Cars 2 is going to be a big moment for Pixar. It's not the studio's first or even second sequel, and it's coming right on the heels of the well-loved threequel Toy Story 3, but it is a follow-up to the one Pixar film critics didn't exactly adore, and already some people seem to be anticipating the fall from grace Pixar might finally experience when Cars 2 opens on June 24. Want another reason to be worried? They've inserted a cameo for director John Lasseter in the film… inspired by George Lucas's appearance in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Yes, that's really the explanation given by producer Denise Ream about the new character John Lassetire, a yellow pick-up truck whom Lasseter will voice. Pixar directors have a long tradition of popping up in their own movies-- Brad Bird was the voice of Edna Mode in The Incredibles, and Andrew Stanton voiced the surfer dude turtle Crush in Finding Nemo-- but none of the characters have had names that were deliberate homages to the directors themselves. Is this yet another bad sign that Cars 2 could mark the moment that Pixar buys into its own hype and turns in a less-than-great movie? Or is it just a silly joke and I should lighten up? As for the Lucas connection, the AP writes that Ream got the idea from, yes, Revenge of the Sith, though it's unclear why she'd ever want to compare her movie to that mess. Yes it was the least messy of the prequels, but still a mess.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm dying for Cars 2 to be good, and Pixar has more than earned automatic goodwill from me. But when the studio itself starts making the George Lucas comparisons, are we not entitled to being a little concerned? Let me know if you share my worries in the comments.

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