Five years after their first spin around the track, the animated autos of Disney/Pixar's "Cars" will be racing back into theaters. The original movie was Pixar's seventh consecutive hit, earning over $460 million at the worldwide box office -- and more impressively, over $5 billion in merchandising. It also earned two Oscar nominations and was awarded the first Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature.
But for all of the success of the original "Cars," it was fairly small in scope. Outside of the energetic race scenes, most of the story took place in the tiny town of Radiator Springs. And at the core of the movie was the message of how important it is to slow down and appreciate the little things in life.
By the looks of the new trailer for "Cars 2," however, the sequel is going to be big. Global, even. Lightning McQueen and Mater the tow truck -- both voiced again by Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy -- are embarking in a world tour through Europe and Japan, and they get caught up in some international intrigue along the way. And they are joined in their adventure by a new car on the scene, British superspy Finn McMissile. Watch the exclusive preview below, and keep reading to find out more about this new character and which great actor provides his voice.
The design of Finn McMissile, the secret agent who mistakes Mater for a fellow operative, is inspired by the ultimate spy car, James Bond's silver 1964 Aston Martin DB5. Having made an indelible mark in movie history, the actual car that Sean Connery drove in "Goldfinger" was just sold at auction in October for $4.6 million. The look of the car has been slightly tweaked -- Finn has a different grill that looks like a suave mustache -- but like Bond, he does have plenty of gadgets, like rocket launchers in his headlights. And Finn has the coolest option any car could hope for: he's voiced by acting legend Michael Caine.
[Related: Hidden 'Cars' messages of 'Toy Story 3']
Besides Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy, it has not yet been announced who in the cast from the original film will return for the sequel. It's also unclear if the characters voiced by Paul Newman and George Carlin -- both of whom passed away since "Cars" was released in 2006 -- might appear with different actors playing the parts.
What is known is that the world of "Cars" will keep expanding beyond just the movie sequel. The original movie has already inspired a series of shorts called "Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales" which were just released on DVD last week. There have been several video games featuring the characters. And biggest of all will be Cars Land, a new 12-acre area at Disney's California Adventure park that will open in 2012.
[Photos: Biggest animated blockbusters]
"Cars 2" speeds into theaters on June 24, 2011.
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