“Lightyear” director Angus MacLane: I really do not recommend it

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This weekend, Pixar’s latest film, and their first return to theaters since 2020, ‘Lightyear’ is a spin-off from the hugely popular ‘Toy Story’. And this is far from the first time Pixar has worked with indirect sequels and spin-offs.

Films like ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Planes’ have developed their own narrative universes by showing new corners of the world or shifting supporting characters to heroic positions.

The pattern of seeing Pixar’s future tied to its groundbreaking past is starting to emerge as a strong possibility. But, according to ‘Lightyear’ director and screenwriter Angus MacLane, it may not be that this is a good idea.


Despite his experience working on ‘Lightyear’ and ‘Finding Nemo,’ MacLane doesn’t see spin-offs as the future of the studio, nor would he recommend them to up-and-coming directors.

“I really don’t recommend it,” MacLane said in an interview with GameSpot, “It’s just too hard.”

‘Lightyear’ producer Galyn Susman interjected to emphasize that it’s only a good idea if the conditions are right.

“If you have a strong passion for that role, I would only get involved if that’s the case, because it’s really very challenging.”

MacLane continues, “As a filmmaker, you have to think about what problems you want to solve. When we took on the project, we had the problem of having to change a supporting character into the main character, which was a very difficult thing to do. Working on ‘Finding Nemo’ was very difficult. But because Buzz’s backstory was what I wanted to tell, and because I wanted to do a simple sci-fi action adventure, you know, like a geek


Challenges are not always narrative in nature; sometimes they boil down to audience expectations.

MacLane explains, “I think it’s interesting to hear people ask, ‘How does this compare to ‘Toy Story’? It’s interesting to ask questions like that. Because when you watch the film, you realize it exists on its own and you definitely don’t make comparisons after you’ve seen the film. But until then, there’s so much room for comparison.” According to MacLane, that’s what you have to expect when you make a movie like this: “I get it, really. I think it would have been harder if ‘Toy Story’ Buzz had gone into this movie, you know? And then you’d be like ‘Where’s Woody? Because that’s what made that character successful. I can imagine a different version of this movie, it’s probably closer to the ‘Lightyear’ animated episodes, which is a bit of a half-joke, but I think it works better in a shorter format. For a feature, you live in the emotions of those characters.”


Of course, it’s impossible to say that a spin-off of Pixar IP will never happen again – while there aren’t any announced upcoming movies with 26 feature films under their belt, Pixar certainly has some IP among these that are suitable for mining.

To MacLane, it all has to come down to choosing the right program for the right reasons.

‘Lightyear’ is currently playing in Northern America theaters.

Related Post: “Lightyear”: Fly to the Universe, a viewing guide before boarding the ship!

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