It looks like Disney/Pixar is planning a third installment of their well-loved anthropomorphized cars with their eyes in the wrong place movie franchise, Cars. A teaser trailer for the movie just came out and it’s a bit, um, dark. Here, look:

Yikes. That’s the main character, Lightning McQueen, smoking and pirouetting above the track, about to be seriously, deeply boned.

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Since we have the better part of a year before this movie comes out, let’s engage in a healthy bit of speculation. What’s going on here? Is this a dream sequence? Does Cars 3 begin with the death of Lightning McQueen, and then the whole movie is essentially a remake of The Big Chill, just with cars?

I don’t think the idea of Disney going sort of dark with this one is that unreasonable. Disney/Pixar sort of have a history of making the 3rd installment a bit dark. Remember Toy Story 3? All the main characters were abandoned and almost killed en masse at a recycling plant! That’s some dark shit.

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Maybe Lightning just ends up injured and unable to race, and has to teach some rebellious young upstart from the wrong side of the parking deck how to race. Maybe he comes back as a zombie and terrorizes everyone. Maybe he returns as a ghost only Sally the Porsche-lawyer can see, and helps her make pottery. Maybe he survives, quits racing, and becomes a substitute teacher who teaches troubled inner-highway cars that Car Shakespeare (a massive, lumbering steam-wagon) was really wrote rap!

This is your chance for your theories.

Oh, and, as an aside, this is the best look we’ve ever gotten at Lightning McQueen’s underside:

Nice headers! Or are those the genitals?