Unlike the disappointing Cars 2, the upcoming Cars 3 is a return to the familiar within this colorful corner of the Pixar universe. It embraces a love of speed and racing in a way that will feel incredibly reminiscent of the original Cars movie, and numerous elements of its story will echo beats from Lightning McQueen's (Owen Wilson) initial arc. There are numerous connections between the first and third films, but the clearest parallel is the similarity between McQueen and up-and-coming challenger Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). I recently sat down with Hammer to ask him about how Storm differs from McQueen, and he explained that the Cars newcomer simply cannot learn humility like Lightning. Hammer said:
Bonus points to Armie Hammer for an A+ car-themed pun, but he also clearly has a point. From the trailers alone, it's clear that Jackson Storm comes from the same ambitious place as Lightning McQueen. Both want to become champions in the world of racing, and both take great pride in gloating about their respective wins. The main difference is that Jackson takes it a bit too far, and he's not willing to learn the humility necessary to become a true champion -- which is exactly what Lightning learned during his time under the tutelage of Paul Newman's Doc Hudson. Without a sage mentor at his side (he'd rather rely on numbers and tech), Storm has all of Lightning's talent, but none of his heart.
In this regard, there are analogies that we can draw from other great sports movies. If Lightning McQueen is Rocky Balboa, then Jackson Storm is more Clubber Lang or Ivan Drago than Apollo Creed. No matter who wins or loses, the odds of them becoming true friends at the end of Cars 3 seem remote.
Check out the following clip from my chat with Armie Hammer to hear what he had to say about his character and his role in Cars 3!
When you combine that rivalry with the rest of the film's plot points, it sounds like Cars 3 represents a massive step back to the core foundation of this franchise. With a renewed emphasis on racing and a return to Lightning McQueen as the series' core protagonist, things suddenly look quite a bit better than they did when Cars 2 debuted in 2011. Racers, start your engines!
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Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.