All 6 ‘Cars’ Movies in Order (Including ‘Planes,’ Series & Short Films

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The ‘Cars’ franchise is an animated film series produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. The franchise is known for its anthropomorphic car characters and revolves around the world of sentient vehicles. The concept turned out to be so popular that the ‘Cars’ now features six movies in total (including ‘Planes’ spinoff) 5 short film series and two animated series.

Considering there’s much to cover, we decided to bring you a comprehensive watch order of an entire ‘Cars’ franchise.

Editor’s Note: This watch order was updated in November 2023 to include the most recent news regarding the franchise.

All 6 ‘Cars’ movies in release date order – including spinoffs, short films and series

The first ‘Cars’ movie was released in 2006 the movie received generally positive reviews from both critics and audiences. Critics praised the film for its animation quality, humor, and heartwarming story. However, some reviews noted that it didn’t reach the same level of storytelling innovation as other Pixar films. Nevertheless, that first movie grew into an entire franchise revolving around various vehicles spanning movies, series, shorts, video games, toys, and plenty of other merchandise. The following is the entire ‘Cars’ franchise in release date order:

  1. ‘Cars’ (2006)
  2. ‘Mater and the Ghostlight’ (2006) – Short Film
  3. ‘Cars Toons’ – TV series (2008-2014)
  4. ‘Cars 2’ (2011)
  5. ‘Planes’ (2013)
  6. ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ (2014)
  7. Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular’ (2014)- Short Film
  8. ‘Cars 3’ (2017)
  9. ‘Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool’ (2017) – Short Film
  10. ‘Dancing with the Cars’ (2021)- Short Film
  11. ‘Unparalleled Parking’ (2021)- Short Film
  12. ‘Cars on the Road’ (2022) TV Series

Are all ‘Cars’ & ‘Planes’ movies connected? What’s the best order to watch them in?

The ‘Cars’ and ‘Planes’ movies share thematic and stylistic similarities, but they are not directly connected in terms of narrative. Both franchises are produced by Pixar Animation Studios and share a world where vehicles are anthropomorphized and have their own personalities. ‘Cars’ primarily focuses on land-based vehicles, while ‘Planes’ expands the universe to include aircraft.

Although they exist in the same animated universe, the characters and storylines of ‘Cars’ and ‘Planes’ do not directly intersect. Each franchise has its own set of characters, with Lightning McQueen and Mater being central to ‘Cars,’ and Dusty Crophopper taking the lead in ‘Planes.’ While there are shared elements, such as the anthropomorphic vehicles and the world they inhabit, the two franchises operate as separate entities within the broader Pixar universe. The best order to watch installments is release date order.

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All ‘Cars’ & ‘Planes’ movies in chronological order

Since the ‘Cars’ & ‘Planes’ series are not directly connected, there’s no need to put them within the same continuity while you’re watching. As far as the greater narrative goes, only the ‘Cars’ films are important and follow a specific storyline, the TV shows are mostly stories that add nothing new to the continuity. The chronological order is as follows:

‘Cars’ continuity

cars movies
  1. ‘Cars’ (2006)
  2. ‘Mater and the Ghostlight’ (2006)- Short Film
  3. ‘Cars Toons’ – TV series (2008-2014)
  4. ‘Cars 2’ (2011)
  5. ‘Cars 3’ (2017)
  6. ‘Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool’ (2017) – Short Film
  7. ‘Dancing with the Cars’ (2021)- Short Film
  8. ‘Unparalleled Parking’ (2021)- Short Film
  9. ‘Cars on the Road’ (2022) TV Series

‘Cars’ follows Lightning McQueen’s journey from a self-centered race car to learning the value of friendship and community in the small town of Radiator Springs. In ‘Cars 2,’ Lightning gets involved in international espionage alongside his tow truck friend, Mater, as they uncover a plot to discredit alternative fuels. ‘Cars 3’ sees Lightning facing a new generation of high-tech racers, struggling after a crash, and ultimately embracing mentorship to pass on his racing wisdom. Throughout the trilogy, the films explore themes of friendship, humility, legacy, and personal growth.

‘Planes’ continuity

planes
  1. ‘Planes’ (2013)
  2. ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ (2014)
  3. Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular (2014)- Short Film

In the first movie, Dusty competes in the Wings Around the Globe rally despite his fear of heights. With the help of his friends, he overcomes challenges and ultimately wins the race.

In ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue,’ Dusty discovers a damaged gearbox that prevents him from racing. Instead, he decides to join a team of firefighting aircraft to help protect Piston Peak National Park from wildfires. Throughout the adventure, Dusty learns about teamwork and the importance of selflessness.

Where to watch the above-mentioned movies?

All movies and series in the ‘Cars’ & ‘Planes’ franchises can be streamed on Disney+. However, the shorts you’re going to have to find out YouTube.

Will there be more ‘Cars’ or ‘Planes’ movies?

The fourth ‘Cars’ movies has been discussed and many cast members expressed that they would love to returin however as of 2023, nothing came out of it. A third film in the ‘Planes’ series, tentatively titled ‘Beyond the Sky,’ was announced by John Lasseter in July 2017 to explore aviation in outer space, with a planned release date of April 12, 2019. However, the film was removed from the schedule in March 2018, and Disneytoon Studios, responsible for the ‘Planes’ series, was shut down in June 2018, ending development on the film and other planned spin-offs.

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