Two years after the latest attempt to adapt the Japanese science-fiction animated series Cowboy Bebop was first announced, Netflix revealed on Thursday that its co-production with Tomorrow Studios had a cast. Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage), Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), and Alex Hassell (Suburbicon) were all included in the streamer’s announcement, as was series lead John Cho (Star Trek), who has signed on to play the lead, Spike Spiegel, in the new series. So yeah, people are losing it.
And when I write “losing it,” what I really mean is, “so unbelievably happy.” Cowboy Bebop, which is described by the press release as a “jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of a rag-tag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts, as they hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals,” is a hugely popular title. Hollywood has been trying to adapt it for years, but with subsequent controversies about alleged whitewashing in the casting of similar properties, it’s been a slow process.
Now that Cho, a Korean-American actor, has been cast in the project (alongside an incredibly diverse cast, to boot), it seems that most people’s worries have immediately transformed into social media-driven excitement.
Of course, this is just a casting announcement for the 10-episode series order, the first two episodes of which will be directed by Daredevil and The Punisher alum Alex Garcia Lopez. Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg are serving as showrunners and executive producers, while Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok writer Christopher Yost is writing the pilot. What’s more, Shinichiro Watanabe, who directed the original Cowboy Bebop anime series, is consulting on the project.
All of this, taken together, sounds like ample grounds for a pretty decent adaptation of the source material. This doesn’t mean that some folks aren’t skeptical, because a few on Twitter are — but they still love Cho’s casting.