Everything We Know About Cars 4 & Pixar’s Disney+ Spin-off and More!

Is Pixar likely to make the fourth installment in the Cars series? On his way to a race in the first Cars movie, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) gets lost and is forced to do community service before he can get out of town and return to racing.

After spending some time with the locals, the brazen race car develops a soft spot for the small town and gains some perspective. Cars was a huge hit, even if it didn’t receive the same critical acclaim as other Pixar films like Toy Story or Monsters, Inc. It also had a stellar cast, including Paul Newman and Michael Keaton, both legends in their own right (Spider-Man: Homecoming).

Lightning and Finn McMissile, a voiced by Michael Caine, would join forces in Cars 2 for an international race and a spy mission (The Dark Knight). The 2011 follow-up received mixed reviews, with some praising the visuals and finding the story and humor wanting.

There were plenty of fun Easter eggs and Pixar connections in Cars 3, but the story of Lightning seemed to be concluded simply. He is forced to re-learn how to race after a horrific accident during a race. Cars 3 was hailed as a step up from the previous film and featured some darker themes.


The Cars franchise spawned a slew of spinoffs, including a slew of short films, video games, and a film series called Planes. Following the closure of Disneytoon Studios, a third film in the series was planned, but it was shelved. Considering that the Cars franchise has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, will Cars 4 ever be released?

Will Cars 4 Happen? What We Know About The Possible Lightning McQueen Sequel

However, Cars 4 may be released shortly, thanks to a few key members of the team. “Like any sequel, from Toy Story 4 to Incredibles 2, as long as there is a good story to tell it is worth investing,” producers Kevin Reher and Andrea Warren said back in 2017 about their openness to expanding the franchise.

“I would imagine that if they do another one, it’ll be something pretty cool,” said Owen Wilson when asked about the possibility of a Cars 4 sequel. But Lightning McQueen in some sort of thriller would be interesting. That’s a possibility.”

For Disney, the most important consideration is not just that Cars movies have a following, but that the franchise’s merchandising power is enormous. Compared to Star Wars and Disney Princesses, Pixar’s film series is among the best.


Cars made $1.05 billion in 2012, according to Forbes. Cars 4 would have a compelling financial reason to exist for Disney, even though Cars 3’s pulling power has diminished over the years. However, the question of whether or not Cars 4 will be made is more complicated than this.

Cars 3 Was The Lowest Grossing Of The Series

While Cars 3 was a financial success, it saw a significant drop in ticket sales compared to the first two installments. Both Cars 2 and Cars 3 had record-breaking 2011 box office results. Those numbers aren’t terrible, but when you consider them alongside the mixed reviews for the sequel, it’s safe to say that interest in the Cars series is waning.

Fan reaction to Doc Hudson’s (Paul Newman) absence after the first Cars film was also notable following its release in the third installment – more specifically, how the films never actually addressed what happened to him in any way. Earn the Necklace reports that “the production company felt it best to leave him out of Cars 2 after his [Newman’s] death in 2008.”

As logical as this statement may be, many fans were disappointed by how Doc’s character was not tied up in any subsequent sequels, other than in flashbacks utilizing archived recordings of Newman’s voice in Cars 3 even though issues like this don’t deter many Cars fans from the franchise as a whole, the cumulative effect of perceived blunders can have a significant impact on whether or not future sequels are a financial success. This, in turn, has an impact on how hard Pixar’s creative execs are willing to fight for a new Pixar movie.

Cars 4 Could Replace Lightning McQueen With Cruz Ramirez As The Lead

Lightning’s trainer, Cruz Ramirez, is introduced in Cars 3 but she eventually replaces him in the final race. It was also referred to as the third act of McQueen’s career, with the ending suggesting that Cruz would become the new racer while Lightning would serve as a mentor.

A 2019 article in The Cinemaholic quotes Cars 3 producers Kevin Reher and Andrea Warren as saying that if Cruz ends up being a “breakout character” in Cars 3, they could see her character involved in a possible version of Cars 4. For all intents and purposes, of course, she was.


Cars 4 has yet to receive any official announcements from Pixar, however. There’s a slim chance that if a fourth film is made, it will still center on McQueen’s racing career. He’s unquestionably the franchise’s spokesman. The Cars team, however, has previously stated that this isn’t the case. According to a 2017 interview with Brian Fee (the third film’s director) for Cinemablend:

Cars Future Explained: Disney+’S Cars On The Road Spin-Off

Despite the uncertain future of Cars 4, Pixar has confirmed that Cars On The Road will premiere on Disney+ in 2022. Owen Wilson, who played Lightning McQueen, and Larry The Cable Guy, who played Mater, will both be making cameo appearances in the sequel.

When it comes to McQueen’s relationship with his best friend, the Cars On The Road series will provide plenty of new comedy opportunities as they embark upon a cross-country road trip. Throughout the series, Disney promises a slew of new characters, imaginative locales, and cameos from previous characters. Even if a fourth installment of the Cars franchise is never made, there may be more films in this vein.

Pixar Is Moving Away From Sequels

Pixar’s Cars 4 may be possible, but it doesn’t appear to be on the horizon anytime soon. As previously stated, no official release date has been announced. It’s still possible that it could happen at any time. A sequel may arrive in the years 2023 to 2025, according to some fans’ predictions.

The fact that Pixar has been making sequels to some of their most popular films, such as Finding Dory and The Incredibles 2, is worth noting. Since the release of Toy Story 4, the studio has made a concerted effort to concentrate on creating original material going forward. A good ending to McQueen’s racing arc was achieved in Cars 3, but the film’s lackluster performance suggests that the series could be on the ice for at least the next few years.

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