How ‘Lightyear’ Cut and Then Restored Pixar’s First Same-Sex Kiss

Pixar fans are in for an unexpected return to the world of Toy Story. 2010’s Toy Story 3 seemed to bring a definitive end to the franchise. But 2019’s Toy Story 4 and now 2022’s Lightyear confirm that the franchise may never completely disappear. However, the latest Toy Story spinoff isn’t courting controversy for more than its recasting of beloved spaceman Buzz Lightyear. Instead, a Lightyear kiss scene left Disney with a decision to make.

Some Pixar fans are confused over what ‘Lightyear’ is about

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Tim Allen originated the character of Buzz in 1995’s Toy Story and reprised it for every movie after that. Even though Lightyear isn’t the first movie in which Allen didn’t voice the character, it’s certainly the most high-profile instance. This time around, Chris Evans steps into Lightyear’s spacesuit, reimagining the character not as a confused toy but as a legitimate space adventurer.

The idea behind Lightyear is that this is the film Andy went to see as a kid. That’s why he’s so excited about the prospect of receiving a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday in the first Toy Story. Still, Allen’s absence has set off a certain segment of fans, many of whom are convinced the casting change has more to do with the actor’s conservative political views.

Disney nearly cut a same-sex kiss out of ‘Lightyear’

Lightyear is also getting some heat for a same-sex kiss that appears in the movie. The moment comes during a montage in which Buzz’s best friend, Space Ranger Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), briefly greets her wife with a kiss on the lips. It’s the first same-sex kiss to ever appear in a Pixar movie. And as Vanity Fair points out, it almost didn’t happen. 

During post-production, the kiss was cut from Lightyear but ultimately restored. LGBTQ employees at Pixar wrote an open letter revealing their disappointment over how Disney executives continually censor “overtly gay affection.” In many instances, the studio has paid lip service to the community with little to no on-screen LGBTQ representation. Lightyear is the first step toward actually changing that.

The ‘Lightyear’ cast recognizes why the kiss is so important

Now that Lightyear is keeping the kiss intact, Aduba has voiced her support for the decision to keep Alisha’s tender moment in the film.

“It’s incredible, and a real hats off to Disney and Pixar for having that kiss be a part of this story,” Aduba told Vanity Fair. “The kiss is a greeting and a gesture of love that is tender. It does establish who they are as people, but it is not the singular identifier for who either of them are. Seeing a loving gay couple in a meaningful way is important for everybody.”

And Evans himself commented about the inclusion of the kiss, especially in light of the controversy surrounding its role in Lightyear.

“It’s great that it’s back in the film,” Evans said. “I think it’s a shame that it’s such a story. It should be more normalized, but I’m glad we are making those steps.”

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