ByKatie Granger, writer at Creators.co
MP Staff Writer, come to bargain.
Katie Granger

Remember Cars 2? No? We're not hugely surprised. The juggernaut combo that is Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney don't often take a swing and a miss, but the sequel to 2006's Cars wasn't particularly well received when it released back in 2011.

But if you're one of those people who still enjoyed the Cars sequel then guess what? Yep, Cars 3 was amongst the Pixar roster announced back at the Disney stockholder meeting in March of 2014, and the release date for the animated flick was recently moved up from an undefined time in 2018 to a mere year away — set to drop June 16, 2017.

A quick catch up incase you haven't been keeping up with the franchise: Cars and Cars 2 follow the tales of — you guess it — a set of anthropomorphic cars, with the lead character being the arrogant racing vehicle Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson).

In the Golden Globe winning Cars rookie racecar Lightning McQueen is about to take the biggest challenge of his life: racing against industry champions Strip "The King" Weathers and Chick Hicks. On his way to California to begin practising for the race he becomes lost in the desert after pushing his rig too hard, and winds up drifting into the run-down town of Radiator Springs.

As you'd expect from a Disney/Pixar venture, Lightning McQueen learns to treat others with more respect and kindness through his interactions with the townspeople, including a famous racecar who was forced to retire after an accident, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman).

Cars 2 picks up Lightning's story a few years later, when he's now a famous racer and living permanently in Radiator Springs, but throws spy conventions into the mix as the cars stop a plot to sabotage the Grand Prix. It wasn't as well received as Cars, and so the franchise went to sleep for a little while.

Doc Hudson in 'Cars' [Disney/Pixar]
Doc Hudson in 'Cars' [Disney/Pixar]

And now Cars 3 is set to release next year, and John Lasseter — Pixar's chief creative officer and director of the first two Toy Story films — spoke to Entertainment Weekly on the blue carpet for Finding Dory last week about what we can expect to see from the new film. Here's what he had to say:

"Lightning McQueen, he’s awesome. We’ve got some great new characters, some great racing in it. It’s a very emotional story. It’s a little bit more akin to Cars 1, where you get into a deep emotion with him. It’s really a special story. It’s very emotional and his relationship with Doc Hudson, and his memory of Doc Hudson."

Going back to the roots of the first film, Cars 3 seems like it's going to finally pay tribute to the late Paul Newman who voiced Doc Hudson in Cars. The Oscar winning Newman died of cancer on September 26, 2008 at the age of 83, and his character did not return for Cars 2.

Paul Newman: more than just a voice
Paul Newman: more than just a voice

Newman wasn't just an acclaimed actor and director, he was also a lifelong activist and philanthropist, founding and running several charities and non-profit organisations, donating nearly half a billion dollars to charity through his food company, Newman's Own.

Appropriately for the franchise — he was also an ex-professional racing driver, but his character Doc Hudson didn't get much of a look in for Cars 2, eventually being written out of the script following his death. In the movie it's implied that Doc has also died prior to the events of the movie, but the exact nature of how and why is never addressed.

From the sounds of it Cars 3 will finally pay tribute to Doc Hudson and, by extension, Newman himself. We don't yet know if we'll see him popping up again or if the character will be explored purely through the influence he had on main protagonist Lightning McQueen, but let's hope he gets more than just a passing nod this time around.

What do you want to see in Cars 3? Tell us in the comments below!

Source: Entertainment Weekly