Ten Things You May Not Know About Buzz Lightyear
1. When it was decided that the character of Buzz Lightyear would be an astronaut, his original name was Lunar Larry—not the most heroic name. But it could have been worse. Before the astronaut idea came about, he was initially going to be Tinny, the title character in the Pixar short “Tin Toy.”
2. So how did they get to Buzz Lightyear? Simple, actually. Buzz Lightyear’s name was inspired by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon.
3. Like his namesake, Buzz Lightyear himself has flown into outer space. In 2008, astronauts took a Buzz Lightyear figure on the Discovery Space Shuttle as part of an educational initiative. While Buzz took part in some zero-g experiments, Earth-bound children had the opportunity to see a movie on how other toys behaved in space; including yo-yos, basketballs, soccer balls, and a gyroscope.
4. Some of the original choices to voice Buzz included Jim Carrey, Chevy Chase, and Billy Crystal. When Billy Crystal was offered the part, he declined. After seeing the finished film, he said the decision was the biggest mistake of his career. Upon learning this, Pixar offered Crystal the role of Mike Wasowski in Monsters, Inc., which he readily accepted.
5. In the end, Buzz Lightyear was of course voiced by Tim Allen in the films. However, the Buzz figure you see in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is voiced by Pat Fraley, better known for his performances as several characters in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
6. Buzz Lightyear might be larger than life, but how tall is he really? Buzz comes in at just under a foot tall—11.43 inches without his helmet, to be exact. That’s nearly four inches shorter than Woody!
7. Woody might be taller, but he doesn’t have a pair of wings like Buzz has. Those state-of-the-art technological wonders are constructed from a top secret carbonic alloy. They feature red and green blinking lights on the port and starboard sides to prevent in-air collisions.
8. Buzz is a pretty expressive fellow. Buzz has 215 animation variables in his face alone. Also known as “avars,” these are different points of movement incorporated into the computer model, which the animators manipulated to create Buzz’s physical performance.
9. In Finding Nemo, look carefully and see if you can spot the Buzz Lightyear figure in the toy box in the dentist’s office.
10. “Hay Un Amigo En Mi” is Spanish for “You Got a Friend in Me.” How do we know? In the end credits of Toy Story 3, Jessie turns on Buzz’s Spanish mode to dance with him to the Spanish version of the memorable theme song.
Reprinted from Celebrations Issue #14 (Nov/Dec 2010). Click here to browse though our back issue library, or subscribe so you can enjoy the magic of Disney all year ’round!