After years of suspicion, theorycrafting and the occasional conspiracy theory, adult fans of Pixar’s “Cars” franchise are one step closer to solving the movie franchise’s biggest mystery: Where the heck did all of these talking, sentient cars come from? The latest theory comes from, Jay Ward, the creative director for the “Cars” franchise himself. Ward claims the scenario he has put forth isn’t “Cars” canon, but it’s certainly chilling nonetheless.
“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 said. "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.”
Ward’s theory comes from an interview with ScreenCrush and touches on one of the longstanding, uneasy details about the “Cars” universe: how it’s so much like our own. While certain quality of life accommodations have been made for the vehicular inhabitants of the “Cars” world, it seems like for every small detail confirming their civilization was built by their own kind—cars—there’s another massive reminder that said civilization is based off human culture. Everything from the housing, religion and incidental tchotchkes hint at a human presence long gone, replaced by a society of sentient cars that have shaped the very fabric of their lives around in our image.
It’s a decent enough twist that the vehicles humans fetishize would eventually make an about face after our demise and begin, instead, to fetishize their creators, but there’s also the question of how the cars are even able to think. Are they autonomous and digital as Ward hints, or were they fashioned in flesh and blood? According to Ward, the latter may be closer to the truth. Pixar has an internal rulebook for the “Cars” universe called “The World of Cars Owner’s Manual,” which contains a list of do’s and don’ts. One of the don’ts?
“You’ll never see the doors open,” said Ward. “Because the brain and the eyes are in there, we don’t want anything falling out of the side.”
Debuting in theaters on June 16, “Cars 3” is a production of Pixar Animation Studios directed by Brian Fee and starring Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Jenifer Lewis, John Ratzenberger, Lloyd Sherr, Michael Wallis, Paul Dooley, Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion and Lea DeLaria.