No, this isn’t a dream.
Netflix just dropped the first official images for its upcoming live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, and fans of the original groundbreaking anime series will not be disappointed. The first photos from the show give us a glimpse of John Cho as the glacially-chill hitman-turned-bounty-hunter Spike Spiegel, who looks to be up to his usual crime-fighting, chaos-causing hijinks with the help of best friend and spaceship captain Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), grifter con-artist Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda), and, of course, a Corgi named Ein.
Along with these new photos, Netflix has also revealed when fans should expect to see Cho don his blue leisure suit and demonstrate some Jeet Kune Do a**-kicking skills. The series is set to premiere on November 19th on the streaming platform. And because we know audiences will want to hang out and waste their lives bingeing this series, we figured we’d give a bit of background on these space cowboys and what fans can expect when their journey begins later this year.
Here’s everything we know (so far) about Cowboy Bebop.
What’s The Story?
The original anime aired all the way back in 1999, but this new live-action adaptation seems to be sticking close to its source material. The show follows Spike Spiegel, a too-cool assassin who used to work for a crime syndicate but now earns his way by hopping from planet to planet, hunting bad guys, and reaping the monetary rewards. The O.G. anime took on a more episodic approach to Spike’s journey — tagging along as he went after a new big bad each episode — but this version should incorporate some of the bigger storylines involving Spike’s search for his missing girlfriend and his violent feud with fellow syndicate henchman Viscious (Alex Hassell).
Javier Grillo-Marxuach, one of the show’s writers and the executive producer, recently told io9 that his team intended to expand some of the show’s broader character beats while holding onto the wild, adventurous spirit of the original.
“We’re not going to go one-to-one on all of those stories because we’re also trying to tell the broader story of Spike Spiegel and the Syndicate, Spike Spiegel and Julia, Spike Spiegel and Vicious, and all that,” Grillo-Marxuach said. “But we are looking at the show and saying, ‘Who are some of the great villains in this show, and how can we put them into this into this broader narrative?’ So that we are telling both of the big stories that Cowboy Bebop tells.”
Who Are The Main Players?
John Cho is obviously the most important name on the call sheet as he’s bringing the beloved chain-smoking anti-hero to life. Historically, live-action anime adaptations have tended to white-wash their main characters, but, thankfully, Cowboy Bebop seems to be shirking that trend. Instead, Cho will play the charismatic yet-deadly bounty hunter whose wry wit is almost as sharp as his aim. Along with Cho, Mustafa Shakir has come on board to play Jet Black, an ex-cop who captains the Bebop. Black is intense, driven, and loyal to his friends. He’s also a jazz enthusiast with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Rounding out the trio is Daniella Pineda’s Faye Valentine. Faye didn’t pop up until later sessions in the original anime, but it looks like she’ll become a member of the group a bit earlier in this live-action version. Faye’s ruthless, cunning, and a bit of a foil for Spike. She also suffers from amnesia, spending a large amount of her time in the original series trying to uncover the truth about her past.
How Long Is It?
The show’s first season is reportedly 10 episodes long with each episode clocking in at around 55 minutes. That’s a definite change from the anime, which delivered the adventures of Spike and his crew in 24-minute episodes called sessions. The time difference is most likely to make room for more world-building and character study, as the live-action adaptation seems intent on setting up the story of this “family” of bounty hunters to go past just one season.
Who’s Behind It?
In even more good news, plenty of creators from the original anime have signed to consult and contribute to this series. Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of the original anime, has been involved in the story-building process, and composer Yoko Kanno, who crafted the original’s jazz-infused iconic opening number, has been tapped to work her musical magic again. Christopher Yost (Thor: Ragnarok), André Nemec (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), and Jeff Pinkner (Venom) serve as writers and showrunners with the studio behind the anime coming on board to help produce.
What Can Fans Expect?
When it first landed, Cowboy Bebop revolutionized the genre, giving anime fans a strangely addictive amalgam of classic Western-meets-space-opera-meets-crime-noir, all wrapped up in a devastatingly doomed love story. It was wild and weird and one-of-a-kind, with characters like Spike Spiegel cracking jokes one minute, before launching into profoundly deep monologues about the connection between the past and present, the next. This live-action version should be tonally similar since many of the characters from the anime — like Julia (Elena Satine), Spike’s long-lost love, and Vicious, his ultimate nemesis — have big roles to play but we should know more once the first trailer drops. Until then, enjoy some of these teasers from the cast (human and canine), and some more first-look photos.
Yoko Kanno, the composer behind the iconic soundtrack of the original COWBOY BEBOP anime will be creating the soundtrack for the new Live Action Series. Also confirmed…Cowboy Bebop is coming this Fall. #GeekedWeek pic.twitter.com/6lHZQcoFR6
— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) June 8, 2021