Way back in March 2014, Disney Pixar announced that two long-awaited sequels were finally moving forward, Cars 3 (June 16, 2017) and The Incredibles 2 (June 21, 2019). Last August, we saw the first poster for Cars 3, but we haven't seen or heard much from this animated sequel since then. While we still don't know when the first trailer may debut, new concept artwork has arrived offering our first look at the iconic Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and a brand new character named Cruz Ramirez.
USA Today has the first look at this artwork, along with details about the story from director Brian Fee. Cruz Ramirez will serve as Lightning McQueen's new trainer, as he tries to stay competitive with up and coming racers like Jackson Storm, who is said to have "trounced" McQueen in a race. Here's what director Brian Fee had to say about this new character Cruz Ramirez.
"Cruz Ramirez is trying to figure out how this old dog can learn some new tricks. 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."
While Owen Wilson is coming back to voice Lightning McQueen, the actors who will voice Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm have not yet been announced. The sequel is deep into production but there are still some story points being worked out, as animation is currently under way on key scenes. Here's what Brian Fee had to say about this new upstart Jackson Storm
"Jackson Storm is the face of these rookies who have come onto the scene. And 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. Everyone can relate to feeling like someone is at their heels, that they might be a little outdated in something they used to be very good at, feeling an expiration date.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."
This report reveals that Ramirez is trying to get McQueen to adapt to this new high-tech style of racing, as they prepare for the Florida 500, which is the equivalent of the iconic NASCAR race the Daytona 500. Brian Fee will be making his directorial debut with Cars 3, but he is no stranger to this universe, serving as a storyboard animator for both Cars and Cars 2 under director John Lasseter. Here's what John Lasseter had to say about the Cars 3 director Brian Fee.
"Brian was part of the original story team on Cars, so he really knows the DNA."
Cars and Cars 2 voice actors Larry the Cable Guy (Mater), Bonnie Hunt (Sally Carrera} and Cheech Marin (Ramone) will reprise their roles in Cars 3. The story will be set in America, with the sequel featuring several historical race sites throughout the country. Take a look at these concept art photos below from Cars 3, and stay tuned for more from this Pixar sequel.