There he goes, there goes Speed Racer, straight into the streaming wars.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, AppleTV+ has ordered a new, live action adaptation of Speed Racer to series. The original Japanese animated series, itself based on the Mach Go Go Go manga by Tatsuo Yoshida, ran from 1967 to ’68. It was imported to the US as Speed Racer, where it became part of Baby Boom children’s regular cartoon diet. The program told the story of a young, talented racer doing his best to win competitions and keep his family afloat. He also found himself involved in international espionage at times.
The new version will be produced by J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot with Snowpiercer veteran Hiram Martinez and Ron Fitzgerald serving as showrunners. Their take is said to be “exciting.”
Between this and the upcoming Godzilla series, it seems as though someone at AppleTV grew up on a steady diet of Japanese movies and shows. Maybe they’ll invest in western adaptations of Gamera or Gatchaman next. Joking aside, it is interesting to see the platform investing in quirky, but still well-known IP. Alone among the major streamers, Apple does not have an IP farm to develop from. Indeed, THR notes Speed Racer itself comes from Bad Robot’s overall deal at Warners, which also produced the Speed Racer feature film. But picking Japanese content which nonetheless strikes a chord with American TV watchers of a certain age is an interesting and compelling angle. Well, provided the material is good, of course.
As with all newly revealed or announced projects, it is unclear how soon Speed Racer will appear on the platform, but we look forward to seeing the powerful Mach 5 in action again.