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The Cars 3 trailer takes a grim turn toward Crash City, USA

The Cars 3 trailer takes a grim turn toward Crash City, USA

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Disney and Pixar have published the first teaser trailer for Cars 3, and it suggests a serious tonal shift for the franchise. The brief clip portrays the main character of the series, racecar Lightning McQueen, spinning out in the middle of a race, followed by a slow-motion shot of McQueen busting into a cloud of wreckage. Just before the car makes impact with the ground, the movie's ominous new tagline appears: "From this moment, everything will change."

Cars is one Pixar's most commercially successful franchises, though it’s struggled for critical affection. The franchise is best known for its light-hearted — and merchandising-friendly — characters than the deeper emotional stories of Pixar films. This tiny clip seems to, at the very least, hint at Cars 3 delivering a different kind of story, one that features a grittier spin on the animated series.

2017 may be the year we ask, “What if Cars, but good?”

For reference, I've including the Cars 2 teaser trailer, which features the big-hearted but dim-witted Mater being mistaken as an international super spy. Brace yourself for tonal whiplash.

Cars 3 releases in theaters on June 16th, 2017.