EXCLUSIVE: ‘Lightyear’ Director Explains How Han Solo Inspired Film

Lightyear is set to be Pixar’s first science-fiction action film, and it’s director pulled out all the stops when looking for inspiration. Angus MacLane is a self-proclaimed nerd, who can reference almost any sci-fi movie or anime an interviewer might throw at him. The former Finding Dory filmmaker has name dropped countless projects as research material in the past, but chief among them has always been Star Wars.

In multiple interviews, MacLane described Lightyear as the galaxy far, far away within the Toy Story universe. Sitting down for an exclusive chat with Murphy’s Multiverse, the director was asked if Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo served as a specific inspiration for Chris Evans‘ Buzz Lightyear. While it turns out this wasn’t his original idea, he did admit that it might be true in a more unintentional way:

That’s a really interesting observation. I think it was sub-conscious. Han was the character I liked the most as a kid, because of his braggadocio. I think there are some very Han-like moments in the film…there’s very much an echo of that in the first act of our film. But for me, it was important to tell a story about an adult.

Angus MacLane

He continued to elaborate, further explaining the purpose behind following an adult character:

The movies that I related to as a kid, the character I wanted to hang out with was the adult. It was aspirational in that way, instead of the kid. Luke I didn’t relate to, I wanted to be Han Solo. In Aliens, I wasn’t following the kid, I was following Ripley. You know what I mean? There’s something about that that was important to me for this film, and I think that’s what you’re picking up on. I wanted to tell a story about a character who had a lot of arrogance and was humbled by their own hubris.

Angus MacLane

MacLane might be onto something, as characters like Han Solo and Ripley have grown to become some of pop culture’s most iconic protagonists. Buzz Lightyear is already pretty well-liked in his own regard, and hopefully the director’s new take only serves to make him more popular when Lightyear flies into theaters on June 17th.

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