Lightyear Accidentally Creates A Major Toy Story Universe Plot Hole

It's time for more "Toy Story" cinematic universe fun facts and ponderings. This time around, we're discussing yet another glaring plot hole and timeline issue created by the somewhat puzzling, maybe-a-bit-exhausting existence of the movie "Lightyear." By now, most of us know that "Lightyear" is supposed to be Andy's favorite movie, and it's one where Andy's love for Buzz Lightyear came from. We also know that it is supposed to be the origin story for the Buzz Lightyear character, effectively canceling out any other Buzz Lightyear-centric property that Disney and Pixar may or may not want to acknowledge anymore for whatever reason. Another thing we know is that, in the "Toy Story" universe, "Lightyear" is apparently a big deal not just to Andy, but to that universe's version of pop culture and consumerism. Considering the fact that Buzz Lightyear toys were so popular, that's where a potential plothole comes into play. If "Lightyear" is such a popular movie in Andy's world, why weren't any Sox toys produced along with all the Buzz Lightyear action figures?

Everybody loves cute creatures

Without diving too deep into the "Lightyear"-sized rabbit hole the film has created in terms of "Toy Story" canon, it stands to reason that if "Lightyear" is what got Andy and so many other fictional "Toy Story" children into neurotic space dolls, then toys of other "Lightyear" characters would have surely been produced in that universe. Sox in particular would have surely been the perfect holiday gift and companion toy for the Buzz Lightyear dolls. I mean, come on, he's an adorable robot cat. 

Whatever your feelings about "Lightyear," the "Toy Story" franchise, or Disney as a whole, I think we can all agree that Sox has an undeniably cute character design that readily lends itself to mass toy and merch production. Just look at how Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) became such a hit for both "Mandalorian" fans and people who didn't even watch the show but couldn't resist the tiny green dude's charm.

In "Lightyear," Sox serves as Buzz's kitty companion, which makes him a pretty important character. Wouldn't Andy have wanted a Sox toy to accompany his Buzz doll? In terms of continuity and neatly fitting "Lightyear" into the fictional reality of the "Toy Story" universe, it just doesn't make sense. If "Lightyear" is such a hit in that world (while it remains lukewarm in this one), why would only Buzz and Zurg toys be produced? Zurg isn't even cute. And for that matter, why weren't toys of any other "Lightyear" characters produced in-universe? What in-universe explanation could there possibly be? Did Disney and Pixar's fictional in-universe counterparts fail to see the monetary value in creating toys of the entire space crew? 

Flimsy excuses?

We could argue that toys for all the other characters existed, and we just never saw them or heard about them throughout the course of four "Toy Story" movies spread out over multiple decades. But that'd be a pretty stupid argument, wouldn't it? For what it's worth, "Lightyear" director Angus MacLane offered his own explanation for the glaring absence of Sox toys in the "Toy Story" universe during a press conference, saying, "Andy's mom couldn't get it, it was sold out everywhere." MacLane went on to reason that even if she could get her hands on one, it would be pretty pricey anyway. "That's an expensive toy, it would've been like Worlds of Wonder or Tiger Electronics, it would've been a kind of fancy $70 toy," the filmmaker said.

Okay, sure. Even if we accept that there were no Sox toys available for purchase in the "Toy Story" universe as an explanation why we never see him, why wouldn't we at least hear Buzz refer to him or any of the other characters introduced in "Lightyear" when he was in denial about being a toy in the first "Toy Story" movie? It just doesn't add up, due to the inherent messiness of shoehorning new stories into old ones in an attempt to milk an aging cash cow further expand a universe that was arguably already stretched to its limits long before the latest spin-off. 

Does it really matter?

In reality, all of the new characters introduced in "Lightyear" didn't even exist when the first "Toy Story" movie came out. In fact, Disney wasn't even banking on "Toy Story" being more than a modest blip in the timeline of their massive media empire, to such a degree that they lost out on millions in toy sales because of it. Of course, none of that really makes up for the glaring plot hole that the absence of toy counterparts for the majority of the "Lightyear” characters creates. Maybe someone with the power to address it will decide to retroactively correct the error by modifying the "Toy Story" movies to include shots of toy store shelves lined with Sox plushies and Izzy dolls alongside all the Buzz figures. They could even release a "Toy Story" short that somehow makes it all make sense. Or maybe it's really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, with "things" referring to "focusing on making lots of money with little regard for fine-tuning the storytelling."

To be clear, the point here is not that this automatically makes "Lightyear" a bad film. Plenty of good films and movie franchises have some minor (and major) plot holes and continuity errors that are more or less forgivable depending on the severity. Ultimately, making note of the plot holes created by "Lightyear" just comes down to pointing out one of the primary issues with trying to wring every last cent and bit of residual clout out of a franchise that was once groundbreaking in its use of computer animation, coupled with charming storytelling, and inevitably diluting the heart and soul of the original with each new spinoff and iteration that comes along. Disney could do more to support completely new stories rather than dragging the decaying corpse of a nearly 30-year old title around in hopes that nostalgia and familiarity are enough to make us hand over our coins and ignore the fact that the "Toy Story" franchise has become a bloated mess.