Forty years have passed since the cult-favorite Speed Racer began airing in US syndication. Two revival animated series were less than successful but there are high expectations for the upcoming big screen adaptation. To capitalize on the marketing of the live-action film, Speed is heading back to the small screen once again.
Lionsgate is announcing plans for its first animated series — a new version of Speed Racer for Nicktoons. Nickelodeon’s 24-hour cartoon channel has committed to run the initial 26 episodes starting next Spring. The new series will incorporate elements of the original while utilizing CG animation and more accurately synched voice-overs. Each set of three episodes will link together as “mini-movies.”
In the new series, a young Speed enters an elite racing academy. Once there, he discovers that he’s the son of the original and legendary Speed Racer — and that he also has a brother, the new Racer X. The siblings work together to stop thieves from stealing the Mach 6 (an update of the original Mach 5 speedster) and to solve the disappearance of their father.
The family ties continue with the senior Speed’s younger brother. Spritle is now the head of the racing academy and will be voiced by Peter Fernandez, the original U.S. voice of Speed. Spritle’s former monkey sidekick Chim-Chim will be a mechanical robot in the new show (not quite sure how that works). There’s been no mention of other original characters but I’d guess they’ll turn up.