Paul Newman as Doc Hudson and Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen in 'Cars'
(Disney Pixar)

Looking Back at the Reason Behind Doc Hudson’s Absence From the ‘Cars’ Sequels

An avid and accomplished car racer himself, Paul Newman played the role of the legendary Doc Hudson in the 2006 animated blockbuster Cars, but where was he in the sequels?

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Hudson is shown to be a navy-blue 1951 Hudson Hornet, which is later revealed to be the legendary “Fabulous Hudson Hornet.” A former dirt track racer and Piston Cup legend, Doc Hudson serves as Radiator Springs’ judge and doctor (mechanic) after retirement. After initial resentment towards the film’s protagonist, Lightning McQueen, Hudson eventually warms up to him and even becomes his mentor.

Fans were discontent to find out that the character of Doc Hudson wasn’t included in the sequel, Cars 2 (2011), as it robbed the film of a character with a commanding screen presence. In the film, it is implied that Hudson died a few years before the events of the second film, which was a consequence of Newman’s unfortunate death in 2008. The reason behind Hudson’s apparent death is not revealed in the movie.

While Newman’s character doesn’t physically appear in Cars 2, a newspaper clipping of Hudson can be seen inside the Hudson Hornet Racing Museum, which is commemorated in place of his old clinic. To pay homage to him, the Piston Cup Trophy is renamed the Hudson Hornet Piston Cup.

The character was accommodated in Cars 3 through flashback sequences, as the filmmakers utilized the archived records of Paul Newman. Doc Hudson can be seen in the film credits, when his black-and-white picture makes an appearance.

Newman’s own love for racing was depicted in the 2015 documentary Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman, made by Adam Carolla and Nate Adams. It is based on the book of the same name by Mat Stone and Preston Lerner and gives an insight into the 35-year racing career of Newman, both as a driver and an owner.

Cars is available to stream on Disney+. Interested viewers can also buy the film on Apple TV, Amazon Video, Vudu, the Microsoft Store, Google Play, and YouTube.

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Evan Tiwari
Evan is a staff writer at The Mary Sue, contributing to multiple sections, including but not limited to movies, TV shows, gaming, and music. He brings in more than five years of experience in the content and media industry, both as a manager and a writer. Outside his working hours, you can either catch him at a soccer game or dish out hot takes on his Twitter account.