Disney and Pixar have unveiled the very first teaser trailer for Cars 3, and you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a sullen and gritty film of a very different sort. Indeed, while this teaser is the epitome of “teaser trailer” in that it doesn’t really offer anything by way of plot or dialogue, it does tease a dramatic twist in the Lightning McQueen story. As the trailer progresses, we see some absolutely stunning visuals of a race that ends with an incredibly serious crash involving everyone’s favorite talking speedster. Cryptically, the teaser ends with the text, “From this moment, everything will change.” The official synopsis, also released today, reads as follows:
Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez, with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!
This is quite possibly the most dramatic Pixar trailer we’ve ever seen, as the studio usually attempts to tease the fun and colorful characters that audiences (and, you know, kids) can expect to see in the next adventure. But going quite dark and dramatic with this Cars 3 teaser is a bold and, frankly, admirable move that shows Pixar is trying to do something different with this Cars sequel.
It’s no secret that the Cars franchise is the most critically maligned of the Pixar library. Upon rewatch the first Cars isn’t terrible—it’s John Lasseter’s ode to Americana, and it has a sleepy structure and pacing that’s actually pretty refreshing if you give yourself over to it. But Cars 2 is one of the worst movies Pixar has ever made, a sequel that trades a loving story for cheap toilet jokes and lazy characters. So when Cars 3 was first announced, many weren’t exactly thrilled by the news. But I have to admit, this debut trailer makes me very curious.
Watch the first Cars 3 teaser trailer below. The film marks the directorial debut of Brian Fee, an animator and storyboard artist on films like Wall-E and Monsters University. Cars 3 opens in theaters on June 16, 2017.