After much speculation, it appears that John Lasseter is officially the co-director of Cars 2. Lasseter, the director behind Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life and the first Cars, is sharing directorial duties with first-time director Brad Lewis, according to Jim Hill. Lewis previously produced Pixar’s Ratatouille. Lasseter currently acts as Chief Creative Officer for Disney Animation and Pixar Studios, and has acted solely as a producer or executive producer since Cars. His heightened involvement in Cars 2 could either be a sign of dissatisfaction with Lewis or simply an insurance policy on the first time director. For more on Lasseter co-directing and why I think there’s no need to worry, hit the jump. Cars 2 is scheduled to hit theaters June 24, 2011.
Some will be quick to speculate that Lasseter’s new title, which was first reported by , is a sign of some sort of disaster in the making. Perhaps Disney/Pixar is unsatisfied with the project and Lasseter had to provide some hands-on aid. However, given Pixar’s track record, these speculations will probably end up as false. Pixar has faced worse dilemmas. For example, Brad Bird was brought in to replace Ratatouille‘s original director in the middle of production. The Cars 2 scenario seems to be more of a case of Lasseter providing guidance over the final year of production. Given that Brad Lewis is a first time director and Lasseter not only directed Cars but also conceived Cars 2, I’d say Lasseter’s presence on the film is inevitable and beneficial. Pixar has a lot invested in this project, as Cars is their worst received film to date, and it seems like they’ll pull out all the stops to make Cars 2 work.
So far, not much is known about the plot except that it involves Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his team joining a race around the world. If rumors and Wikipedia are to be believed, Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) will get involved in a North By Northwest-esque international espionage plot as well.