Watch: Lightyear director Angus MacLane discusses love for the character
Lightyear director Angus MacLane has revealed he was somewhat surprised by the "emotional component" of audience affection for the character of Buzz Lightyear.
The filmmaker told Yahoo that it 'wasn't daunting' for him to take on the Toy Story universe in a big screen movie, having previously helmed short films including Small Fry and Toy Story of Terror.
He added: "I felt like I understood the parameters of the character a lot so it allowed the freedom to expand it in new and interesting ways.
"The pressure was mostly on trying to make the coolest movie I could. I wanted it to be awesome. The pressure was more about the product itself than the reverence for the source material.
"As we've discovered in promoting this film, our opinion about Buzz is really based on us working on the films and it's incredible to understand the impact this character has. I felt like I understood it, but I really did not.
"It has an emotional component and a reverence for this character that I'm glad I didn't fully understand when we were making the movie."
Read more: Why isn't Tim Allen in Lightyear?
Lightyear is framed as being Andy from Toy Story's favourite movie and follows Buzz (Chris Evans) as he attempts to correct a mistake he made, stranding himself and a crew of astronauts on a hostile planet.
He teams up with Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer) — granddaughter of Buzz's best bud Alisha (Uzo Aduba) — and a ragtag team, hoping to fend off a robot invasion led by Emperor Zurg (James Brolin).
Lightyear has received strong reviews from critics, with the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus referring to it as "a gorgeously animated adventure".
Having explored Buzz once, talk will inevitably turn to the prospect of a sequel — either via another Lightyear adventure or possibly a focus on another Toy Story character.
Keke Palmer, in fact, suggested to Yahoo Entertainment UK that she is "excited to see if Woody is going to have his own origin story".
MacLane, though, is keen to take a break before he even considers whether he wants to dive back into that world.
"I would be interested in doing it. It's hard for filmmakers at the end of a film. Having worked on it for five and a half years, we're mostly excited about some time off," he said.
MacLane added: "This was always meant to be a free-standing adventure that was open-ended both before and after the story. So I think it wouldn't be bizarre and it's certainly possible but, at this time, there's no plans for it."
Lightyear has a glittering cast of famous faces in its roster of voices, with Evans and Palmer joined by Taika Waititi, Bill Hader, Peter Sohn, James Brolin and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
There's also a cameo appearance for real-life British astronaut Tim Peake as the voice of "Tim from Mission Control".
Lightyear is released in UK cinemas from 17 June.
Watch: Trailer for Lightyear