Patricia Heaton is taking heat after complaining that Tim Allen does not reprise his "Toy Story" voice role as the titular hero of the animated "Lightyear," opening Friday, and for doubling down even after realizing it is not technically the same character.
"Saw the trailer for Buzz Lightyear and all I can say is Disney/Pixar made a HUGE mistake in not casting my pal @ofctimallen Tim Allen in the role that he originated, the role that he owns," tweeted "Everybody Loves Raymond" Emmy Award-winner Heaton, 64, Tuesday. "Tim IS Buzz! Why would they completely castrate this iconic, beloved character?"
Marvel Cinematic Universe star Chris Evans voices Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear in the new Pixar movie, the premise of which is that it is the original 1990s science-fiction film that inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy owned by Andy in the "Toy Story" franchise. Many noted this in their responses to Heaton: "Why is this concept so hard for some of you," tweeted one person. "Tim voiced the toy … This movie is about the character the toy is based on, therefore not the same character." As several others pointed out, "I don't recall you complaining when Patrick Warburton voiced Buzz in the cartoon," referring to the 2000-01 animated TV series "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command."
About 3½ hours after her first tweet, Heaton returned to say, "Ok so the current Buzz Lightyear movie is an origin story — but the reason the character became so beloved is because of what @ofctimallen created. Why remove the one element that makes us want to see it? #stupidHollywooddecisions."
Supportive commenters ascribed political motivations to the conservative Heaton's comments, though Heaton had expressed none. "Disney makes ALL decisions with political implications in mind. Tim Allen is conservative so no longer suitable for hire in a Disney production,” reads one such comment. Many commenters noted in response that Allen is the star and an executive producer of an upcoming Disney+ sequel series to his "The Santa Clause" film franchise.
"Lightyear” director Angus MacLane explained to Vanity Fair magazine, "In this film, Buzz is the action hero. He's serious and ambitious and funny, but not in a goofy way that would undercut the drama," adding, "Chris Evans has the gravitas and that movie-star quality that our character needed to separate him and the movie from Tim's version of the toy in 'Toy Story.' "
Evans several times has acknowledged Allen's iconic take on the role, telling "Good Morning America" Thursday, "I certainly studied what he did in those movies … I mean, look, Tim Allen, he's Buzz Lightyear. What he did in those movies is so iconic and so loved and I'd be a fool to not incorporate some of his choices in this role."
Allen has not commented publicly on Heaton's tweets.