Pixar fans got their first look at the next Cars movie on Monday.
The 49-second teaser gave a brief hint at the overall tone of the new film, seemingly showcasing a much more adult, somber direction for the franchise.
In the trailer, we see franchise mainstay Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) struggling to keep up with other racecars before spinning out.
Then, in the distance, an announcer can be heard saying, “McQueen is fading, fading fast.” The final shot is of McQueen flipping through the air with sparks and debris raining down around him.
The teaser ends with the phrase, “From this moment, everything will change.”
This is a radical departure from the tone of the previous two films in the franchise. Teasers for the first two films are immediately identifiable as kid-friendly.
The teaser for the original film focuses on Pixar’s record as a studio that makes family-friendly movies, citing A Bug’s Life, Toy Story and Finding Nemo as examples.
The teaser for the second film parodies classic spy films, putting McQueen and franchise mascot Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) in a laser web.
This new teaser is markedly different, showing no signs of the levity of the first two. It wouldn’t be all that surprising for Pixar to make this shift, though.
Pixar’s original film series, Toy Story, saw a similar shift in tone with its third entry, ultimately dealing with the more mature themes of growing up and moving on.
Twelve years on from the first Cars film, it would make sense for McQueen to start feeling his age. He’s no longer the hotshot rookie on the track anymore. He’s noticeably dirtier and banged up in the trailer even before he crashes, and he’s far behind the other cars.
Also of note, Pixar has stated that after Toy Story 4, they will be moving on to original stories and leaving any plans for sequels for much further down the line. If this film is meant to close out a trilogy for the Cars franchise, it might also mean the conclusion of McQueen’s story as well.
While everyone might be racing to find out what happens, they’ll have to wait until Cars 3 drifts into theaters in summer 2017.