After seeing the decidedly dark trailer for Cars 3, Pixar fans got to thinking about what the whole franchise is really about. Is it actually about talking cars and the American love of the open road? Or, as Screen Crush explored, is it more of a post-apocalyptic Terminator world where cars have taken over and humans are extinct?
If anyone's looking for a refresher on the world of Cars, it's a world with zero humans, but plenty of evidence that humans once roamed the earth. The cars have handles. There are monuments in the background that cars that are clearly crafted by the hands of man — not machines without opposable thumbs. There are gas station pumps. But there are no humans. Zero. Not a single one.
Jay Ward, the creative director of the Cars world, offered up an explanation. And since he's the guy behind an internal manual titled The World of Cars Owner’s Manual, if anyone knows, it's him.
"If you think about this, we have autonomous car technology coming in right now. It's getting to the point where you can sit back in the car and it drives itself," Ward explained. "Imagine in the near-future when the cars keep getting smarter and smarter and after one day they just go, 'Why do we need human beings anymore? They're just slowing us down. It's just extra weight, let’s get rid of them.' But the car takes on the personality of the last person who drove it. Whoa. There you go."
While none of this info is officially written into the annals of Disney-Pixar mythos, it's certainly interesting. That would certainly explain the lack of humans, but doesn't do much to illustrate why the cars are alive, have the ability to talk, and have their own unique personalities. Did they just adopt the personalities of their previous owners? Did something happen to permanently bond people to their vehicles? What happens when those doors open? Can we get a copy of this Cars manual?
Ward had a tongue-in-cheek response to questions about the fate of Cars' humans, however. It's definitely not family friendly, but it does give fans a peek into the minds of the guys behind these movies. "[Cars 3 production designer] Jay Shuster did a great drawing a long time ago of a meteor hitting the earth," Ward added. "And all the humans are gone and all of a sudden the cars start rising up and moving around."
If the fact that all of Disney's Pixar movies exist in one universe wasn't enough to make your brain do somersaults, this new info may just be enough to give us all an animation overload.