How Is Lightyear Connected to Toy Story?

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How Is Lightyear Connected to Toy Story
Credit: Disney Pixar

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Lightyear underperformed at its opening weekend, but Toy Story fans might still be interested in watching it at some point over its cinema run. But what exactly is it about? The title is self-explanatory as to the focus character, but how is Lightyear connected to Toy Story?

Is Lightyear a Sequel?

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Credit: Disney - Pixar

Lightyear is not a sequel. Apart from the titular astronauts, none of the other favorite toy characters appear, and it bears no direct influence on any events in the main Toy Story series.

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Is Lightyear a Prequel?

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Credit: Disney - Pixar

Strictly speaking, no, Lightyear isn't a prequel either. This is because the titular Lightyear isn't the toy astronaut we know and love.

The controversial choice to have Lightyear voiced by Chris Evans instead of Tim Allen further demonstrated the fact that we are not talking about the same character.

As such, we can't consider Lightyear a prequel either. You might, however, consider it as predating the original Toy Story movies.

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How Does Lightyear Connect to Toy Story?

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Credit: Disney Pixar

If Lightyear is neither a sequel nor a prequel, how does it connect to the beloved Pixar franchise? Look at the original 1995 Toy Story film for an answer.

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In the original Toy Story movie, Andy receives a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday. The toy was based on Andy's favorite movie, and Lightyear is that very movie.

Unlike what fans might originally suspect when hearing about it, Lightyear isn't Buzz's origin story before he became Andy's toy, nor a spin-off adventure that centers on Buzz.

Does Lightyear tell the story of an actual astronaut then? This is not quite the case either, given that Lightyear is fictional even within the Toy Story universe.

Related: Lightyear Release Date in UK, Canada, and Australia

Lightyear is the first movie in the franchise to not take place in the world of sentient toys, so it isn't another Toy Story movie. It's a movie that exists within the universe of the movies, making for a meta experience.

Of course, some might argue that this isn't the most exciting premise, as the Lightyear we'll see on screen isn't the Buzz we know and love, and the toys - the most charming aspect of the franchise - are absent. This partly explains Lightyear's financial flop, as the movie is very different from the more beloved Toy Story.