Tuesday, May 28, 2024

What’s the Deal with Jackson Storm?

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Cars 3 is coming out June 16th in the United States, and as someone who watches some TV and uses the internet, I’ve seen a bunch of trailers and teasers for it. And since I saw the first one with my grandfather as a kid, the franchise (for all it’s craziness and despite the monstrosity that was Cars 2) is near and dear to my heart. You can watch the trailers for Cars 3 in this video if you want to refresh your memory.

From what I can gather from the trailers (and Cars 2), Lightning McQueen has dominated the sport of racing ever since the events in the original Cars movie. Now he’s a veteran race car, with a young generation of challengers poised to usurp him. Chief among them is Jackson Storm, who is voiced by Armie Hammer, who I personally feel like should be in more stuff, but, I digress.

After a horrible accident, there are questions about whether McQueen will ever race again. And even if he does, what would be the point because Storm is clearly his superior just at first glance. So basically, it looks like we’re getting a G rated Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby remake, with some elements of Rocky IV tossed in for good measure, which hopefully means we at least get some training montages.

Now, I have a couple of questions, and these have been bothering me since the trailers have come out. What’s the dynamic between Mater and McQueen going to be like? How much will Sally be involved in the story? And most importantly, what’s the deal with Jackson Storm?

Seriously, what’s going on with that gu- I mean car? It makes sense to me that eventually a car would come around who was just faster than McQueen could ever be. Storm is after all shaped like an actual race car, while McQueen is shaped like a toy. But, in a world populated by cars, why is Storm so much more technologically advanced than McQueen? Is he this world’s Ivan Drago? Is he a “designer baby”? Are all the cars “designer babies”!?!? Did his parents “raise” him like Todd Marinovich, where from birth his entire life was designed to make him the perfect racer? Is Jackson Storm even his real name?

In human terms, this is like examining the differences between sports players of different eras to those of today. And Cars 3‘s director Brian Fee even said “In a very broad term, I think of old football players with those little leather skull caps, and you think of football players now with all their armor, hitting so hard. It’s not the same game. What they did was not anything like what we do now…” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. This analogy is very weird for me because the pads of the football players aren’t a part of their bodies, and it is the bodies of Lightning McQueen and Jackson Storm that differ so wildly.

To me, a better analogy is to look at the difference between NBA players in the 50’s and 60’s and those of today. In the 50’s and 60’s players smoked a ton, didn’t train at all in the off-season, and ate whatever junk they wanted. They weren’t in shape at all, and some elite HS teams could probably run them off the court (because the old timers would go into cardiac arrest).

Today’s players understand that maintaining their bodies are not only a part of their jobs, but that what they put into it determines their peak potential performance. NBA players have also gotten much more athletic in the decades since then, as nutrition has improved, the talent pool has widened, and training has improved. These players have also gotten more skilled and knowledgeable about the sport. As I mentioned, these changes have taken decades, and it wasn’t until the mid to late 2000’s that teams and players fully began to take advantage of the science at their disposal to ensure players were constantly at their best.

After watching the trailers, it seems like Jackson Storm is a modern NBA player being placed in the 50’s and 60’s. More specifically, he’d be like Giannis Antetokounmpo, playing in that era. For those of you who aren’t aware, Giannis is a seven foot tall demigod of skill, athleticism and innocence, capable of clearing an NBA court in 2 dribbles, and blocking shots with his elbows. He’d only have one or two peers in this era, and would absolutely decimate most of the rest. But here’s the thing, we aren’t talking about a sixty year gap between Storm and McQueen, we’re talking about a gap of somewhere between ten and fifteen years. And the NBA was way different then in terms of playing style than it is today, but physically the players are very similar. So what does this mean for Cars 3?

It means, we are left with only a few options.

Option One: The Cars Experience Evolution at an Insane Rate

This is possible I suppose, because cars in the real world do progress insanely quickly relative to living things, but in the Cars world, the cars are living things, and are probably bound by some sort of nature right? There just isn’t enough evidence for me to rule for or against this at all.

Option Two: Jackson Storm is the Cars World’s Todd Marinovich

I’m going to say no on this because I can’t even remember any car mentioning their parents at all.

Option Three: This is a Children’s Movie Please Chill Out

Yeah, I’m not doing that

Option Four: The Cars Build Themselves However they Want

This is an interesting option, but a little dark. We’ve seen cars modify themselves. They get paint jobs, change their tires, and different types of gas impacts them differently. We’ve even seen some want to change to electric (in Cars 2).So there is a lot of evidence that the cars can modify themselves to a great deal. But to my knowledge, we haven’t seen any change their engines or bodies too drastically.

On the other hand, we’ve seen young and old cars, and we’ve seen cars of all different shapes and sizes, as well as spy cars. They seem to come in almost an infinite variety. And the other options is the cars somehow being ‘born’. I don’t have an answer for how that would happen, and like I said before I can’t even remember a mention of cars referring to their parents. I’m gonna climb out of this rabbit hole before I fall too deep. I’m no Alice after all. I will say that this is very probable, and is likely the answer.

Option Five: The Cars World is Actually a Game Played by a Child

This is my favorite theory for a couple of reasons. First, I like when movies made by the same studio fit together like this, and I love to imagine they’re all connected. That’s why I love the Pixar Theory. Another reason, is that I think there is a lot of evidence to support this. The biggest piece of evidence is all the nonsense in Cars 2, with the spy-cars and Mater becoming a secret agent. Mater, the foolish, clumsy, character, is able to become a pretty good spy, or pass as one for a while, and save the day against an elite criminal organization, all while keeping this from all of his friends. Also, the story of a cool, sleek newcomer, usurping the position of the old favorite, is a story we’ve seen in Toy Story.

So here is my proposal to you. The Cars movies are all actually a series of games played by a child who loves his or her toy cars and basically only plays with those. You could argue that we see Andy playing with his toys in the Toy Story movies, but in Toy Story 3 we are shown the game as though it were really happening. So, the young child who is obviously a big fan of real life racing, invents the first game where a young car is the best racer, and should win the Piston Cup. But (maybe because of issues the kid is experiencing in his or her own life) McQueen is too cocky and impetuous, and ties with two other cars, and is forced to learn a bunch of lessons before actually racing.

The next game the child plays with his or her cars is a spy story, probably because the child saw a spy movie, and the environmentally conscious stuff in there is because he or she is learning about that at school. In the third game, his or her McQueen toy is older now, a little beat up, so he or she gets a new car, Jackson Storm, as a gift. McQueen is still the child’s favorite toy, but Storm is much cooler and faster, so the child starts favoring him over McQueen. But everyone loves an underdog, and McQueen is still the favorite, so he’ll get one last big ride.

I like this theory the best, and while it may not be the most likely, I think it’s definitely a possibility. For now, I did my best to solve the mystery that is Jackson Storm, but ultimately we’ll have to wait and see what Cars 3 has in store before making a definitive ruling.

What do you think is the deal with Jackson Storm? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

Images Courtesy Disney Pixar and Summit Entertainment

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