‘Cars 2’ Revs Its Engines, But Will It Move Forward With Paul Newman?

Fifty plus years as an actor, 10 Academy Award nominations, one Oscar win, and a slew of indisputably iconic performances, and forgive me, my first thought upon hearing the recent news of Paul Newman’s rumored ill health was “Is ’Cars’ really going to be his last acting role?”

Not if John Lasseter and the good folks over at Pixar have anything to do with it, who are hoping that Newman will continue the role of Doc Hudson in “Cars 2,” scheduled for release in 2012.

“Well, you know, his character is coming back,” Lasseter told MTV News. “He’s a good friend of mine, and so we’re just waiting to see.” Although some articles conflict, it was widely reported earlier this month that Newman was battling lung cancer.

As for the rest of the “Cars 2” gang, little is known about the story beyond the fact that it’s rumored to follow Lighting McQueen has he races his way across Europe. Lasseter himself confessed that there’s not much more to know in the moment, saying of the story that it was still in “early development.”

But for people who think it’s simply a cash grab (“Cars” products continue to be some of the highest-selling merchandise for parent company Disney), Lasseter has three words of rebuke: “Toy Story 2.”

“If you look at ’Toy Story 2,’ which is one of the stories I’m most proud of in all the pantheon of Pixar films, it’s the same thing with ’Cars 2.’ We’ve come up with a great, great story line,” Lasseter insisted. “It’s a film I directed and created, and I’m so proud of these characters. The impact of these characters have made in families all over the world is really great. That’s why I make these films, to truly entertain an audience. So to revisit these characters, Mater and Lighting McQueen, and all the folks at Radiator Springs, I’m real excited to do that.”

How about you? Are you excited for “Cars 2”? Or would you rather “The Incredibles 2,” “Finding Nemo 2,” or something original? And what should they do if Newman isn’t able or willing to return? Sound off below.