Hot Wheels: Highway 35/Acceleracers (found work on animated film; early-mid 2000s)
In 2003, Toy Maker Mattel celebrated the 35th anniversary of their world famed Hot Wheels toy line with the release of a 2 hour CGI movie entitled Hot Wheels Highway 35: World Race. It was released on DVD and was later aired on the Toonami Saturday Video Entertainment System programming block. The film, accompanying video game and toyline were a smash hit and ensured a sequel two years later in 2005, as a series of TV films aired on Toonami as Hot Wheels: Acceleracers, which involves some returning characters and new characters fighting against the evil Robotic Racing Drones in mysterious alien worlds known as Racing Realms.
Despite Mattel's intentions of the line being apart of a "aging up initiative" for the Hot Wheels line, many older fans of Highway 35 and various casual viewers loathed it for the darker tone in the story, the convoluted broadcast time and feeling it lacked the heart of Highway 35 (including Toonami themselves, going as far to referring the show as "Mattel's Bionicle"). Along with poor toy-sales and Mainframe's budgetary problems that led to them shutting down and reform as Rainmaker Entertainment, the show ended on its 4th episode The Ultimate Race with a cliffhanger.
Acceleracers Season 2 Cancellation
Starting in 2005, as the third and fourth installments were airing, Hot Wheels had plans for a second season of Acceleracers. Concepts that Hot Wheels created for it included transforming vehicles, the return of character "Banjee Castillo", and more realms. The Hot Wheels design team designed and made prototypes of a few vehicles for a standard 1:64 vehicle line, as well as a larger scale toy line that featured action figures and transforming vehicles. Patents have surfaced of the transformable vehicles. Images for the action figures have surfaced online, as well as a prototype image of the unreleased vehicle "Titanium". It has also been stated that Takara helped with the transforming designs. Due to a rotating marketing team at Mattel during the conception, the project was ultimately cancelled before any film was put into production by Mainframe Entertainment.
Unresurfaced Highway 35 Extended FootageIn addition, episode 4 of Acceleracers prequel Highway 35 had a rare VCD release in Southeast Asia that contained extended and deleted scenes from the episode. One scene is a short clip where a character named Dan Dresden says
"Yeah, I'm willing to put aside competition...for now."
On May 4th, 2020. YouTube user Ferrashi posted the lost scenes of Episode 4 to YouTube in English nearly 17 years since it originally aired. The source of the scene is from a rare DVD release of Episode 4 bundled in with the Hot Wheels Hot Hits Volume 5 CD. The first volume of this CD series released in at least America and Australia in April 2003 with only the CD and a CD-ROM, with subsequent releases being available only in Australia. Volumes 2 to 5 contained Episodes 1 to 4 of the World Race on DVD.
- The Toonami Wikia article on the block. Retrieved 22 Nov '17
- The Toonami Wikia article on Hot Wheels Acceleracers. Retrieved 22 Nov '17
- A YouTube video explaining the negative reaction of Hot Wheels Acceleracers. Retrieved 22 Nov '17
- Transforming vehicle patent. Retrieved 02 May '19
- Action figure prototypes. Retrieved 02 May '19
- The unreleased prototype of Titanium. Retrieved 02 May '19
- A Reddit post showing an anonymous person who worked on the season 2 conception. Retrieved 02 May '19
- Archived Accelepedia article on the deleted scenes. Retrieved 04 Jan '21