J.J. Abrams' Live-Action Speed Racer Show Is Happening, But What About Justice League Dark And His Other DC Projects?

Emilie Hirsch's Speed Racer driving through race
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

J.J. Abrams is a creative talent who’s left his mark on a lot of major properties, including Star Trek and Star Wars. Over the last several years though, Abrams has been entrenched in various DC Comics projects, including a Justice League Dark series in development for HBO Max and a Superman movie he’s producing that’s being written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. However, there haven’t been a lot of major updates on these DC projects lately, and today it’s been announced that now Abrams has a live-action Speed Racer series on the way.

Apple TV+ is putting together a Speed Racer show with J.J. Abrams, his Bad Robot production company and Warner Bros. Television. Snowpiercer’s Hiram Martinez and Westworld’s Ron Fitzgerald are writing the project, and according to Deadline, this version of Speed Racer is “going back to the original source material.” Although Speed Racer achieved popularity stateside as an animated TV show, it started off in the ‘60s as a manga series called Mach GoGoGo by Tatsuo Yoshida. The outlet also mentioned that this Speed Racer series that will be available to Apple TV+ subscribers is now staffing its writers room, with Martinez and Fitzgerald serving as the executive producers/co-showrunners.

This Speed Racer news arrived shortly after THR shared the news that Demimonde, the first show J.J. Abrams has written since Fringe, is “on the bubble” at HBO due to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav being “frustrated” by Bad Robot’s lack of output since its $250 million deal came together. Demimonde has been in the works since 2018, and Bad Robot is reportedly looking to spend over $200 million on it, which is even more than it cost to make the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel House of Dragons. Furthermore, THR mentioned that Warner Bros. Discovery isn’t pleased with Bad Robot for seizing a number of DC characters, but not getting any of the shows centered on said characters on the air. That said, Warners has apparently seen scripts for Constantine and the Madame X pilot, but it’s unclear where Justice League Dark stands.

These are just a handful of the projects that J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot have in the works for HBO/HBO Max, with others including the animated series Batman: Caped Crusader and the crime drama Duster. While Bad Robot’s deal with Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly not in jeopardy right now, the lack of output has apparently, as THR put it, “created a larger discussion” about what the latter company expects from the deal. A decision on if Demimonde will move forward is expected to be made later this week, but it’s hard to say at this point what the future holds in store for these live-action DC shows. It’s also unclear if Speed Racer… well, racing forward at Apple TV+ will have any bearing on what happens with Bad Robot’s relationship with Warner Bros. Discovery.

Apple TV+’s Speed Racer will be the second time this property has been adapted for live action. The first time was with the 2008 Speed Racer movie, which was directed by The Wachowskis and starred Emilie Hirsch as the title character. There have also been a handful of other animated TV shows that followed the original Speed Racer from the late ‘60s, along with various videos games and pieces of merchandise. The newest series is the latest Bad Robot project to be set up at Apple TV+, with past ones including Lisey’s Story and Little Voice.

CinemaBlend will keep you apprised on how Speed Racer is coming along at Apple TV+, as well as what ends up happening with any of J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot’s DC projects over at HBO/HBO Max. Fortunately for fans of this superhero franchise, there are all kinds of other upcoming DC TV shows coming down the pipeline, not to mention a lot of upcoming DC movies being primed.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.