Is ‘Cowboy Bebop’ getting a live-action remake? Learn Netflix’s plans
Even people who aren’t fans of anime have probably heard of Cowboy Bebop, it’s just one of those amazingly perfect series that transcends everything. For those of you who don’t know what Cowboy Bebop is, go watch it right now. It’s on Hulu and like other streaming services as well. The 1998 anime, basically, follows the bounty hunting crew of the ship Bebop over the course of 26 episodes.
While this sci-fi, noir, and western mash-up sound simple enough on the surface, Cowboy Bebop is considered revolutionary for the time. It explored themes of existentialism, loneliness, trying to escape one’s past, amongst other topics. The series is considered a sort of gateway anime and a masterpiece of the genre. The lead character Spike Spiegel is one of the most recognizable anime characters of all time.
No wonder Netflix wanted to make a live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop. Fans are excited for the series, but also weary. Let’s be real, live-action versions of anime in the West have not gone well. Yes, we’re looking directly at the godawful adaptation of Death Note that Netflix did a couple of years ago.
So here’s everything you need to know about the series!
John Cho (Star Trek, Harold & Kumar) will star in the series as Spike Spiegel. Spiegel is an exiled former hitman from the Red Dragon Syndicate turned bounty hunter. Mustaga Shakir (Luke Cage) will play the captain of the Bebop, Jet Black, a former officer for the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP), who basically acts as Spike’s foil over the course of the series.
Daniella Pineda (The Detour) plays Faye Valentine, an amnesiac con-woman who just sort of shows up on the Bebop and never leaves. No word has been given on who has been cast as Edward Wong, a free spirit 13-year-old girl who is a hacker prodigy and mechanic for the crew. There’s also Ein, who is a Welsh corgi of human intelligence and absolutely adorable. (Look at the video above and die of cute!)
While not part of the Bebop, there’s also Vicious, played by Alex Hassell (The Red Sea Diving Resort), who is Spike’s former partner-in-crime and current nemesis. See Spike fell in love with Vicious’ girlfriend Julia, played by Elena Satine (Revenge), and things got messy, ending with them faking their deaths and going into hiding from Vicious. It’s a wild show.
Other casting news
Cowboy Bebop has a robust cast outside of its main group. There were a lot of casting announcements made for the live-action series. One of the most exciting ones was for the character of Gren, an early and popular depiction of LGBTQ+ characters in anime. For the live-action series, the character has been updated and made officially non-binary with they/them pronouns. Non-binary actor Mason Alexander Park will be playing them.
Others joining the cast of Cowboy Bebop are Geoff Stults (Elisted) as Jet’s former ISSP partner, Chalmers, Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: SVU) as Gren’s boss Ana, Rachel House (Thor: Ragnorak) as Mao, and Ann Troung (Strike Back) and Hoa Xuande (Top of the Lake) as Shin and Lin.
Wait, didn’t John Cho hurt himself or something?
John Cho did, in fact, hurt himself shortly into filming the series. This was before the dumpster fire of 2020 really kicked into high gear. Production had to shut down as Cho injured his knee pretty badly, which set back Cowboy Bebop’s production by half a year. At the time, they had three finished episodes and, at least, six-shot before the injury occurred.
The episodes, unlike the anime, are going to be about an hour-long, which promises really diving into the characters. Cowboy Bebop resumed production in New Zealand in Sept. 2020 after the government gave them the greenlight following their COVID-19 shutdown with appropriate protocols being followed on set.