'Beyond Infinity' launches deep into Buzz Lightyear's history on Disney Plus

The new Disney documentary "Beyond Infinity" showcases the back story of the loveable astronaut known for falling with style: Buzz Lightyear, star of the "Toy Story" franchise.

Filmmakers, storytellers, artists and actors who helped produce the new Disney movie "Lightyear," which debuts Friday (June 15) in theaters, all feature in the new documentary "Beyond Infinity." 

The documentary is available now on Disney Plus, along with all four "Toy Story movies" and the extra shorts. "Delving into the cultural impact of the galaxy’s most famous Space Ranger and his significance to Pixar filmmakers, this doc grapples with what actually is beyond infinity," Disney Plus says in its description.

You can get a sense of the playfulness and wit that went into creating Buzz Lightyear's character in a teaser trailer of "Beyond Infinity" with the production crew, available on YouTube and embedded at the top of this article. The documentary is directed by Tony Kaplan and produced by Sureena Mann.

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"Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to Lightyear" chronicles the history and evolution of Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story to the new Lightyear. (Image credit: Disney•Pixar)

"He's the strongest, he's the fastest, he's the 'est'-est," said Pete Doctor in the documentary trailer. The screenwriter, one of the trio beyond the concept of "Toy Story" (1995), partially based Buzz Lightyear's character on himself.

Andrew Stanton, who co-wrote all four of the "Toy Story" films, laughed when recounting Lightyear's iconic line about going to infinity and beyond, a staple go-to of the franchise for nearly 30 years. "We love that it made no sense," he said of the line.

A generation ago, fans of the franchise learned that the kid featured in "Toy Story", Andy, wanted to get a Buzz Lightyear toy after seeing a movie about the character. 

The challenge everyone faced in producing "Lightyear" was not only how to make that fictional movie that Andy saw, but how to move that now-iconic character of Buzz Lightyear back in time to explore his origin story, the documentary reveals.

Buzz Lightyear will travel through time in Disney's "Lightyear." (Image credit: Disney/Pixar)

The new movie will include Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear (stepping in for Tim Allen) as well as Keke Palmer, Dale Soules and Taika Waititi as three newbie Star Command recruits. Buzz's robotic cat, Sox, is voiced by Peter Sohn. Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez and Isiah Whitlock Jr. are also starring in the film. 

For more space movies, see our full list of upcoming sci-fi movies.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace