Rewind to 2006 when Pixar introduced us to ‘Cars’ – a fictional world of sentient automobiles. While most kids would rather enjoy the movie than ask questions, the curious ones have a point – why does the ‘Cars’ movie have sidewalks if there are no humans around? Well, why I wonder now? So, I went looking for an answer on the interwebs, and here are the theories.
But first, let’s make sure we are all up-to-date with the animated world of Cars.
How many Cars sequels are there?
John Lasseter’s Cars first came out in 2006 and eventually grew into a Disney Franchise. Pixar produced, and Walt Disney Pictures released the first movie in the series. Cars 2 hit the theaters in 2011, followed by Cars 3 in 2017. There’s been some talk about a potential Cars 4 if the producers “find a good story to tell,” according to this report. So, there’s still room for an official explanation for sidewalks in the Cars movies.
The three films were not all the franchise had to offer (I am not implying the Planes spin-off). Cars has a series of four short films – Mater and the Ghostlight (2006), Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (2017), Dancing with the Cars (2021), and Unparalleled Parking (2021). And don’t forget the animated series – Cars Toons (2008–2014) and Cars on the Road (2022).
What happens in Cars?
You’ll need a quick recap to make sense of all the theories about why there are sidewalks in Cars movies and other fan curiosities about the fictional world. So, here’s what has happened in the CGI-animated world of cars:
- In Cars 1, rookie race car Lightning McQueen gets a lesson on friends and family when he gets stranded in the rundown town of Radiator Springs while on the way to the Dinoco 400 – the final race for the Piston Cup.
- Five years after the events in Cars 1, Lightning McQueen heads to Japan and Europe in Cars 2 for the World Grand Prix. International espionage, fuel wars, and more racing follow.
- Cars movies returned for a third installment with an aging Lightning McQueen, but a five-time Piston Cup champion. Younger cars like Jackson Storm threaten to overshadow him with the latest technology.
- After getting damaged in a racing accident, Lightning eventually goes on to train Cruz Ramirez and helps her win the race.
Also See: What Kind of Car is Lightning McQueen?
Does the movie ‘Cars’ have sidewalks?
Before wondering why, are you sure there are sidewalks in the Cars movies? Yes, and it’s easy to spot them.
Of course, we mostly see only cars – even insects are tiny cars! But there are plants and no animals. But that could be because war or pollution wiped them out. If you have watched all three movies, it’s easy to conclude that the Cars movie plot takes place on Earth sometime in the future.
Humans have left behind everything on Earth. So, the buildings, roads, and sidewalks aren’t going anywhere. It’s the same planet in all Pixar movies. However, the Cars movies era has no humans or animals. It’s easier to understand if you are familiar with the Pixar Theory.
What is the Pixar Theory?
Jon Negroni, a pop culture writer, proposed the Pixar Theory in 2013. He found connections between events in various movies produced by Pixar to prove that each story is from a different era in the same universe. So, according to Negroni, the events in Cars occur between 2100 and 2200, just before the Wall-E plot takes off in 2800 – 2900. And guess what? It fits! Although the studio has never confirmed it as canon. The theory also has its fair share of debunkers, especially after Toy Story 4 was released.
Why are sidewalks there in the Cars movie?
You’re still not convinced and really want to get into theories? Here are a few from a Reddit thread I stumbled on:
“It’s in the future when automated cars take over after the great fuel wars of 2047.” – XXXSuperDupe
Don’t panic! You did not miss anything about “the great fuel wars of 2047” in Cars movies. It is a fictional conflict between USA and Russia in the game Battlefield 2042. Although the way gas prices are going these days, it feels more and more real.
“Cars can fit on a sidewalk most of the time, and they can also be driven onto. They aren’t just made for pedestrians to get around; they are also designed to keep people out of the streets.” – naynaythewonderhorse
What naynay is trying to say here is that if there are no sidewalks, where will they “stand?” Say a car wants to wait for its friend; why would it idle on the street and block traffic? Instead, it can get on the elevated sidewalk, and everyone’s happy (and safe).
Also, in a world of sentient machines, where would the electric wheelchairs, scooters, hoverboards, etc., go if there are no sidewalks?
For a fresh perspective, Reddit user ersentenza thinks that the Cars story is not real, even in the fictional universe. They propose that it is a virtual racing game played by the surviving humans on Axiom (Wall E). But the Pixar Theory would have to be approved for this theory to work.
While Lightning McQueen and other Cars of the fictional future can take care of themselves, remember your car still needs you. So, don’t settle for anything but the best car services! You’ll find everything your car needs on Way.com.