16 years ago, Pixar introduced us to Radiator Springs and the likes of Mater and Lightning McQueen. With the new Disney+ miniseries “Cars on the Road,” we finally get to be reacquainted with Mater and Lightning.
“It’s great coming back as Mater,” said Dan Whitney aka Larry the Cable Guy who voices the rusty and lovable tow truck during the short-form series’ virtual press conference. “I’m blessed to just be a part of it all these years.”
According to producer Mark Sondheimer, conversations for the series began in early 2019 with the invent of Disney+ which allowed the Pixar teams that loved the franchise “to play with the characters and worlds again.” It’s that love that allowed the series to be made in record time- a year and a half using new production methods that one day will inform Pixar’s features.
While Mater has been in animated shorts since the first “Cars” film, this new series of minisodes will focus on the relationship between Mater and Lightning as they literally go on a roadtrip together.
“I think they finally deserved this because they are best friends,” said one of the series directors Steve Purcell. He added that it’s their character dynamics that he and fellow directors Brian Fee and Bobby Podesta wanted to explore more. “People come back for Mater and McQueen; it doesn’t matter what situation you put them in,” said Podesta.
As for the situations for each minisode, each one will essentially be a “pit stop” on road trip that Mater invites Lightning on across parts of America. All the episodes are all tied together narratively, so expect to see it all come together in the end.
However, ‘the journey is better than the destination’ as the adage goes, and that goes for this short-form series, too. Each of the directors has their own personality, which director Brian Fee assured will make every episode different stylistically, and yet familiar. “We all worked on the original “Cars” film, so we know these characters and want to keep them front and center as we travel everywhere else creatively, and outside Radiator Springs,” said Fee.
Owen Wilson also returns to voice Lightning McQueen, who the director team said was a joy to work with because he loves the character so much, too.