'Speed Racer' Retooled for Nicktoons
Update will feature a robot Chim-Chim and the Mach 6
Lionsgate is pimping its anime ride to create an all-new version of the 1960s animated series "Speed Racer" for Nicktoons, Nickelodeon's 24-hour cartoon channel.
According to trade papers, the cartoon will update the franchise with a look at the next generation, a young Speed Racer who attends a racing academy and learns that he's the son of the original Speed Racer. Like his father, Speed fils eventually discovers that he has a brother, the new Racer X, and impresses everyone with his Mach 6 -- an upgrade from dad's Mach 5 and green to boot since it doesn't run on gas.
One of the plots in the initial 26 episodes will include the newfound brothers teaming up to prevent bad guys from stealing the Mach 6 and delving into who was responsible for their dad's disappearance.
Fans of the retro series will recognize Spritle, the elder Speed Racer's younger brother, who is now acting as the academy's headmaster. Chim-Chim the chimpanzee appears also, but not because he discovered some ape fountain of youth. Instead, he will show up as a mechanical robot.
Peter Fernandez, who provided the voice for many of the original cartoon's characters, including Speed, will voice the adult Spritle.
"Speed Racer" originated as a Japanese anime franchise that became popular in the U.S. beginning 1967. A live-action, theatrical version directed by the Wachowski brothers is also in the works, scheduled for release around the same time the cartoon launches next year.