A TV series reboot of the Herbie franchise is reportedly in the works at Disney XD. The long-running franchise first hit screens in the '60s, and since then has enjoyed multiple movies and a short-lived TV series. Most recently, Herbie appeared in 2005's Herbie: Fully Loaded, starring Lindsay Lohan - a miserable flop of a movie that put the Love Bug franchise back to sleep for another decade.
However, the concept about a sentient race car is seemingly just too cute to put down entirely, as Disney continues to reboot (or simply continue) the franchise every decade or so. The latest potential incarnation of the franchise comes in the form of a small-screen series, a reboot starring a kid who uses the car to try to find their parents.
According to a report from TVLine, the reboot is being considered for the Disney XD channel, with Travis Braun writing and executive producing alongside Tom Burkhard and Matt Dearborn. The series will revolve around a kid named either Lili or Landon Reed, whose gender has not yet been decided by the network.
Lili/Landon is “part scientist, part entrepreneur, part daredevil” and realizes, when her/his parents go missing, that they’ve secretly been working on a government project: a talking car named Herbie. Herbie is key to helping the kid reunite with her/his parents, but a gang of criminals also wants to get its paws on the state-of-the-art vehicle.
This concept changes quite a bit about the earlier Herbie's origin stories. In the made-for-TV-movie The Love Bug, it was established that Herbie was created by a German engineer, and given his sentience and personality when a photo of the engineer's wife falls into a vat of the molten metal used to build him. A government project would certainly update this origin story (and make it significantly more believable than 'magic love'). The description given also suggests that there will not necessarily be a romantic relationship at the core of the new series - something that has usually happened in previous incarnations.
Of course, this isn't a full or official synopsis, and it's clear that the project is still very much in the development stages. Shifting focus from the romantic comedy angle to a spunky kid searching for his parents with a car-shaped friend is also a great new direction for a series aimed at pre-teens, and is sure to leave plenty of room for wholesome lessons to be taught. However, there are bound to be those who believe that this franchise has been rebooted more than enough, and that Disney would be better off creating an entirely new series, rather than trying to breathe new life into old Herbie.
Herbie does not currently have a premiere date.