Actress Patricia Heaton did not take kindly to Disney and Pixar replacing Tim Allen–who originally voiced the character of the Buzz Lightyear toy from the Toy Story films–with Marvel star Chris Evans for the new Lightyear movie.
Lightyear, which opens on Friday, is an origin story for the eponymous action hero that inspired the beloved, anthropomorphic action figure in the popular Toy Story franchise.
They are completely different characters according to the franchises creators.
Heaton fiercely defended Allen and accused Disney and Pixar of "castrating" the iconic role with their casting decision.
Heaton in a viral Twitter thread wrote:
"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."
To be clear, Allen never played the character in the new film. Allen played a toy based on the man Chris Evans is now voicing.
But the Everybody Loves Raymond star argued:
“Tim IS Buzz! Why would they completely castrate this iconic, beloved character?”
Many people disagreed with Heaton's rant.
They reminded her the character from Toy Story is not in Lightyear.
Other fans had no objection to the casting of Captain America in the role.
They ribbed Heaton for her distressing word choice.
People assured her Allen's career with Disney won't be affected as he recently wrapped production with the Disney+ show The Clauses.
The upcoming Christmas comedy miniseries is based on The Santa Clause films in which Allen starred and will be reprising his role.
Other Twitter users quickly pointed out the wannabe astronaut character had been voiced by other notable actors–like Seinfeld's Patrick Warburton–in Toy Story projects since the films.
During a press conference, Lightyear producer Galyn Susman set the record straight on why Allen wasn't returning to voice the character.
“Tim Allen is Buzz Lightyear the toy. We weren’t making a Toy Story movie. We’re making Buzz Lightyear’s movie."
"And so first and foremost, we just needed a different person playing that Lightyear, separate from the toy.”
As for the specific casting of Evans, Director Angus MacLane added Lightyear is “a little more well-rounded."
"Technically he’s a bit smarter because he’s not comic relief. He has to be funny, but not too goofy. And that’s why we went with Chris," he said.
MacLane also further explained to Vanity Fair:
"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.'”
Evans acknowledged the elephant in the room when he was approached by Disney for the ambitious new project.
“My team could barely contain their excitement when they told me that Pixar had a pitch for me."
"All they said was ‘Buzz Lightyear.’ I didn’t know what that meant, since Tim Allen is Buzz Lightyear, and no one could ever touch his performance.”
In preparation for the role of Buzz, Evans mentioned using his predecessor as a "guideline."
“[Allen] did such a good job, and I’d be a fool not to acknowledge the work he did. But I couldn’t just do a shameless impression," noted Evans.
"I had to somehow create my own understanding of the character, and try to make some fresh tracks in the snow while paying homage to the great work that he did.”
Heaton eventually acknowledged the discrepancy between the two characters but remained obstinate in her position.
“OK, so the current Buzz Lightyear movie is an origin story," she acquiesced in a follow-up tweet.
"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?”
Toy Story fans beg to differ, as Lightyear generated positive buzz after seeing Evans flawlessly voice the spaceman in the trailer.
Lightyear–which also features the voices of Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, James Brolin, Peter Sohn, and Uzo Aduba–lands in theaters this Friday.