When Disney embarked on making another offshoot of the 1995 blockbuster hit Toy Story, many were utterly surprised when the iconic role of Buzz Lightyear, previously voiced by actor Tim Allen, went to another actor. Actress Patricia Heaton publicly slammed Disney for replacing Allen, but that’s not all.
Disney’s legendary kid’s film Toy Story is a much-beloved movie by generations of Americans. So much so, that it’s become a successful franchise. However, with the spin-off Lightyear — an origin story for Buzz Lightyear — Disney executives claimed they wanted to take the character in a “different direction” and declined to bring back Tim Allen, who had voiced the iconic character in the original film as well as multiple sequels and spin-offs.
That didn’t sit well with actress Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond fame, who took to social media to express her opinion on the matter. “Saw the trailer for Buzz Lightyear and all I can say is Disney/Pixar made a HUGE mistake in not casting my pal Tim Allen in the role that he originated, the role that he owns,” she wrote. “Tim IS Buzz! Why would they completely castrate this iconic, beloved character?”
Saw the trailer for Buzz Lightyear and all I can say is Disney/Pixar made a HUGE mistake in not casting my pal @ofctimallen Tim Allen in the role that he originated, the role that he owns. Tim IS Buzz! Why would they completely castrate this iconic, beloved character?
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) June 14, 2022
Although Allen originated the role of Buzz Lightyear and voiced the character in multiple films, actor Chris Evans, who played the superhero Captain America in The Avengers, was cast in the starring role of Lightyear instead of Allen. Coincidentally, Evans is 28 years younger than Allen to the day, with each of them celebrating birthdays on June 13.
Patricia Heaton wasn’t finished blasting Disney. In a follow-up tweet, the actress wrote, “Ok so the current Buzz Lightyear movie is an origin story – but the reason the character became so beloved is because of what [Tim Allen] created. Why remove the one element that makes us want to see it?” The Everybody Loves Raymond actress finished her post with the hashtag “Stupid Hollywood Decisions,” making it more than clear how she felt.
Ok so the current Buzz Lightyear movie is an origin story – but the reason the character became so beloved is because of what @ofctimallen created. Why remove the one element that makes us want to see it?#stupidHollywooddecisions https://t.co/bRn1lZgkac
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) June 14, 2022
Lightyear director Angus MacLane explained that casting Evans instead of Allen was intentional on the part of the filmmakers. “Tim’s version of Buzz is a little goofier and is a little dumber, and so he is the comic relief. In this film, Buzz is the action hero,” he told Vanity Fair. “He’s serious and ambitious and funny, but not in a goofy way that would undercut the drama. Chris Evans has the gravitas and that movie star quality that our character needed to separate him and the movie from Tim’s version of the toy in Toy Story.”
Tim Allen not being cast in the role was not the only issue facing this Toy Story spin-off. Lightyear failed miserably with early reviewers, as nearly half of them gave it just one star, according to IMDb on the day of its release. Making matters worse, the film was reportedly banned in Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — as well as Malaysia, over a scene featuring a gay kiss.
According to Variety, the same-sex kiss was restored to the final cut of the Pixar animated film after LGBTQIA2S+ employees and their allies complained that Disney executives had censored “overtly gay affection” in the company’s films. Additionally, the outrage from liberal activists at Pixar Animation Studios was part of a larger protest against Disney’s initial silence in response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which prohibits teachers from talking to children about sexuality and transgenderism in kindergarten through third grade.
After the Walt Disney Co. faced the wrath of queer rights activists, Disney CEO Bob Chapek did a complete turnaround and announced that the company was pledging $5 million toward LGBTQ groups in response to Florida’s anti-grooming legislation signed into law by Gov. Ron Desantis.
Desantis himself has long pointed to what he calls “Disney’s blatant state of hypocrisy.” When the company voiced its opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Bill, the governor fired back. “The chance that I am going to back down from my commitment to students and back down from my commitment to parent rights simply because of fraudulent media narratives or pressure from woke corporations — the chances of that are zero,” he said. “And when you have companies that have made a fortune of being family-friendly and catering to families and young kids, you know, they should understand that parents of young kids do not want this injected into their kid’s kindergarten classroom.”
Desantis explained that parents do not want their first graders to “go and be told that they can choose an opposite gender,” saying, “that is not appropriate for those kids. So if you’re family-friendly, understand the parents — who are actually raising families — want to have their rights respected.” Disney might take heed and start to cater to those who are raising their most valued customers, and pushing a political agenda with children’s entertainment just doesn’t come off as “family-friendly.”