In case you'd forgotten, Disney / Pixar is, indeed, hard at work on bringing the movie-going public the sequel they've been clamoring for: Cars 3. With next June set as the return of Lightning McQueen, the second sequel sounds like it's going to be so challenging that the former champion is going to need some help from a young upstart who knows how modern racing works. Enter Cruz Ramirez, the female rookie that's going to help McQueen get his ka-chow back!
The new character was revealed during a recent piece in USA Today, as they were covering the first details we've heard about Cars 3's storyline. Apparently, a rookie's upset victory causes Lightning McQueen to go back to the drawing board, in order to become a victor yet again. Director Brian Fee revealed the existence of McQueen's new trainer, with the following thematic intent expressed as her reason for existing:
Cruz Ramirez is trying to figure out how this old dog can learn some new tricks.
Cruz Ramirez isn't the only newcomer that'll force Lightning McQueen to step up his game, as Cars 3's protagonist is a rookie by the name of Jackson Storm. Storm is the car that ends up serving the life changing defeat that the "deep in production" Pixar follow-up will revolve around. Interestingly enough, the more we learn about Cars 3, the more it sounds like it owes a lot of its story to the original Cars. The big difference being that this time Lightning McQueen is inhabiting the role of seasoned veteran that Doc Hudson portrayed in the original. Though instead of McQueen teaching the next generation some sort of sage lesson of life, it's the young bloods that are schooling the old folk.
Unfortunately, no casting has been announced for either Cruz Ramirez or Jackson Storm, but if Cars 3 follows the usual casting model that Pixar films perpetuate, expect two brand name stars to snag these roles in the coming months. If we were to venture a guess as to who could land the roles of Cruz or Jackson, we'd say that Cruz could go to experienced voice actress and Superstore star America Ferrara, who we last heard in Dreamworks' How To Train Your Dragon 2, as well as its various television tie-ins. Jackson, on the other hand, could go to someone like Suicide Squad's Scott Eastwood, as he can not only play an intimidating figure, but his family name could lend a little more gravitas to the latest effort from the studio that will bring us Finding Dory next month. But don't take our word for it, as again, no official word has been given as to who will eventually fill those roles.
After the critical disaster that was Cars 2, some could say that Pixar is going to need to make the third film in the series enough of an event to draw the crowds who have seen six years pass between films. However, if merchandise and Blu-ray sales have proven anything, it's that there's more than likely enough of a built-in audience to make Cars 3 a moderate to very successful entry in the chronicles of Lightning McQueen's life. We'll see what happens when Cars 3 grabs the checkered flag on June 16th, 2017.