Apple has had a ton of success with their original series, and it looks like they just found their next potential hit. According to Variety, a live-action Speed Racer series is in the works at Apple with the adaptation already receiving a series order. J.J Abrams will be executive producing the project for his Bad Robot Banner. A Banner which is currently under contract at Warner Brothers. Ron Fitzgerald and Hiram Martinez will write and executive produce the series along with serving as co-showrunners.
Speed Racer is a property that has been popular for the last five decades. What started out as a manga titled Mach GoGoGo in 1966 quickly turned into a hit anime in 1967. When the original series debuted, it helped popularize the medium in the United States. The series, which comprised over 50 episodes, followed the adventures of race car driver Speed Racer and his now iconic ride, the Mach 5. His crew consists of “his father and car builder Pops Racer, his little brother Spritle and his pet chimpanzee Chim-Chim, and Speed’s girlfriend Trixie. Speed also frequently crosses paths with the mysterious Racer X, who is secretly Speed’s older brother Rex Racer.” The series received new life when Nickelodeon aired the Japanese remake of Speed Racer with English dubs in 2002.
This would lead to the franchise’s first live-action film in 2008 written and directed by The Wachowskis. Emile Hirsch starred in the title role and, while it was panned by critics at the time, it is definitely a unique futuristic take on the franchise that warrants a second look. This film also led to a new series Speed Racer: The Next Generation on Nickelodeon which ran for two seasons. While the franchise has been mostly dormant since then, the anime has been referenced and parodied countless times over the years, most famously in The Fairly OddParents TV movie “Channel Chasers”.
Speed Racer is prime for a new series and there is a lot you can do with this property given the technology we have today. The anime was best known for its quirky characters that had some of the best overreactions in animation history, classic theme song, somewhat violent over-the-top action, and the look of the Mach 5. The Mach 5 is one of the most well-known cars in all entertainment, and it will be exciting to see what Abrams has in store for this world.
There is a lot of talent behind this project with Fitzgerald co-creating the Perry Mason series for HBO, and he has worked on series like Westworld, Weeds, and Friday Night Lights. Martinez has worked on acclaimed series like Snowpiercer, The Last Ship, and Snowfall. Adams, on the other hand, has been hard at work on other upcoming series like HBO Max’s Justice League Dark and Netflix’s U2 scripted series.
This Speed Racer live-action series has been in development for a while now. Because of that, on top of it now having a series order, we should hear more news regarding the series soon. Like whom will be stepping into the cockpit of the Mach 5. Until then, you can stream the original Speed Racer series on Crunchyroll now.