ByChristina St-Jean, writer at
Mom to 2 awesome girls. Love teaching, love writing. Black belt recipient and always into Star Trek, Star Wars and Harry Potter!
Christina St-Jean

You can't keep a fast car down.

At least, that's what Lightning McQueen is hoping for in the long-awaited, much anticipated sequel Cars 3. The trailer hints at a much darker follow-up compared to the previous movies in the franchise. Check it out below.

It's difficult to imagine releasing a film that would be as bleak as the teaser suggests, and audiences will have to wait until summer, 2017 to find out what fate ultimately befalls our hero.

As always, there are a host of characters to enjoy in the film, with a few stars returning for the thrilling ride. Let's take a look at just some of them.

Lightning McQueen — Owen Wilson

Lightning McQueen was much more than the cocky race car we were first led to believe he was. Over time, he demonstrated emotional growth, and now that he appears to be facing his biggest challenge to date, our collective breath will be held for the coming months until hits theaters.

Some fun facts about McQueen:

  • The character is, in part, inspired by Kid Rock. When piecing together the character's personality, producers wanted to give actor Owen Wilson a better idea of the auto's identity, so they compiled a list of people who seemed arrogant yet likeable. Kid Rock was one of those people.
  • McQueen's story, which was told in the original Cars movie, was sort of an Ugly Duckling tale.
  • Cars 3 will likely discuss how McQueen regains his confidence, this time following a crash that almost derails him completely.

Sally Carrera — Bonnie Hunt

Bonnie Hunt is also back as the voice of McQueen's girlfriend Sally Carrera. Initially the Cars production team envisaged Sally as a Mustang, but eventually they decided that a Porsche Carrera would be better suited to Sally's femininity.

But that's not the only point of interest about Lightning McQueen's girlfriend:

  • After giving up a high-speed lawyer's lifestyle in Los Angeles, all Sally wants to do now is rebuild the town of Radiator Springs, piece by piece.
  • She's proud of her boyfriend's career and patiently awaits his return with every race season that looms.
  • Cruz Riviera, one of the new characters in Cars 3, is apparently related to Sally.

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Mater — Larry The Cable Guy

Where would the Cars franchise be without McQueen's best friend? While it's not yet known exactly what part Mater will play in Cars 3 as McQueen tries to overcome the damage wrought by his hinted-at crash, it's almost certain that Mater will be one of the hero's biggest sources of support during his recovery.

Things you may not have known about Mater:

  • Although he seems to be slow on the uptake, has a vast encyclopedic knowledge of cars in general.
  • Mater's name was inspired by NASCAR super fan Douglas "Mater" Keever, who Pixar CCO John Lasseter met during a research trip to what is now called the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

Ramone — Cheech Marin

If there's anyone who will be able to physically piece Lightning McQueen back together after a devastating accident, it will be Radiator Springs hotshot body man Ramone. Exceedingly cool with an artsy eye for color, Ramone seems necessary to Cars 3, particularly when it comes to ensuring that McQueen is looking good on the race track.

Here's some Ramone trivia for you as you wait for Cars 3:

  • He's modeled after a 1959 Impala Low Rider.
  • Ramone is married to Flo, owner/operator of Flo's V8 Cafe in Radiator Springs.
  • His motto is "low and slow" — the apparent opposite of McQueen's philosophy.

Cruz Ramirez — Cristela Alonzo

Comedian Alonzo has been announced as the voice of Cruz Ramirez, the new character who will be helping get back on track after the seemingly catastrophic accident seen in the trailer. Because the film is still in production, we don't know overly much about Ramirez as yet, although we do know the following:

  • She is a race car trainer and technician who steps in to try and train McQueen for the Florida 500.
  • She is of Hispanic descent.
  • She is depicted in concept art as having a spoiler, though according to merchandise artwork, she seems to have more of a Porsche-style body.

As for Alonzo, she has gained a great deal of notice as the first Mexican-American who has created, produced, written, and starred in her own US network show - the now-concluded Cristela (the series ended in May 2015). She's a comic who has become known for working clean, or without swearing, and is an observational comedian who has become known for her reflections on her own life.

Jackson Storm — Armie Hammer

Every good story needs an antagonist, or something the main character — and possibly his friends — must overcome for the benefit of character growth. Cars 3 seems to have found this plot point in the form of Jackson Storm.

Jackson Storm is a rookie in the racing series who, like many of the other cars in the contest, begins to wonder when veteran racer Lightning McQueen is going to retire from the racing world. While not much is yet known about this new character, we do know that:

  • He leads McQueen to question his ongoing relevance in an increasingly higher-tech racing world.
  • He is blue and black with a spoiler, and is a rookie taking on the veteran.

Armie Hammer is no stranger to audiences; known for his roles in films like The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp, as well as his portrayal of the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, he brings intensity and depth to the character of Jackson Storm, and ultimately has created a character that audiences will love to despise.

Start Your Engines

While at least two actors in the upcoming voice cast for Cars 3 have yet to be determined, it's important to remember that The Good Dinosaur saw much of its original voice cast replaced not long before the film bowled in theaters. While it's certain that Wilson, Hunt and Larry the Cable Guy will reprise their respective roles — the Cars franchise wouldn't be the same without them — it will be fascinating to see who is taking on the voices of Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm, and how these new characters blend with the Cars canon. It may be six months before Cars 3 roars into theaters, but you can get ready for the starting line by taking a look at the teaser trailer here:

Cars 3 will hit cinemas on June 16, 2017. Who would you like to see voice these new characters? Answers in the comments below.

[Image via Pixar] [Jackson Stom image via Youtube]


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