Cowboy Bebop, the title conjures film noir juxtapositioned with visions of outer space adventure and out-of-this-world ports of call and stories to match as the series follows the exploits of a small group of bounty hunters and the sticky situations they sometimes find themselves navigating.
As a tremendously enthused fan of the neo-noir, action-adventure, science fiction anime gem that is Cowboy Bebop, it’s difficult to say how thrilled, excited, and neurotically anxious I am at the news that a live-action adaptation of the beloved anime Cowboy Bebop is coming to Netflix. The anxiety, of course, comes from the possibility of all the things that can go wrong. Meaning it will not get done well and turn one of the best anime productions ever into an unrecognizable mess.
Last November Netflix announced plans for a live-action Cowboy Bebop series confirming the show has been in the works since last year, with Netflix ordering ten episodes. Shinichiro Watanabe, who directed the original anime, is serving as a consultant.
The original Japanese anime series launched in 1998 and took place in the year 2071, chronicling the lives of a bounty hunter crew hunting down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. The series ran for 26 episodes but enjoyed a long shelf-life, subsequently airing on Adult Swim in the U.S. An anime film adaptation was released in Japan in 2001 and the U.S. in 2003, and a decade ago Hollywood came calling and began trying to adapt Cowboy Bebop into a big studio movie. It’s encouraging to see western producers are finally catching on to the wealth of excellent genre material available in anime and manga.
The big news today is the announcement of the series cast.
Cho will star as Spike Spiegel, the personification of a cool, capable customer. Cho is known for his roles in the rebooted “Star Trek” film franchise as well as the “Harold and Kumar” films.
Shakir will play Jet Black, bionic-armed ex-cop. Shakir recently starred in Season 2 of the Marvel-Netflix series Luke Cage.
Pineda will play Faye Valentine, described as a bold, brash and unpredictable. Faye does whatever it takes to survive. Whether she’s lying, stealing, or just being a thorn in Spike and Jet’s side.
Hassell will play Vicious. Described as a man who thoroughly enjoys a good kill, Vicious is the Syndicate’s most notorious hitman. He’s also Spike Spiegel’s ex-partner and arch-enemy.
Radical Ed will also appear in the series, but the casting process for that character is ongoing.
Netflix picked up “Cowboy Bebop” for ten episodes back in November. The series is well-known to genre fans as the jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, and Radical Ed, a rag-tag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. They’ll even save the world for the right price.
Shinichiro Watanabe, director of the original anime, will serve as a consultant on the project. Christopher Yost, who previously penned Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok, will write the first episode and executive produce. Andre Nemec, Josh Appelbaum, Jeff Pinkner, and Scott Rosenberg of Midnight Radio will serve as executive producers. Yasuo Miyakawa, Masayuki Ozaki, and Shin Sasaki of Sunrise Inc.– the studio behind the original series–will also executive produce along with Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements of Tomorrow Studios, Tetsu Fujimura, and Matthew Weinberg. The series is a co-production between Netflix and Tomorrow Studios, with Netflix handling physical production.