Why Pixar's Lightyear Director Doesn't Recommend Making Spin-Off Movies

"It's so, so hard."

Pixar’s “Lightyear” director Angus MacLane says that creating origin story spin-offs are not worth the trouble.

During an interview with GameSpot, the director spoke about the challenges of creating and developing sequel movies like “Lightyear” and “Finding Dory” and recommended that new filmmakers refrain from undertaking the heavy lifting of giving a pre-existing side character a standalone movie or origin-style spinoff.

“As a filmmaker, you really have to think about what problems you want to solve,” he admitted. “When we took on [Lightyear] we ran into the problem of having to change a side character to a main character and that’s a really hard thing. Having worked on [Finding Dory], that was just tremendously hard.”

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“But because Buzz’s backstory was something I wanted to tell, and because I wanted to do a straightforward sci-fi action-adventure, you know, like a nerd/geek film, that was the driver there,” MacLane elaborated on the creative process of creating “Lightyear.” “So that’s what kept it going, even when we still hadn’t figured it out. Because I knew what the movie would feel like when it was done.”

Despite the film becoming a labor of love, Angus acknowledged the many hurdles he faced and couldn’t confidently recommend the experience to those new to the filmmaking industry,

“I really wouldn’t recommend it,” he confessed. “It’s so, so hard.”

According to MacLane, part of the challenge involves audience expectations when creating a spinoff. When people have a preconceived notion of a film, it can be hard to adjust their expectations.

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“I think it’s funny to hear people ask things like ‘how is this compared to Toy Story?’ because when you see the movie, you realize it’s its own thing,” he explained.

“I think it would be even harder if it were the Toy Story Buzz going off into this movie, you know? Then you’d be like ‘where’s Woody?!’ Because that’s what makes [Toy Story Buzz] work. I could see a different version of this movie that’s maybe a bit closer to the Buzz Lightyear: Star Command TV show,” MacLane noted. “But I think that works much better for a shorter format.”

Voiced by Chris Evans, “Lightyear” explores the origin story of classic “Toy Story” character Buzz Lightyear. According to IGN, despite the “strong performances and attractive visuals” that will “keep kids and adults alike entertained” that keeps the film going, “the story isn’t the quality you’d expect from Pixar.”

The film had a disappointing first weekend at the box office raking in an estimated $51 million  domestic, well below the projected $70 million. It was no. 2, just behind “Jurassic World: Dominion.”


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