

It was Woody's movie,
but you need one for the other to work.

It's a dance.

Good morning, I'm Pete.

Today we'll learn how to animate
in less than two minutes.

We type in the magic UNIX commands.

In 1990, Pixar had done
a bunch of short films.

I knew that the goal was
to eventually do a feature,

and the thought was,

"Let's do an intermediate step,
we'll do a Christmas special."

Using characters
from one of the short films, Tin Toy.

That just seemed like
a very appealing, fun world,

the world of toys. Seeing things from
the toys' point of view, way down low.

The thrill was this must be
what it feels like to be this small

on the floor and encounter
a giant reckless baby.

At the same time, Disney said,
"Hey, you know what?

"We'd be willing to spring for a feature.

"What do you want to do?"
And we were like, "I have no idea."

So we thought, what if
we just use the Christmas special

that we are writing as the first act

and then we'll just go from there,

because we had no idea
what we were doing.

In animation at that time,

it was musical, musical... Only musicals.

So the idea that we could do
some other kind of storytelling

was really attractive.

One of the first things that happened,
in our story, was that

Tinny met this other ventriloquist doll,
the old established toy.

And this new toy comes

and is now threatening
this old toy's place in Andy's room.

This new cool, amazing tin toy?

So we're like,
"Okay, that doesn't quite work."

What was the toy we all wanted as kids?

We wanted action figures, you know,

with, like karate chop action
or exploding briefcases,

all kind of like, these moving parts.

Tinny had to go up on the shelf,

and his part was taken over by this
brand new character that we were creating,

named Buzz Lightyear.

Initially, Buzz was more of
a golden age space hero from the '30s.

I did all these things that almost looked
like water heaters with fins on them.

Things that were based
on Roman legionnaire helmets

and all that older, classic stuff.

LAUREN GAYLORD: We have
so many drawings of Buzz

that sometimes it's hard to differentiate.

This is one that we have
nicknamed Big Hair Buzz.

It's a distinguishing part of this
stage of character design,

because in the end
Buzz has no hair.

DOCTER: Buzz Lightyear wasn't always
called Buzz Lightyear.

He was even called Lunar Larry.

One of the suits has, like, the LL on it.

This is from an early animation test.

Woody is Slim, and the character
that would become Buzz is Tecor,

But it looks like they weren't
necessarily satisfied with that

because on this particular script, they've
made all these other acronyms for him.

He could have been TOLAR or MICROZ.

JEFF PIDGEON: And then one of them
was Tempus from Morph.

I don't know if we use that
for more than that one test.

Hey, pal, whatcha doin'?

I'm Tempus from Morph...

Yeah, what's this button?

Say, you weren't
thinkin' of flyin', were ya'?

- Well...
- You know, Andy loves toys that can fly.

BUZZ: Really?

When we look
at the final drawings,

we think that was
the right Buzz to choose.

But how did we get there?

So fun to just see all the iterations.

Just warming up still. Yes.

When I came on, John Lasseter
wanted to have a contemporary new toy

and asked if we could do
something more like an astronaut.

So we looked at NASA.
We looked at the astronauts.

Same time, we're going to the toy stores,

we're taking things apart, figuring out
how they work, how they articulate.

And the wings needed to function
like we're going to make this thing.

So I came up with the way that they would
swing out to the side.

I thought you could make that.
I can see a toy being built with that.

The minute we said
12 inches like G.I. Joe, "Yes".

The minute we said new, "Yes".

Let's give him karate chop action, "Yes".

The minute Bob Pauley said
"What if we make it white

and give it
a little accent with color?"

we are all like, "Yes."

And he should have some declarative thing
that he says.

To infinity and beyond!

That just made everybody laugh.

We loved that it made no sense. (CHUCKLES)

There is no beyond infinity.
Infinity is infinite.

Henceforth there is
no beyond infinity.

Felt like it really captured
the essence of who he was.

LEE UNKRICH: They had a sense of who
Buzz was and who they wanted him to be.

But once the decision was made
to cast Tim Allen as Buzz,

so much of his character
just clicked into place.

It was actually Tim Allen's idea to play
Buzz like an average street cop.

They've been watching Sid in the backyard,

the mean kid, blow up
the Combat Carl with the M-80.

- I coulda stopped him.
- Right.

What's going on?

So instead of being this unrealistic,
kind of,

"I'll save you, eager young space cadet,"
kind of guy,

he's playing it more like, "Yeah,

"I'm going to be hanging out
around the corner."

There's a kid over in that house
who needs us.

Now let's get you out of this thing.

DOCTER: He's a bit more realistic.

He's a little more earthbound.

No, no, no. Go, go.
Just go. I'll catch up.

And it really shaped the way
we wrote the character,

the way we thought of him,
in major ways.

Sheriff!

Sheriff?

There you are.

PAULEY: When we were designing Buzz,
I thought we had something.

You know, it was cool.

But we didn't have a clue that this was
going to become some kind of phenomenon,

that Woody and Buzz
would be household names.

To infinity and beyond.

(SPEAKING IN OTHER LANGUAGES)

Space Ranger.

WOODY: Buzz, this is the Oscars.

It's supposed to be formal.

Well, that would explain
all the penguins then

The whole thing was shocking.

I remember when the film came out
and driving down the freeway and be like,

"There's a billboard for Toy Story."

And it was really wild to see Buzz go up
on the International Space Station.

That was wow.

You created this character
who wants to be in space,

and now he's literally gone further
than most of us ever will.

For us to think
we would get to do anything more

would have been just crazy thinking.

Buzz Lightyear mission log.

The local sheriff and I seem to be at
a huge refueling station of some sort.

Buzz was kind of a deluded sidekick,
and somehow he really spoke to kids.

I'm not sure exactly what that means.

We tried to design a toy
that would be really cool for Andy,

that Andy would set aside Woody for.

PAULEY: Turns out that we created a toy
that in the movie was a good character,

but also actually a pretty darn good toy
in reality.

JENNIFER TAN: He is the toy
that all the kids want.

There's always an interest in continuing
the exploration of Buzz as a toy.

How else can we have fun with Buzz?

He's this superhero that every kid
either wants to be like

or wants to be friends with.

Buzz appeals to adults
and kids of all ages,

of all genders,

And that's why you see Buzz everything.

There's Buzz costumes, Buzz sneakers.

We work on action figures,
pencil toppers, apparel...

TAN: Buzz backpacks,

lunchboxes, juice boxes, paper towels,

anything you can think of.

Stickers on bananas, socks.

I love my Buzz and Woody socks.

I love how Buzz is everywhere

and people have
made their versions of him.

UNKRICH: A lot of it's handcrafted.

A lot of it's not coming out of factories.

It's just people making cool little
wooden pull toys or puppets.

People just love the characters.

PAULEY: I guess, in a way, the design
worked out, and it looks good

because you can be still so far off

and you know
there's a Buzz in there somewhere.

SUSMAN: I have seen some bizarre ones.

They look like
Buzz was put in a microwave.

It's not really the real Buzz,
but you can tell it's Buzz Lightyear.

MACLANE: When I started working at Pixar,

I was just blown away
by the Buzz Lightyear character.

His square personality,
I always thought, was hilarious.

DOCTER: Angus became
the go-to Buzz animator.

If I'm having trouble,
I can go to Angus,

not only with technical things,
but with artistic choices.

Like, what kind of expressions
he makes,

- and hand gestures.
- (GASPING)

And I'd always wondered what was the show

or the movie
that Buzz Lightyear came from.

And so that was something that was always
cooking in the back of my head.

Terrain seems a bit unstable.

SUSMAN: Lightyear and Toy Story
are intrinsically connected.

Andy, the kid in Toy Story, is so excited
to get this Buzz Lightyear doll.

Why is he so excited?

Well, we all thought that he was excited
because he probably went to see a movie.

And we're saying that
that movie is Lightyear.

MACLANE: Then it was trying to figure out,

"Well, what kind of story
are we telling with Buzz?"

And the character is more than just
the character in the Toy Story world.

It's a different character.

There's a general way that Buzz moves
through the world, a confidence,

This way!

A belief in himself.

I'm Buzz Lightyear. I'm always sure.

But we have to feel like
he has this inner life.

SUSMAN: Having an iconic character
to start from doesn't solve it for us.

It makes it a little easier,

but there's a whole lot
of discovery we have to do.

And the stakes are even higher
when you're reimagining

such a beloved character
like Buzz Lightyear.

I think the texture is the next thing,
and then lighting. Which...

STANTON: The biggest thing
a director does...

This is nice and elegant,
but it has to be pushed up just a hair.

You're a coach, you're a cheerleader...

It feels pretty great.

I love the gesture of the nose.

You're a vision keeper
and you're a navigator.

There's a lot of times
you're just at the bow of the ship

where there's just a ton of fog,
and you're saying, "There's land there,

"Believe me,
I promise you we'll get there."

I think the action
is actually just the steam.

A lot of great sci-fi hinges
on a real world parable or a deeper truth.

So I was trying to find
what's the deeper truth?

When you're making a movie,
it takes such a long time.

You need to find something you can
latch onto that feels personal.

This campus is
one of the inspirations for the movie.

I have different memories
from different years

that go back 20, almost 22 years now.

That's where I brought my daughter to work

for the very first time
when she was six months old.

We finished the movie there.

That's the last time
I saw that person alive.

Having been at the studio for a long time,

the sense of time passing
was first and foremost in my mind.

When you work on films,
the perceived time passes differently.

You do these four-year jumps,
these five-year jumps,

When you stick your head out of the hole,
you go, "What happened?"

Everyone else is like,
"All kinds of things happened."

The pandemic certainly added to that.

DEAN KELLY: It's like Groundhog Day.

We have our deadlines
and then my kid's school year.

That's how you knew
that time was passing.

At Pixar, we've been lucky to be able
to work through this pandemic.

SUSMAN: Immersed back in our families
in ways that we hadn't been.

KELLY: Looking at it now, it's evident
that the pandemic influenced Buzz's story.

Being able to overcome these odds,
but also know that you're not alone

and trying to do
what you need to get done.

It's amazing to see how connected we are
and how separated we are at the same time.

"That would be
an interesting problem for Buzz.

"Could he be in a situation where

"he was traveling through time
at a different rate than others?"

It's looking good.

I don't want to overwork
the dough on that stuff.

- All right.
- Great.

- Hey, welcome, everybody.
- MAN: Same.

MACLANE: The Pixar story process
is simultaneously regimented

and also chaos.

The first few years of the film,
it's actually the story department

and editorial kind of building the film
from scratch.

In story, we're drawing every single thing
that's on the page

in a very cinematic way,

and we get to see how each part
of the script is working or not working.

BUZZ: I'm not sure you could
classify this as wallowing.

It's interesting how quickly
it starts to feel like a movie.

Couple of frames in and you're like,
"Okay, this is what this is."

He's like, "Hang in there, guys."
And then...

(IMITATES EXPLOSION) Blast!

We're constantly revising our movie,

our story, our script.

HEADLEY: You never think,
"That's good, we're finished."

There are holes that are
just filled with stuff

that aren't
going to be a part of the movie.

MACLANE: Unpacking why things are funny,
why things work is part of the job.

We have to get to the next bit,
and I feel like the next bit is

Zurg holding Buzz, right?

So he turns...

What if it's a reaction,
like Zurg's like... And he reacts?

That way. Just so we know
that something is wrong.

What's great about science fiction
is you can do anything.

We've written so many sequences that
don't exist anymore, that are just so fun.

Laser heists and sticky space situations,

falling from great heights,

killer robots.

All these things
that you're trying out,

and ultimately none of that matters.

What matters is what's happening
with these characters in this moment,

how they're changing from
these people into these people.

Ready, Captain Lightyear?

Ready as I'll ever be,
Commander Hawthorne.

- To infinity...
- And beyond.

- (IMITATES EXPLOSION)
- (GASPS)

(GRUNTS) No.

ANGUS MACLANE: Buzz in this film
is a Space Ranger.

He is a human from Earth,
dedicated to Star Command.

CHRIS EVANS: The movie begins
with Buzz Lightyear

and his people on this giant, giant ship.

They stop on a detour 'cause they notice
a planet that has some resources.

Buzz Lightyear Mission Log.
Stardate 3-9-0-1.

Sensors have detected potential lifeforms
on an uncharted planet.

There seems to be no sign
of intelligent life anywhere.

EVANS: The ship gets attacked,
then, as they're trying to take off,

Buzz is responsible for the ship crashing.

MACLANE: He spends an entire film
trying to get back home.

Not only is it his fault,
based on his actions,

but he had the opportunity to be assisted.
He could've had help.

I'm better off just doing the job myself.

In trying to return home,

Buzz would have to be doing tests
that would cause him to time travel.

COMPUTER: Approaching 50% hyperspeed.

It takes him about four or five minutes
to do one of these missions

while everybody else on the planet
ages four years.

He is aging at a different rate
than all of his friends,

and he sees them grow old
as he continually fails

to make up for the big mistake.

That social dislocation
was the most captivating to all of us.

Thought we'd lost you, Buzz.

Alisha? What happened?

Time dilation.

What?

Time dilation is quite simple.

As you approached hyperspeed,

your time slowed relative to our own.

I'm glad you asked me about time dilation,
because I am a physicist.

Right? So the faster...

Oh, boy.

The faster you travel,

relative to something
that is not traveling at that speed,

your time slows down
because time is relative and...

The faster you you go toward...
Approaching the speed of light,

the less time passes for you
relativistically.

Now, nobody actually can hit
the speed of light.

You would become infinite mass.

Would explode type of thing...
Like, you wouldn't be.

That makes no sense.

You really should get somebody
really smart in here for this.

Station, this is Angus MacLane and
Galyn Susman with Pixar Animation.

Do you hear us?

How do you hear us?

The time dilations is real.

Because the speed of light is the same

no matter who's looking,
who's observing it,

that time progresses more slowly

for people and objects
that are moving fast

compared to the objects
that are not moving fast.

MAN: Station, this is Houston ACR.
That concludes the event. Thank you.

MACLANE: Thank you.
SUSMAN: Thank you.

That's what time dilation is.

And I don't want any letters.

MARGARET SPENCER:
One of the biggest nuts to crack

was why Buzz cares so much.

Something that really helped us out was

the creation of this character, Alisha,
the partner,

somebody who we could track aging
as he was staying the same.

UZO ADUBA: Alisha is a dynamic...

That's an order.

Capable leader.

I'm gonna grant you four minutes
to be off-planet,

but then you come right back to us.

Trying to advance and save the universe

along with her friend, Buzz Lightyear.

Okay, but maybe
we should think about this.

The great tragedy of it is

because he was so focused
and so consumed with the mission...

- That's what Space Rangers do.
- At what cost, Buzz?

Are you willing to lose
another four years?

He missed all of her life.

SUSMAN: What Alisha represents
is the life well-lived,

that he never had.

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue.

Buzz Lightyear, the character design
is extraordinarily iconic.

And I wanted to celebrate
and get away from that design.

SUSMAN: Trying to get the right balance

of the Buzz people are expecting to see
when they walk into the theater

with enough new, different mystery...

"I'm now the protagonist,

"and have my own story and growth."

That balance is really tricky.

He will step out of the ship.

And if you remember
all the way back in Toy Story,

when we first met Buzz,

you pan up and you see his face,
well, we have a shot very similar to that,

to try to help get people into
the, "Okay, this is Buzz"...

I will explore further
the oddities of this strange planet.

This is kind of the Buzz we know,

but this is not the Buzz we know.
Because it's a different Buzz.

And the stakes are even higher

when you're taking
a beloved character like Buzz Lightyear

and you're reimagining him.

There's somebody out there
with a Buzz Lightyear tattoo on their arm.

I don't want that person
coming up to me later and be like,

"Look, man,
you ruined my childhood.

"You ruined my arm." You know.

SUSMAN: Character design starts
from the Toy Story Buzz,

but Toy Story Buzz
has this ginormous chin.

That's just not real.
That's not human.

Nobody has a chin that big.

To get the Buzz Lightyear
from the toy

to now this actual human action hero,

he becomes a Space Ranger.

But we also see his heart grow.

To tell that story,
there had to be stakes and issues

that a man would deal with
and not a toy.

When I design a character,
it's usually an emotional reason first.

Then later we can start talking about
shape and why he did certain things.

But as an artist, I can't say,
"Oh, this is how we made him vulnerable."

Somehow putting your heart
into something,

as humans, we just know that.

That's very ethereal.

DEAN HEEZEN: The art of caricature
is all about pushing

the shapes and certain features.

Taking what's there in real life
and emphasizing it.

We were laughing 'cause when we tried
the big chin, and the round eyes,

and the severe brows,

those proportions, it was hard
not to make him look like a jerk.

The biggest thing is,
in our film Buzz has hair.

NOLTE: We never saw Buzz Lightyear
without his... They call it a snood,

the purple thing he wears on his head.

Thank goodness for Google.

Snoods. I'm like, "What is that?"

I look it up.
"Okay, that's what that is."

MACLANE: So he's got hair.
We work with the hair.

The hair was first.
What's the hair gonna look like?

His chin is pretty defining.
Got to have the chin.

He's got the little curly cue,
which is like a dimple chin.

He's got big, round eyes.

How do you work them
into the stylization of the world?

He's got a barrel chest and narrow waist.

NOLTE: What did he look like
underneath the space suit?

And that was an exploration too.

Angus wanted him to feel
a little bit more vulnerable,

a little more relatable.

I can't get out of this.

So I can't get a sense of...
I can't get any emotion out of it.

Story-wise,
it's about the birth of a hero,

not a hero that became a bigger hero.

I would start him off as John Glenn
and turn him into Han Solo.

The most difficult aspect is the head,
and you're totally nailing that.

NOLTE: Once we got approved in art,

that goes on into
the character modeling rig department.

Very, very, very collaborative discovery.

We just pass it around like a football,
always after the same goal of

maintaining the appeal
that was in the original art

but discovering new problems.

Just feeling a little harsh,
right in there.

We've got an established character
that everyone knows and loves.

It was up to us to go back
and flesh out this whole world

that we've never encountered.

We've just got little bits and pieces
of it through toy Buzz.

So we had tried a lot of different
callbacks and homages like Lunar Larry.

That's where we get this
sort of orangish red color.

We made sure to call back
to the original Buzz Lightyear suit,

so we still have buttons on it.
Got the wing logo,

the wrist communicator,
all that stuff.

The gear, you know. Angus loves the gear.

He loves all the stuff.

We gave him lots of cool accessories.

That he promptly loses immediately,
'cause that's what would really happen.

ALEXANDER: Angus cares about everything.

And when I say he cares about everything,
literally everything.

NOLTE: "Does that lever have
some sort of ribbing on it

"so your thumb would be
able to slide it easy?"

Whether it's how deep a panel line is or

even belt buckles, lots of belt buckles.

MACLANE: I arrive at a picture
of the whole

through a series of connected details.

I really wanted things to be tactile.

You should be able to feel
like you can touch this thing.

Buttons, switches.

More just making a world
that feels believable and lived in.

That will allow
the emotional story to come forward.

You might also see that he's,
through years of being an animator,

is kind of obsessed with
the performance of hands in the movie.

I'd be curious if we could build the hands

so that the index finger was
aligned like that.

Angus wants that hand to say
exactly what a character is feeling.

To him, a hand pose can signify
how much power

and strength a person has.

Depending on how you pose the thumb,

it can show whether that person
is a strong character or not.

MACLANE: I like toys a lot.

I have strong opinions about them.

And so for a lot of the big ships,
I just built them out of LEGO bricks.

I want something like this.

GREGORY PELTZ:
LEGO bricks are Angus' medium.

He does all these awesome mockups.

Here's how he sketched it
out in LEGO bricks.

And then I did my pass on it.

This is the 15th ship Buzz uses
to test this light speed fuel.

PELTZ: It's a movie that's full of
cool stuff to make toys out of,

that was made by people who love toys.

This is the best one.
This is the best thing.

And Angus remembers details
on movies that are insane.

He has an encyclopedic
knowledge of cinema.

Chased through a trolley graveyard.

Little more Me, Myself and Irene,
than Raising Arizona.

Gandalf. "Fly, you fools."

Indiana Jones. Scooby-Doo.

Shawshank. Beautiful Mind-ing it.

You need to Double Impact it a little bit.

Like, he remembers...

not just lines.

No, Kaa from Jungle Book...

HEADLEY: Sorry, I'll use his name

that's a different animation cycle.
That's like...

HEADLEY: He remembers the timing
of where roughly it happens in a movie.

He's like, "I think it was at
two minutes into the second act,

"you'll see this happen
and this musical cue."

And you're like,
"Wow, that's so specific."

A million small details
that you have to focus on,

and you can make all
of the elements awesome.

And then when you watch the movie,
it may not be awesome.

There are a million things
that can go wrong,

and you won't even know.

It's a crazy, crazy thing.

It's wonderful and it's horrible.

All directors go insane.

The first thing I directed was a play
when I was in kindergarten.

And I have to say I may have obsessed
a little bit too much about the costumes.

Even though there weren't swords involved
in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,

in my version, there were a lot of swords.

Design and acting and performing
and movies was just my thing.

I was really obsessed with things.

When I finally came to Pixar,

I wasn't the only one.

Buzz Lightyear to Star Command.
Come in, Star Command.

HEADLEY: I have a working theory
on storytelling,

and why we enjoy stories, is because

primarily we're dumb
and we can't remember things.

And so we need to have the same lessons
taught to us over and over again,

so that we remember to be decent,

and we remember that
we're a part of a community.

And it's certainly a way that I learn
and carry things with me through life.

SUSMAN: I was always driven
by making a picture.

But there was something about
the collaboration of different skills

that come together when you do a film
that was just so much more

rewarding and entertaining,

and I could see doing that
every day for the rest of my life.

When you've worked at Pixar for 10 years,

you get a really cool bronze statue
of Buzz Lightyear.

PETE: Buzz represents
a certain amount of tradition,

but he's also kind of the new guy.

There's something so aspirational
about Buzz.

If you want to acknowledge a decade spent

and at the same time say,
"To infinity and beyond,"

you've got lots more to do together,

what better character than Buzz?

EVANS: Gonna say it like the classic,

- "To infinity..."
- EVANS: Sure.

To infinity and beyond!

No one can touch Tim Allen, really.

Question. Are we saying...
Because as a...

Just so we're clear about it,
now is an admission section.

As a Toy Story fan...

Are we saying it like the way Buzz...

Okay. Copy.

"To infinity..."

Sorry. I'm so sorry.

I'm excited. That was just a good one.

(LAUGHS)

Sorry. I couldn't even continue.
I was like...

Oh, my gosh.

It's crazy.

I sort of come out wild. OMG.