It is said that before the Bodhisatta, who would become the Buddha, was reborn as a human being, he was reborn in a deva-world (heaven) called Tusita. There, out of compassion for living beings suffering without a way to bring about the end of suffering (enlightenment and nirvana), he accepted that it was time to undertake the quest to solve the problem of suffering.
The devas in those superhuman worlds encouraged him to take rebirth. The signs were present, suitable parents were available, circumstances were amenable to the struggle. It took many years to win the final goal, but legend has it that it had already taken many aeons of development.
The story of the final part of the journey, the last life, is so fantastic as to be animated on the big screen. "The Life of Buddha" was produced in celebration of the Thai King Bumibol's 80th birthday. Since Thailand is 95% Buddhist, the movie was shown at all Thai theatres. More about the movie at thelifeofbuddha.net.