‘CARS 3’ character videos & specs get our motors revving

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REAR VIEW — The legendary #95 may be leading the pack, but the high-tech Next Gen racers are closing in fast. Directed by Brian Fee and produced by Kevin Reher, “Cars 3” cruises into theaters on June 16, 2017. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

Remember that gritty, photo-real teaser for CARS 3 you saw a few weeks ago? No? Here it is again.

It appears that our beloved hero, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), has crashed a burned. A fitting metaphor for the blazing critical scorn CARS/ CARS2 director John Lasseter took after the sequel was released, no? I will never be able to “unsee” the above teaser as such.

Anyways. Thanks to Entertainment Weekly‘s interview with CARS 3 director Brian Fee (who served as a storyboard artist on the first two CARS films), we’re learning more about the new characters in the third chapter in Lightning’s life.

“McQueen is not the young hotshot anymore, the kid he was back then in Cars 1. He’s in the middle of his life, and as an athlete, that’s getting up there. You have your whole life ahead of you, yet your career is starting to show its age. He’s looking in the mirror and realizing, ‘I’m 40 years old,’ and dealing with the fact that the thing that you love more than anything else, you might not be able to do forever.”

Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) in CARS 3. ©2016 DisneyïPixar. All Rights Reserved.

The newest member to the Rusteze Racing Center team is Cruz Ramirez. Voiced by Cristela Alonzo (CRISTELA, THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE), Cruz is younger, longtime fan Lightning’s and will help him get back in the game, we suspect, following the events of the race featured in the teaser above. Said Fee,

“She’s the most optimistic person in the world and wants to do anything to help,”

Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo) in CARS 3. ©2016 DisneyïPixar. All Rights Reserved.

And finally there’s villain Jackson Storm. Voiced by Armie Hammer, Jackson is a younger, cooler speedster – far more cocky and technologically enhanced than Lightning. He represents extreme millennial entitlement. Director Fee said,

“Jackson was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Everything comes easy to him, and everything about him says he’s faster, so much so that we’ve designed him so that even when he’s standing next to McQueen, McQueen looks old. He thinks the world is his. He’s taking over. He’s owed it. He thinks the future of racing and the high-tech ways they train and what they can do means they’re taking the sport to a new level, and the older guys had their day, and it’s done, and they have no place in the future of racing.”

Jackson Storm (voice of Armie Hammer) in CARS 3. ©2016 DisneyïPixar. All Rights Reserved.

CARS 3 will be out June 16.

 

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Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.