Hot Wheels: Highway 35/Acceleracers (partially 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 bloc.k 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 Footage
In 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. Some scenes have resurfaced in Spanish, including an extended intro that features the drivers introducing themselves to the audience. One scene has yet to resurface in any language is a short clip where a character named Dan Dresden says "Yeah, I'm willing to put aside competition...for now."
- 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
- Action figure prototypes
- The unreleased prototype of Titanium
- reddit post showing an anonymous person who worked on the season 2 conception.
- The Accelepedia article on the deleted scenes. Retrieved 22 Nov '17