On Wednesday, Disney announced another installment of the Pixar Toy Story franchise is in development and that Tim Allen would be returning to play the iconic Buzz Lightyear character. This after he wasn't tapped to join 2022's ill-fated feature film, Lightyear, where the titular hero was voiced by Chris Evans, reports Deadline.
Tim Allen confirmed that he would be back for Toy Story 5 on Twitter and wrote, "See ya soon Woody, you are a sad strange little man and you have my pity. And off we go to a number 5! To infinity and beyond!"
According to Deadline, the film Lightyear was "billed as the animated character’s origin story, was generally considered a bust, and Allen’s absence was felt. He had been voicing Buzz Lightyear since the 1995 debut of the franchise."
As the New York Post reported, speculation as to the character's recasting circled around Allen, who has been outspoken about his conservative values in the overwhelmingly left-leaning Hollywood community.
Patricia Heaton, who starred in the TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, commented on the recasting at the time.
Collider reports that the new Toy Story sequel will be developed alongside sequels to Frozen and Zootopia. The news came the same day Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Disney was laying off 7,000 of its employees and was going to restructure after a disappointing last quarter of Fiscal Year 2022.
One of 2022's flops was the feature film Lightyear which underperformed at the box office. A controversial lesbian kiss between two side characters was cut and then reinserted in the film after Disney employees said the company was not doing enough to combat Ron DeSantis' Parental Rights in Education in Florida. The bill, which aims to keep non-age appropriate conversations about sexuality and gender identity out of elementary school classrooms, was dubbed the "don't say gay" bill by activists seeking to paint it as anti-LGBTQ.
The presence of the scene in the film was defended by cast and crew, including producer Galyn Susman who said, "Every kid when they watch a movie wants to see themselves on the screen and especially with the children who haven't gotten to see very much of themselves, especially in animated films, just the thought that they can sit in the theater and say 'Wow, that’s me. I feel seen, I feel represented,' it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to do that."
During a company meeting in March of 2022, Karey Burke, Disney’s corporate president, said she wants "many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories" and that she wanted at least 50 percent of the characters to be LGBTQ+. In that same meeting another Disney producer mentioned her "not-at-all secret gay agenda" in making content for the company.Allen got his start as a stand up comedian in the 1980s and rose to fame in the 1990's for playing Tim "the Toolman" Taylor on the hit sitcom Home Improvement.
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