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How Star Wars influenced new Pixar movie Lightyear

Lightyear director Angus MacLane has opened up about how his childhood love of Star Wars and science fiction influenced his new Pixar movie

Lightyear director on Star Wars influence

Star Wars has had a significant influence on the new Pixar movie Lightyear. At a press conference attended by The Digital Fix, the Pixar veteran and Lightyear director Angus MacLane waxed lyrical about the sci-fi series’s enormous influence on his life and explained how that played into his new animated movie.

“One day after eating corn with my father, I saw a movie that changed my life,” MacLane explained. “Star Wars. And after I saw Star Wars, all I wanted to play was Star Wars. All I wanted [to] draw was Star Wars. Star Wars was my religion. And it lasted for years.”

The science fiction movie about a galaxy far, far away served as a gateway drug to the wider world of speculative fiction. “Star Wars was only the beginning of a string of sci-fi classics that defined my childhood,” MacLane continued. The genre had a profound impact on McClane, who wore his nerd credentials with pride, joking that as a “weird kid”, he loved Spider-Man so much he actually wore a mask to school.

However, McClane – who’s worked at Pixar since serving as an additional animator on Bug’s Life – said only one other movie had changed his life in the same way Star Wars, Toy Story. The marriage of Toy Story and his precious memories of George Lucas’s magnum opus served as the foundation for Lightyear.

“You remember in Toy Story, Andy had a birthday party,” he explained. “His favourite gift was a character that he loved, Buzz Lightyear the Space Ranger. It was a toy that would redefine playtime for Andy, and I’ve always wondered what movie was Buzz from, you know?”

This question was the genesis of Lightyear, or as MacLane said, “Lightyear is the movie that Andy saw that changed his life. Andy’s Star Wars.”

If you love Star Wars, like McLane, check out our guide on the best Star Wars characters. The new movie Lightyear meanwhile blasts into theatres on June 17.