Tim Allen has voiced Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story series since the first installment hit theaters in 1995. But neither time nor experience in the role could prepare him for the ending of the upcoming Toy Story 4, he revealed.
Tim Allen’s career began on a dare. A friend encouraged him to get on stage at a comedy club just outside of Detroit. From there, Allen found himself starring in local commercials and making appearances on comedy shows.
Soon, Allen left Michigan behind for Hollywood. He started there as a stand-up comic and was often seen onstage at The Comedy Store. Then, he made his way into the late-night TV scene and even recorded some comedy specials.
But it would be Allen’s role on the ABC television series Home Improvement that would take his career to another level. He played Tim “The Tool-Man” Taylor for eight years and, by the end of the show’s run, made $1.25 million for each episode.
At the same time, Allen conquered the silver screen. In 1994 he played Scott Calvin in Disney’s The Santa Clause. His character accidentally kills the actual Santa Claus, meaning he has to step in and fill the toymaker’s shoes. The film grossed nearly $200 million across the world.
A year later came the first full-length computer-animated movie in the history of cinema, Toy Story, in which Allen voiced Buzz Lightyear. His character is the favorite new toy to play with, which sees him become the nemesis of Tom Hanks’ Woody the cowboy.
The movie was an incredible success for animation studio Pixar, bringing in more than $350 million worldwide and earning accolades from fans and critics alike. Toy Story even received three Academy Award nominations for its original music and screenplay.
The story of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and all of the other toys didn’t end with the original movie, though. Pixar went on to create two sequels: Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. Critics and fans deemed both films to be just as good as the first flick – something of a rarity for sequels.
To viewers, however, the third film appeared to mark the end of the Toy Story saga. In it, the toys’ owner, Andy, had grown up to be a teenager. And, at the end of the movie, he passes his toys onto a new owner, a little girl who appears to love Woody, Buzz and company as much as he did.
Moreover, the Pixar team seemed to confirm that the story was over as well. Toy Story 3‘s director Lee Unkrich told NOLA.com in 2010 that they didn’t “have any plans for Toy Story 4. I’m flattered that people ask about it…. I really always thought of [Toy Story 3] as the conclusion to one big story.”
At the same time, though, Unkrich did say, “There may be opportunities for Woody and Buzz in the future, but we don’t have plans for anything right now.” In addition, Allen and Hanks eventually agreed to provide their voices to a further film, which led to plenty of speculation about how another Toy Story might unfold.
By 2015, it became clear that Unkrich’s promise would be true in a sense – the fourth film wouldn’t be a continuation of the original Toy Story plot. Instead, it would be a romantic tale, as Buzz, Woody and their friend Pooh apparently head out in search of the cowboy’s true love, Bo Peep.
Of course, the Toy Story films have always been known to tug at viewers’ heartstrings. But Allen revealed on The Talk that even he was taken aback by the way in which the fourth film ended.
“It is so emotional, it’s so funny, it’s so big, the idea they’ve come up with, I’m startled,” Allen said of the new film. But the actor couldn’t reveal more than that, although he did admit that he “would love to be a Washington leaker” and spill the beans.
Allen did at least go into more detail about the end of the film and how emotional it was for him. “I couldn’t even get through the last scene,” he said, “They’ve got great characters, but a couple of scenes toward the end were really tough to get through.”
Allen also spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the fourth Toy Story film. “Somehow, they were able to advance this wonderful story that could have easily ended with number three being the best of the bunch,” he said.
“It’s emotional and funny and exciting and different and took it to a whole new level,” Allen continued. “It walks the line between comfort – you know what’s going on – and discomfort – wondering what’s going to happen. It’s terrifically emotional.”
Along with Allen and Hanks, many beloved characters – and voices – are set to come back for the fourth movie. Joan Cusack will reprise the role of Jessie, Bonnie Hunt will play Dolly, and Annie Potts will star as Bo Peep, among other returning stars.
For fans waiting to see the film, the release date of Toy Story 4 has become hard to pin down, to say the least. The movie was first set to hit theaters in June of 2017, but was then bumped to the following summer so that Pixar could release Cars 3.
By the time 2018 rolled around, though, the return of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang was once again delayed, this time by the premiere of The Incredibles 2. As of October of 2018, Toy Story 4 is set to hit the silver screen in June of 2019.