By Jeff Labrecque
Updated November 16, 2010 at 07:20 PM EST

So last month’s Cars 2 teaser wasn’t a prank after all: Lightning McQueen and his rusty pal, Mater, actually steer into the world of espionage in the sequel to Pixar’s 2006 smash. The new trailer for Cars 2 has some clues, with McQueen trading the good ol’ boy NASCAR circuit for international Grand Prix racing. Somehow, this leads to intrigue when Mater and McQueen are confused for master spies, North by Northwest style. Yes, that’s Michael Caine as British operative, Finn MacMissile.

Caine’s Finn has a little more polish than Doc Hudson, but it looks as if he’ll be the voice of wisdom that Paul Newman’s Doc was in the original film. The trailer doesn’t hint at what becomes of Doc, and I’m curious how the film will address his absence, if at all. (Did Paul Newman’s passing have anything to do with the decision to move the sequel far, far away from Radiator Springs?) How would you feel if a different actor voices Doc in a brief cameo that ties up loose ends for the character? Recall that Pixar did just that for the late Jim Varney, who had played Slinky Dog, in Toy Story 3.

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