We’re just over a year away from the scheduled release date of Cars 3, the newest installment in Pixar’s popular franchise about anthropomorphic vehicles. In this new sequel, champion racer Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is nearing the twilight of his career, and with a host of rookie sensations on the circuit, he begins to wonder if he still has what it takes to compete at the same level.
Speaking with USA Today, director Brian Fee spoke about some of the themes he hopes to address in Cars 3:
“Think of where he’d be in his career now in real time. [McQueen] is not an old man, but he’s one of the older cars on the circuit with new rookies coming in. People start to wonder and ask when he might retire…
Everyone can relate to feeling like someone is at their heels, that they might be a little outdated in something they used to be very good at, feeling an expiration date. And knowing you need someone to help you get a second chance.”
Apparently, the impetus for these discussions about McQueen’s longevity come after a significant loss to a cocky newcomer named Jackson Storm, whose thrashing of the veteran racer seems to echo the early days of McQueen’s own career:
“Jackson Storm is the face of these rookies who have come onto the scene, nd McQueen is in a position where his entire racing generation is being pushed out. But it’s too early to be shown the door right now.”
To get himself back in the game, McQueen recruits a new trainer in Cruz Ramirez, a sleek yellow “young Hispanic female race car” that he hopes can help him prepare for another matchup against Storm in the Florida 500 (the film’s version of the Daytona 500). While we don’t know who will be providing the voice for Ramirez – Pixar isn’t ready to make that announcement just yet – the studio did reveal a pair of concept arm images that showcase McQueen and his new training partner.
In addition to Lightning McQueen, Cars 3 will also bring back a few other residents of Radiator Springs, including Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), Sally (Bonnie Hunt) and Ramone (Cheech Marin). The film is slated to hit theaters on June 16, 2017.
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