When Cars 2 hit theaters in 2011, many were surprised by the movie’s decision to move away from telling the story of a race car, Lightning McQueen, who learns a lesson in humility and respect, to instead surround that same protagonist with non-stop action in a bombastic tale of international espionage. The Cars franchise has always been considered to be one of the weaker ones to come from the animation powerhouse, but Cars 2 was perhaps Pixar’s most critically panned project ever, and while it did gross more than the original at the worldwide box office (mostly due to increased international appeal), it looks like the studio won’t be repeating their past mistakes for Cars 3.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter, who helmed both previous Cars installments and is executive producing Cars 3, offered up a few details about the movie. He said, “Lightning McQueen, he’s awesome. We’ve got some great new characters, some great racing in it. It’s a very emotional story. It’s a little bit more akin to Cars 1, where you get into a deep emotion with him. It’s really a special story. It’s very emotional and his relationship with Doc Hudson, and his memory of Doc Hudson.”
Doc Hudson was played by Paul Newman in 2006’s Cars and ended up being the legendary actor’s last major role. Additionally, Hudson becomes a mentor and great influence to McQueen in the movie, teaching him to stay grounded despite his fame and success.
While the film’s cast hasn’t been officially confirmed by Disney, Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt and Cheech Marin are all expected to reprise their roles from Cars and Cars 2 as McQueen, Mater, Sally and Ramone, respectively. All of Pixar’s animated features seem to attract star-studded ensembles, so more big names will most likely come on board the film relatively soon, especially since the release date in only about a year away.
Brian Fee will direct Cars 3, which is slated for release on June 16th, 2017.