The last time we saw Lightning McQueen in the second installment of CG-animated film Cars, he was racing with Francesco and Mater at the Radiator Springs Grand Prix. That was years ago, and at that time, he was at the peak of his game with no one seemingly able to best him in the circuit, having won the Piston Cups several times already.
Now, McQueen is back, and wrecked! Yes, Pixar has just released a short trailer – and the first official teaser -- for the third installment of Cars. It shows McQueen back in the United States and competing in the speedway. While he still has some strong showing – at one point he was leading the pack – the trailer reveals that his days of Piston Cup dominance could be over. At another point, a seemingly aggressive new challenger is making his way through the throngs of racers (could be Jackson Storm, a rookie who has trounced McQueen).
According to Pixar, a new generation of car racers has made their way onto the circuit and is simply making McQueen more irrelevant. At the end of the trailer, McQueen suffers another blown-out tire – or possibly mechanical issues – and ends up crashing in the mid of the speedway.
Not a few – especially McQueen fans -- had their hearts crushed upon seeing their speedster hero crashing. As far as we could remember, a crash ended the era of Strip "The King" Weathers, a seven-time champion of the Piston Cup. A crash also ended the career of McQueen’s mentor Doc “The Fabulous Hudson Hornet” Hudson, himself a three-time Piston Cup winner. In Cars 3, McQueen is now the veteran, with awesome rookies and a crash putting him seemingly close to retiring.
Of course, it is pretty disappointing to see McQueen being outclassed by a new generation of cars. In the real world, however, this is the sad truth. Older cars are left to eat dust by the new ones, especially those laden with newer innovations, technologies and more advanced materials. Nonetheless, careful tweaks and thorough modifications could make older cars become better performers. In fact, some cars could be injected with newer techs, allowing them to be as competitive as the new generations of autos.
Now back to McQueen. It is not too late for a comeback. According to Pixar, McQueen takes inspiration from Doc Hudson, who after his crash was able to fully recover though he wasn’t able to race again because he was dropped by his sponsors. Perhaps, Rusteeze has remained all supportive of McQueen, who didn’t abandon the brand in Cars 1 when Dinoco approached him for a change of sponsorship. In Cars 3, McQueen will do a “Doc Hudson” by coming back to his game with the help of a female race technician named Cruz Ramirez.
Cars 3 arrives on the big screen in Summer 2017.