Lightyear’s Plot Holes & Unanswered Questions, Explained


The following contains spoilers for Lightyear, now playing in theaters.

In Pixar’s Lightyear, Buzz found himself on a treacherous mission with the odds stacked against him. The Space Ranger tried to unlock hyper-speed using a new fuel in the hopes of getting a colony he marooned on an alien planet back home. However, as Buzz made various jumps, he messed with the fabric of space and time. Throw in the evil Zurg that appeared due to these temporal trips and a ragtag group of soldiers who complicated Buzz’s mission, and the story produced quite a few plot holes and unanswered questions.


What Happened to Alisha’s Family in Lightyear?

Each time Buzz returned, while the trips lasted minutes, he lost years on the colony due to space-time dilation. He lost his best friend and fellow Space Ranger, Alisha, but eventually met her granddaughter, Izzy. Oddly enough, when they save their colony from Zurg, nothing’s mentioned about Izzy’s parents or the rest of her family. The movie also ignored Alisha’s wife, Keiko, barely discussing her death.

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Why Didn’t Lightyear’s Star Command Raise the Alarm?

When Alisha died, her replacement, Burnside, made it clear Buzz’s time-hopping was over because they were settling on the planet for good. However, Buzz stole Sox, the robotic cat, and ran off. It was clear he’d go to the ship to make another time trip, yet Star Command didn’t notify the military to keep watch and anticipate him. In reality, they should have locked down the one place he’d go — the launchpad.

Why Did Steel Steal a Ship in Lightyear?

Steel’s an old vet that was part of Buzz and Izzy’s crew to battle Zurg. She was good with explosives, which explained why she was a convict. However, it got revealed she served jail time for stealing a ship. One has to wonder why she’d need to steal a ship on the colony and, if she had criminal proclivities prior, what she was doing that got Buzz marooned on the planet. In any case, her backstory was an intriguing one left incomplete.

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What Happened to Zurg’s Timeline in Lightyear?

Zurg was a version of Buzz that came from the future with a time machine to take the colony back. Buzz fought him as this would have erased Alisha’s family and others born on the planet. However, it’s never explained whose tech Zurg hijacked from the future and what happened to that timeline. The film is loose with time travel akin to Avengers: Endgameso it’s uncertain if that second reality got erased or if the folks that got their tech stolen may try to follow Zurg back to Buzz’s reality.


Why Didn’t Toy Story Have Buzz’s Friends?

Lightyear is the movie Andy saw as a kid, setting up his affinity for Buzz in 1995’s Toy Story. However, it’s a weird retcon because the iconic Space Rangers like Alisha, Izzy and the other new-generation soldiers didn’t appear in the lore. Given Toy Story loves animals, Sox should have at least been part of Andy’s treasure chest of goodies after director Angus MacLane admitted Andy saw it in the ’80s and got the toys in the ’90s after falling in love with the movie.

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How Did the Rookie Escape the Vines in Lightyear?

​​​​​​When Buzz’s crew first touched down, he, Alisha and a rookie, Featheringhamstan, investigated the planet. However, they were attacked by vines, with the rookie getting pulled underground. But it’s never explained how he returned to the surface for Buzz to rescue. It was all plot convenience to make Buzz look like a stud, especially as the rookie was incompetent. Funnily enough, Featheringhamstan got forgotten afterward, as he never came up over the next 62 years.

Why Didn’t Lightyear’s Buzz Have His Jet-Wings?

Buzz only got his iconic wings when he stole a vessel from Zurg’s mother ship. He used it to try and save Izzy and Co. from a pursuing Zurg, but it’s never explained why he didn’t have them before on his ship. Alisha didn’t have any, either, and given how popular and iconic this is with a Space Ranger, it felt like an odd thing to chuck in at the end as a Hail Mary.

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Who Was the Beacon At Lightyear’s End?

After defeating Zurg, Buzz formed a new corps to patrol the universe. This division immediately got a job, with Burnside sending them out to investigate a beacon. However, it’s unclear whether the being on the other end is friend or foe. Either way, it’s supposed to set a sequel up, giving Team Lightyear a shady first mission.


Did Zurg Make It Out Alive in Lightyear?

​​​​​​Buzz used his fuel cell to blow Zurg up and save his comrades, but the post-credits showed Zurg’s giant robotic suit powering back up as it drifted in outer space. One has to wonder if this sent the beacon out or if Old Man Buzz is alive and still bitter. The suit might even have an AI as backup or another presence from its divergent timeline. The latter could align it more to the story Andy and Buzz told in the ’90s, with Zurg not being connected as Buzz’s copy.

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Why Did Zurg Run Away From Burnside in Lightyear?

When Buzz 2.0 returned home after his hyper-speed run, Burnside and Co. tried to court-martial him. That caused him to speed to the future and become Zurg. However, if he stayed, even if he got arrested, he’d have had the crystal fuel his Sox came up with. That’d have allowed Burnside the option of taking the colony back to Earth. Thus, Buzz would have completed his mission. As for jumping to the future, it never gets revealed if Buzz hoped Burnside would be dead there, allowing him to get welcomed back. That wouldn’t add up, though, because Buzz would still be a fugitive, so the fleeing was just for drama’s sake and to have Zurg be born.


To see these plot holes and mysteries unfold, Lightyear is now playing in theaters.

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