Lately every major studio seems to be trying to make their own “Shared Universe.” Marvel had great success at doing so while DC tripped on the first few steps, and Universal Monsters straight out fell and broke both legs.
Even so, we still have a number of studios looking for the next MCU. What if we looked back at an actual Shared Universe that didn’t plan crossovers but instead just happened to coincide with each other?
John Lasseter, former head of Pixar and Disney Animation, decided that when he was at
DisneyToon Studios he wanted to expand on the world of Cars.
Cars, though not a HUGE financial success still made money and was EXTREMELY popular when it came to toy sales. Just like Thomas the Tank Engine little kids seem to like vehicles with faces on them, so Cars merchandise sold like CRAZY.
John decided not only to green light sequels for Cars for a 2011 release but also a little
spin-off film called Planes in 2013.
Planes wasn’t as big of a success financially or critically as Cars was, but still did well enough to make John want to do more. Planes: Fire & Rescue AKA Planes 2 released in 2014 and Cars 3 released in 2017, the toys still sold and an entire Cars Land was added to Disney’s California Adventure in Disneyland.
Then a Planes 3 planned for Summer 2019, but those plans fell apart.
In 2018 John Lasseter left Disney due to certain “allegations”, Disney executives don’t like ANY bad press, so he was quietly asked to step down.
Months later DisneyToon Studios was shut down and Planes 3, originally planned to take the story into outer space, was canceled. As were other projects that were announced but not officially put into motion, and possibly more Cars universe projects like “Boats” and “Trains”.
I’m sure some people are glad these future films weren’t made because many complained about the quality of the films not being as good as other Pixar Classics, while many kids who grew up with these films may have been disappointed.
The Cars franchise is still continuing with high toy sales and a number of shorts planned for Disney+. If these films did end up getting made we could have seen the very first Animated Cinematic Universe, and with Cars coming out in 2007 and Iron Man releasing in 2008 it very much would have predated the MCU.
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