Just when you thought that the Cars franchise had ran its last lap and gone out on a high note with Cars 3, and inspired its only semi-spinoff – DisneyToon Studios’ Planes – it seems Disney has been holding onto a hidden reserve for a future project. At the D23 Convention in Anaheim, California, Disney announced that they are working on a new Cars/Planes-like franchise that will take place in space.

While the Cars franchise has historically been the black sheep in Pixar’s family of films, they have always been a merchandising goldmine for the studio and their parent company Disney. The Cars movies have been lucrative, yet largely forgettable when compared to the rest of the studio’s iconic filmography. However, the franchise has spawned immensely popular toys, clothing, and Disneyland rides, which have made it into one of the most profitable animated properties in existence.

Related: Cars 3 Almost Had A Different Ending

Today at the D23 Convention, Disney announced their intention to take their automotive franchise in a most unexpected fashion. Legendary director John Lasseter made his presence felt when he took the stage and presented a brief teaser clip of their upcoming project. According to descriptions, the clip follows an old plane and two jets as they fly into space before uncovering the trademark Cars eyes. It’s then revealed that the film does not yet have an official title, however we can expect it to be released on April 12th, 2019. According to Disney, “the theatrical feature film explores the future of aviation—taking moviegoers to the edge of discovery in the air—and beyond.”

Lightning McQueen in Cars Disney Announces Cars/Planes Like Movie Set in Space For 2019

It’s unclear what characters, if any, from the Planes or Cars franchise will be making the leap to the new intergalactic adventure. Since the new film comes from DisneyToon Studios, the same branch of Disney that created Planes, it’s more likely to have a crossover with that film and its sequel Or, this will simply be the first time that DisneyToon Studios jumps the (intergalactic) shark with a franchise.

It’s often joked that when a car-based franchise runs out of ideas, it’s time to take the sequel to space. (As anyone who has watched the past three installments of the Fast and Furious franchise can certainly attest to.) However, this seems to be an opportunity perfectly suited for DisneyToon Studios. In the past, Disney’s various animation studios have set stories everywhere from a tiny ant hill to prehistoric times, so it’s only logical that the next challenge would be to conquer other galaxies.

Each animation house under the Disney umbrella – whether Pixar, DisneyToon or other – has managed to push the boundaries of computer generated imagery to a point where some shots look nearly photo-realistic. Those advances in visual effects have surely inspired the artists and creators at DisneyToon Studios with the new challenge of capturing the vast majesty of space on the big screen. There will be a lot more to come on this and other upcoming animated projects in the weeks and months to come.

The untitled DisneyToon Studios film to be set in space is prepping for a release on April 12th, 2019.

Next: Disney’s Upcoming Movie Releases – From 2017 to 2021

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