What We Know: Cars 3

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By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

Life is a highway, and that highway is taking us back to Radiator Springs with Lightning McQueen and company this June for Cars 3 from Disney and Pixar! To find out everything we know so far about the film racing into theaters this summer, keep reading!

In March 2014, pre-production for another Cars franchise film was announced by the studios and production officially began that summer. October 2015 revealed a release date for the third movie surrounding the adventures of Lightning McQueen and approximately a year later a short teaser (and some posters) were put out. The initial teaser dropped as a preview before the feature film Moana showcased only a terrible crash. Scary as it was, 2017 brought voice casting news and another trailer showing the surprisingly realistic and terrifying crash, which had children (and some adults) on the edge of their seats waiting for more. A new trailer came out this April, which eased the fears of audiences, giving us a taste of what to expect from Cars 3 this summer.


After Cars 2 took the route of the international spy (which wasn’t entirely popular with audiences), story creators Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell, and Jonathan E. Stewart wanted to take Cars 3 back to the franchise’s original roots tonally. While the visual effects continue to develop, with some incredibly realistic backgrounds to the animated vehicles (really making them pop), the story is a classic tale of the underdog. The G-rated film (screenplay by Robert L. Baird, Dan Gerson, Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, and Mike Rich) brings us back to the racing world, which has already begun to move on from the days of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) with the advent of new technology. McQueen loses several races to newer and more technologically-advanced Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). After a terrible crash, McQueen has to decide if he is ready to retire or hold onto his career. In his struggle, he seeks help from race technician Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) and other friends to train and prep for a possible comeback in the Florida 500. Does McQueen still have a place in racing, or is it time to pass the torch to a younger generation?

With Lightning McQueen trying to discover the kind of legacy he will leave in the world of racing, how did the story development come about? Writer Bob Peterson stated, “We talked a lot about aging athletes… Do they crumble or do they learn to play as an older, wiser [player]? And so we talked a lot about that, and how that might extend into a universal truth outside of athletics, outside of cars or toys or whatever, the idea of persevering when you feel obsolete.” With that, we can’t help but remember the original Cars movie, with Doc Hudson, the legendary racer and mentor to Lightning McQueen, who ended his career after a terrible crash. It looks like Cars 3 is going back to the beginning in more ways than one!

Despite the passing of Paul Newman, Doc Hudson will still have a part in Cars 3, leaving his own personal legacy on the franchise. Hudson will appear in flashbacks utilizing unused audio from previous sessions with Newman. Hudson is not the only character to be returning for the third film. Larry the Cable Guy will return to voice Mater, the tow truck, along with Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera, McQueen’s girlfriend from Radiator Springs. Additionally, characters like low-rider Ramone (Cheech Marin), Flo (Jenifer Lewis), Mack (John Ratzenberger), hippie Fillmore (Lloyd Sherr), Luigi (Tony Shalhoub), pit crew guru Guido (Guido Quaroni), Sheriff (Michael Wallis), Sarge (Paul Dooley), old bumper sticker queen Lizzie (Katherine Helmond), and former McQueen rival Chick Hicks (Bob Peterson) will make their way back to the screen.

Other new supporting voices come from Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion, Lea DeLaria, Lewis Hamilton, Bob Costas, Ray and Tom Magliozzi, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Junior Johnson, and Margo Martindale. Additionally, there will be plenty of voice cameos by drivers and racing-related personalities! Director Fee will head faces both new and old. A storyboard artist for Cars 1 & 2, Fee will be making his directorial debut with the Disney/Pixar film produced by Kevin Reher.

If the children in your household have only seen the terrible crash of Lightning McQueen, make sure to take all the kids to the theater on June 16, 2017 to see that McQueen will be alright in Cars 3. In the immortal words of Tow Mater, you’ll have “more fun than a tornado in a trailer park!”


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