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Go, ‘Speed Racer,’ Go! Apple TV+ Orders Live-Action New Series From J.J. Abrams

Writer-showrunners Ron Fitzgerald and Hiram Martinez will also serve as executive producers

“Speed Racer” is revving its engines once again.

Apple TV+ has ordered a new live-action “Speed Racer” series from executive producer J.J. Abrams and his company, Bad Robot. The new series will written and showrun by Ron Fitzgerald and Hiram Martinez, who also serve as executive producers. It will be produced by Warner Bros. Television.

This new show will be based on the “Speed Racer” property, which began as a comic book (or manga) series that ran from 1966 to 1968, as well as an influential anime that ran from 1967–68. Since then, there have been countless spinoffs, remakes and continuations, from a new animated series in the 1990s to the starry live-action Wachowskis film in 2008.

What’s particularly interesting about this project is that Abrams has long been tied to the franchise. In fact, in the spring of 1994, when Abrams was just 28, he wrote a draft for a live-action feature based on the material. (This was during the initial development phase by American superproducer Joel Silver; Johnn Depp was interested in playing Speed Racer and Julien Temple was attached to direct.)

Whether or not Abrams will go back to his 1994 draft remains to be seen. The original anime series followed Speed Racer, an incredible racer who also gets involved going up against various villains, facing off against the mysterious Racer X and getting into some oversized comic mischief with the rest of his family.

All of this was lovingly brought to the screen in the Wachowskis version, which took an inventive, nearly-animated approach to the material but was largely remembered as a critical and commercial disappointment, notoriously grossing only $43 million domestically on a reported $120 million budget. So maybe Abrams has a new approach that garnered Apple TV+’s attention.

Fitzgerald is a veteran of Abrams’ “Westworld” and created the terrific new “Perry Mason” for HBO, which Martinez also worked on. Martinez also worked on “Snowpiercer,” “Get Shorty” and “The Last Ship.”

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