Early in the first Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear believes he truly is a Space Ranger. His struggle to accept that he is not actually Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger is a key part of the first movie in the series.

So why does he act like a toy when people are around? Wouldn't he try to interact with them as a Space Ranger would?


2 Answers 2


I believe it's a built-in sub-conscious instinct that, with enough force of will or self-sentience, can be over-ridden. The toys attacking Sid being a good example of gaining the force of will to ignore this instinct.

  • Woody said to them "Break the rules", so it seems toys have those rules inside by default. Feb 21, 2016 at 2:13

As seems to be the case in all of the movies, the toys don't seem to gain sentience unless they are not being looked at or being played with by a human child. You see this with the other Buzz Lightyear toys they all believe they are Buzz. You also see this shortly after Buzz in introduced when Andy is flying him around the room you see Woody turn his head to the pair only once Andy's back is turned.

If you couldn't tell I'm invoking the rules set forth in the movie Mannequin

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    However, the toys are able to 'be sentient' when they get revenge on Sid in his back yard. Jun 25, 2012 at 19:18
  • A very weeping angels idea - I'm not convinced it's right but it's certainly a nice thought!
    – Liath
    Aug 30, 2013 at 9:06

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