Even though Marvel Studios is more than a year into its Phase 4 story, Steve Rogers' Captain America still looms large over the MCU. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Rogers: The Musical, Spider-Man: No Way Home's Statue of Liberty, and Ms. Marvel's AvengerCon have continued to show the public's interest and questions about Cap. And, within this reality, MCU fans largely feel the way about Chris Evans.
By the end of Avengers: Endgame, Cap has returned the Infinity Stones, reunited with Peggy Carter, and passed the shield onto Sam Wilson's Falcon. And, while it was a fitting end for Evans and Rogers' MCU story, these events raised new questions about the logistics of this time-traveling adventure; and in recent years, there have been rumors about Evans' return.
While those hopes and rumors remain unrealized, Chris Evans' Marvel retirement has led to a number of new roles for the action star, but his latest happens to be another hero with a few similarities to Marvel Studios' first Avenger.
Chris Evans Comments on Lightyear's Captain America Parallels
In talking with The Hollywood Reporter about providing the voice for Pixar's newest film, Lightyear, Chris Evans discussed his experience voicing the animated hero after having retired from Captain America and the similarities between the two, saying that "the characters themselves have a lot of similar overlap:"
“The characters themselves have a lot of similar overlap in terms of their sense of responsibility and leadership. But they’re very different men, so you take the things that are useful and you leave the things that make Cap, Cap.”
In Lightyear, Evans' Buzz is a hero and leader who embarks on a dangerous mission involving a team. Sound familiar?
But despite these similarities, as Evans said, "they're two different men," and that also applies to his Buzz and Tim Allen's take on Buzz Lightyear as well.
While it's true that Buzz Lightyear is an iconic character from the Toy Story franchise, Chris Evans' Lightyear is intended to be a different character than the one voiced by Tim Allen. In fact, Pixar's Lightyear is the film that Andy saw and which inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy. Therefore, the person and the toy are two completely different versions.
But even so, and just like Steve Rogers, Tim Allen's version of the space ranger had some impact on Evans' performance.
When Variety asked how the actor developed the voice for the character, considering Lightyear couldn't be Cap or Tim Allen, Evans admitted that "it's tough" but he did find his "own interpretation while still using Tim Allen as the blueprint:"
"It's tough, you know, the first time you have to do that iconic line 'to infinity and beyond,' you kind of just do a shameless Tim Allen impression because it's intimidating. But Angus [MacLane} and everyone at Pixar was so collaborative, and you kind of let them guide you and eventually you feel comfortable enough to try and make your own tracks in the snow and find your own interpretation while still using Tim Allen as the blueprint."
From Super-Soldier to Space Ranger
Considering how many years Chris Evans played Captain America in the MCU, taking on a new hero with similar vibes was no doubt a challenge for the actor; and given his star status, it probably won't be his last.
Still, it's fascinating to hear how aware he was of Tim Allen's voice performance and then using that while also making the character his own. That's actually what Falcon's Anthony Mackie had to do in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ and in more ways than one. Not only was he creating his own interpretation of Captain America, but he also had an awareness of Chris Evans' version that came before.
And, once Captain America 4 gets underway, that challenge is likely something that Mackie will have to revisit again.
As for Evans, it remains to be seen if his retirement is actually permanent, especially since he is still working for Disney in providing the voice for Lightyear. But in the meantime, his influence on the MCU remains; as the franchise continues to gain new heroes, they too are sure to look to his "blueprint" in forging their paths and characters.
Lightyear debuts in theaters on June 17.