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The Bizarre Cars Scene Pixar Finally Had To Keep Out Of The First Movie

The world of Pixar’s Cars is a strange place. It looks mostly like ours, but it is full of sentient automobiles. This raises all sorts of questions. Why are there sidewalks? Why are there cars but no motorcycles? The team making the Cars movies, as well as the new Cars on the Road animated series on Disney+, which will debut September 8, have had to struggle with these questions since the very first film.

I recently had the chance to speak with the directors and the producer of the Cars on the Road series, who have all been working on the franchise in a variety of different capacities since the original. I asked about the times that the Cars franchise has had difficulty making cars do human things, and director Steve Purcell mentioned a sequence that was nearly in the original film that they all had serious trouble with, because cars don’t have hands. Purcell explained…  

McQueen was going to hand a map to Sally, somebody was going to hand something to another character…We spent all day in story figuring out all these different ways until we went way off the rails and all these bizarre ideas. The window rolls down and a chimp hands the map out of the window. McQueen rears up and the map is on his chest.

Needless to say, this would have drastically changed the world of Cars. Can one even imagine the idea that Lightning McQueen, Mater, and the rest, having chimp arms inside them that pop out when needed? If you thought you had questions about the Cars universe before, imagine what you'd be thinking after watching a scene like this.

Clearly, none of these ideas worked, and since the first film, Cars has simply found ways to work around what would otherwise be awkward moments. Brian Fee, who directed Cars 3 as well as three episodes of Cars on the Road, explained how they could have made that scene work, saying…

You can cut around it. You can show a close up of a map being thrown down on a table. Then cut to the reverse shot of our Cars characters looking at said map. That would work, audiences would go with that.

How the map got thrown down on a table in that scenario is still a very interesting question, but it’s certainly not one most audiences would ask on a first viewing of the film. We’re so used to seeing scenes like that in movies and we understand the language of film, even when we don’t realize that we do, that it wouldn't be until much later that you might wonder where that map came from.

In spite of the occasional weirdness of the world, or perhaps because of it, Cars has remained one of Pixar’s most successful franchises. Cars on the Road continues the story with nine animated shorts that any fan of Lightning McQueen and Mater are going to love. All episodes of Cars on the Road arrives on Disney+ Day September 8.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.