Tom Hanks just wants everyone to play nicely.
The actor, who voiced Woody in the original Toy Story films, commented on Tim Allen not being cast in the titular role for Lightyear, which instead stars Chris Evans. The topic came up during a recent episode of CinemaBlend's ReelBlend podcast, when Hanks was asked if it was strange to have his new movie Elvis, in which he plays Elvis Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker, in theaters opposite the Buzz Lightyear film.
"How about that?" the Oscar winner replied. "I wanted to go head-to-head with Tim Allen, and they didn't let Tim Allen do it. I don't understand that."
But ultimately, Hanks is just glad people are returning to the theater after the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Just as long as people come back to the motion picture theater," he said. "I want to go back in the theater with a bunch of strangers and leave with something in common. That's what I want to do and going to see a movie with them, I'm looking forward to that."
Hanks and Allen played Woody and Buzz Lightyear in all four Toy Story movies. Evans' Lightyear tells the origin story of the space ranger Buzz Lightyear—the man who inspired the toy.
Both fans and fellow actors, including Patricia Heaton, have shared their reactions to the controversial casting decision. But what does Allen think of the move? As he recently told Extra, he's trying to stay out of the conversation, noting it's a "whole new team that really had nothing to do with the first movies." Allen also expressed how he thought the film would be a live-action film with "humans, not an animated thing." And while Lightyear seems like a "wonderful story," the actor said, "it just doesn't seem to have any connection to the toy."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, having Allen return for Lightyear was not considered in the creative process.
"Tim really is the embodiment of the toy Buzz, and this isn't the toy world, so it really doesn't make sense," producer Galyn Susman told the outlet. "There's not really a role. It would just cause more confusion for audiences instead of helping them understand the movie we're trying to tell."
As Lightyear director Angus MacLane tweeted, "Tim Allen is, and shall always be, Buzz Lightyear the toy from TOY STORY. Patrick Warburton is, and shall always be, Buzz Lightyear from BUZZ LIGHTYEAR OF STAR COMMAND. Chris Evans is, and shall always be, Buzz Lightyear from #Lightyear."
At the Lightyear premiere in June, Evans told E! News he was "really excited" to play Buzz Lightyear because he loves Pixar. Still, he acknowledged "there's a lot of pressure because it's obviously a character we know really well and that a lot of people hold close their hearts."
"You want to make sure you pay homage to what Tim Allen did," the Captain America star continued. "I mean, he's Buzz Lightyear in my eyes. But the character itself is supposed to be the character the toy is based on, so you have to take what he did as a road map and acknowledge it."