Pixar head John Lasseter has said that Cars 3 will be going back to the emotional spirit of Cars and see Lightning address the “memory of Doc Hudson”. In the face of the teaser and this poster, it now seems that journey will be sparked by a crash putting McQueen out to pasture, just like what happened to Paul Newman’s Hudson Hornet in the history of the first movie.
The sudden tonal shift took many by surprise when the Cars 3 teaser was unveiled, but it makes a lot of sense – considering where how far along the franchise is. The audience who were young kids when the first Cars came out are now in their late teens, so a similar mature, recollective angle to Toy Story 3 is a smart move to keep them engaged. It’s just a shame the series couldn’t quite hit that note from the start.
It’s also promising for Pixar. The company seemed to hit a bit of a snag in the early 2010s, with Cars 2 (which remains their worst reviewed film) and the moderately regarded Brave and Monsters University ending their near-perfect run – but on the back of the glorious Inside Out and the successful (if a tad repetitive) Finding Dory (there was also The Good Dinosaur, but that film didn’t leave a strong impression either way), they’re back on form – and far from a pit stop, Cars 3 could actually see them accelerate.