To Infinity

Exclusive: How Lightyear Used Star Wars Design To Create Retro Sci-Fi For Pixar

In a fantastic behind-the-scenes clip, the origins of Buzz Lightyear’s cool new ships are revealed.

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A retro Star Wars design space battleship that Pixar has used
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The Pixar spin-off to Toy Story, the charming meta-fictional romp, Lightyear, has jumped from theaters to Disney+. And, if you’re just catching up on this latest Pixar epic, you may notice that some of the slick spaceships look both classic and familiar. Turns out, this familiarity was all on purpose.

In an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip, Lightyear director Angus MacLane reveals how a trip to the archives of Lucasfilm allowed the design of Star Wars to directly inform this new sci-fi Pixar adventure.

Essentially, back in 1976, when the model-makers from Industrial Light and Magic were creating the various starships for the first Star Wars, they added a plethora of surface details to the ships, colloquially known as “greeble.” And, a good deal of that texture was accomplished because the VFX of the 1970s relied on actual physical models. This might go without saying for those who actually remember the wonderful world of model-building, but, for our kids, this is an essential and wonderful tactile fact, which also helped to launch Lightyear.

As revealed in this clip, MacLane had John Duncan create physical models of the various spaceships before the animation process began. On top of that, the entire team visited the Lucasfilm archives to get up close and personal with many of the original models and designs from the classic Star Wars films, and behind.

Watch the clip here for more:

Is Lightyear on Disney+?

Yes! Lightyear is now available to stream on Disney+, and available for digital download on other platforms. A Blu-ray and DVD coming on September 13, which will include special features like this behind-the-scenes clip.

The Lightyear XL-15 spaceship toy

If you love Buzz’s ship, the XL-15, there’s actually a pretty sweet toy version of it available to buy right now. Check out it here.

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