A “Speed Racer” live-action series is in the works at Apple with J.J. Abrams onboard as an executive producer, Variety has learned.
Apple has given the project, which has been in the works for a considerable amount of time, a series order. Ron Fitzgerald and Hiram Martinez are attached to write and executive produce in addition to serving as co-showrunners. Abrams will executive produce under his Bad Robot banner. Warner Bros. Television is the studio, where Bad Robot is under an overall deal.
“Speed Racer” follows the adventure of auto racer Speed Racer and his souped up car, the Mach 5. His team 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.
This would be the second live-action version of the iconic Japanese character, following the 2008 film written and directed by The Wachowskis and starring Emile Hirsch in the title role.
“Speed Racer” originated as a manga series created by Tatsuo Yoshida in the 1960s under the title “Mach GoGoGo.” It was then adapted into an anime series that debuted in the United States in 1967 as “Speed Racer.” The show proved incredibly popular stateside and is credited with helping to popularize anime in the country. Over 50 episodes of the original series were produced, with an English-language version of a Japanese remake airing on Nickelodeon beginning in 2002.
Fitzgerald most recently co-created the “Perry Mason” series at HBO and served as co-showrunner on the show’s first season. He has previously worked on shows like “Westworld,” “Weeds,” and “Friday Night Lights.” He is repped by WME and The Shuman Company.
Martinez’s previous credits include “The Last Ship,” the “Get Shorty” series, “Shut Eye,” the “Snowpiercer” series, and “Snowfall.” He is repped by WME and Goodman Genow.
“Speed Racer” is one of several high-profile TV projects that Abrams and Bad Robot are working on under their expansive overall deal. There is also the “Justice League Dark” series at HBO Max, which will be accompanied by “Constantine” and “Madame X” standalone shows. They are also at work on a scripted series about U2 at Netflix as well as the high-budget sci-fi drama “Demimonde” for HBO. The company also has the Apple series “My Glory Was I Had Such Friends” in the works starring Jennifer Garner, who previously starred in Abrams’ series “Alias.”