To answer the first and most important question about any new live-action Speed Racer creation: No, the Wachowskis are not involved. The next version of Speed Racer comes from Apple TV+, executive producer J.J. Abrams, and writers/co-showrunners Ron Fitzgerald (co-creator of the new Perry Mason) and Hiram Martinez (a producer and writer on Snowpiercer).
Will it be candy-colored and bright? Will the villain be capitalism? Or will we get a dark and gritty Speed Racer that takes its cues from, say, the Fast and/or Furious franchise? So much remains to be seen.
Speed Racer is, of course, the story of the race car driver Speed Racer and his family: Pops Racer, Spritle Racer, and presumed-dead-but-maybe-not older brother Rex Racer. Also Speed has a girlfriend, Trixie, and Spritle has a pet chimpanzee, Chim-Chim. Speed Racer’s saga began life as a manga series, Mach GoGoGo, created by Tatsuo Yoshida; it became a Japanese animated series that began airing in the U.S. in 1967. In the ’90s, Speed Racer aired briefly on MTV and then the Cartoon Network, ensuring a whole new generation of kids grew up with the theme song occasionally stuck in their heads.
In 2008, the Wachowski sisters wrote and directed a live-action Speed Racer movie (pictured above), starring Emile Hirsch in the title role, Christina Ricci as Trixie, Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer, John Goodman as Pops Racer, and Matthew Fox as the mysterious Racer X. Many people did not really get the film, to put it gently. But Emmet Asher-Perrin makes a powerful case that it deserves cult classic status.
Very little is known about the Apple Speed Racer series, which is one of many, many projects Abrams and his Bad Robot have in the works (including Justice League Dark for HBO Max and a fancy sci-fi drama, Demimonde, for HBO). Will this one race to glory or get stuck in the pit?