Speed Racer live-action series ordered at Apple TV Plus

A live-action Speed Racer series has been ordered at Apple TV Plus.

According to Variety (opens in new tab), the series, based on the manga-turned-anime Mach GoGoGo and its English-language counterpart, has been in the works for quite some time. J.J. Abrams will executive produce under his production company Bad Robot in conjunction with Warner Bros. Television. Ron Fitzgerald (Weeds, Friday Night Lights) and Hiram Martinez (Snowfall, Snow Piercer) will write, executive produce, and serve as co-showrunners.

Speed Racer popped up as a manga back in 1966 before being adapted into a 52-episode series in 1967 and another in 1997. An English-language version of the 1997 anime aired on Nickelodeon in 2002, followed by 3D-animated series Speed Racer: The Next Generation. The franchise follows the life and times of an auto racer named Speed Racer, his James Bond Aston Martin DB5-inspired race car, the Mach 5, and his pet monkey Chim-Chim. Speed is also accompanied by his dad, Pops Racer, his brother Spritle, and his girlfriend Trixie.

The first ever live-action adaptation of the franchise hit theaters in 2008, directed by the Wachowskis and starring Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, and Susan Sarandon. Though there was much praise for the cinematography and musical score, the film was a critical and box office failure. It has since gained a strong cult following. Though rumors of a sequel have made the rounds for many years – largely due in part to a now-deleted tweet (opens in new tab)from Hirsch himself – the Wachowskis reportedly have no involvement in the Apple TV Plus adaptation.

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