Four years after Netflix announced that work had begun on a live-action adaptation of the genre-defying anime series, Cowboy Bebop, the streaming giant announced the premiere date.
Created by Sunrise Inc., Cowboy Bebop ran as a 26-episode limited animated series in 1999, and a full-length theatrical film was released in 2001. Netflix's series will adapt the beloved neo-noir anime with John Cho playing as the space cowboy Spike Spiegel.
The anime series directed by Shinichirō Watanabe blends its musical style with space opera, cyberpunk, western, comedy, and noir, and it inspired a worldwide cult fanbase. The jazzy soundtrack by Japanese band Seatbelts also hooked fans. Cowboy Bebop premiered with an English dub on Adult Swim in 2001, expanding its fanbase beyond the Japanese audience.
Netflix and Tomorrow Studios (Snowpiercer) are co-producing the live-action adaptation with a development period dating back to 2017, and now a release date was finally confirmed as well as more details about the show.
Cowboy Bebop plot: What is this sci-fi story about?
Set in 2071, fifty years after an accident with a hyperspace gateway made the Earth almost uninhabitable, humanity has colonized most of the rocky planets and moons of the solar system.
The protagonist Spike Spiegel travels across the galaxy in search of jobs, leading a team of bounty hunters on a spaceship called the Bebop. The space cowboy is joined by a grizzled ex-cop named Jet Black; the con artist, Faye Valentine; the teenage hacker, Edward, and a corgi with enhanced abilities, Ein.
The series focused on Spiegel's rivalry with Vicious, an ambitious criminal affiliated with the Red Dragon Syndicate. They used to be partners and friends, but when Spike started having an affair with Vicious's girlfriend Julia and decided to leave the Syndicate with her, Vicious sought to eliminate Spike by blackmailing Julia into murdering him. Spike faked his death, and Julia went into hiding. In the present, the two reuinite, but things take a tragic turn.
In an interview with Polygon, showrunner Andre Namec discussed the show's multicultural focus.
"I think anybody who's a fan of Cowboy Bebop knows that Cowboy Bebop presents a multicultural view of the future, and so you will see elements of all cultures," Namec said. "It's not a dystopian world presented in the anime. It's a very beautiful imagining of a future. People are more bonded. It's a cowboy show — so they're a little violent, and people kill each other, and life is a little cheap — but the multiculturalism of the anime is what we translated to the screen as well."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner André Nemec explained that the live-action show will not be a direct adaptation, and that it's an "expansion to the canon" that will "add things" to the anime's mythos.
"I promise we will never take the original anime away from the purists. It will always exist out there," Nemec said. "But I'm very excited about the stories that we're telling. I believe we've done a really nice job of not violating the canon in any direction but merely offering some extra glimpses into the world that was already created."
In an interview with Polygon, Nemec explained that every episode of the series will nod to the anime in subtle ways, and said that he and his team considered how they could "build out the continuing stories of Spike Spiegel and Jet Black and Faye Valentine while also mining their past stories from the anime".
Netflix's Cowboy Bebop cast: Who will star in the live-action adaptation?
Cowboy Bebop stars John Cho as Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage) as Jet Black, Daniella Pineda (Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom) as Faye Valentine, Alex Hassel (The Boys) as Vicious, and Elena Satine (Revenge) as Julia.
Here's a photo of Spike, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine:
Here's a photo of Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black:
John Cho as Spike Spiegel:
In addition to the main cast, the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop also stars Tamara Tunie (Black Earth Rising) as jazz club proprietor Ana; Geoff Stults (12 Strong) as Jet Black's former co-directive Chalmers; Mason Alexander Park (Hedwig) as Ana's right-hand person Gren; Rachel House (Thor: Ragnarok) as White Tigers family memberMao; Hoa Xuande (Ronny Chieng: International Student) and Ann Truong (Strikeback!) as Vicious' henchment Lin and Shin respectively.
During an interview with Vulture, Cho admitted that he hadn't watched the Cowboy Bebop anime series before Netflix offered him the role of Spike.
In an interview with Polygon, showrunner Andre Nemec discussed the "perfect casting" of the show, and went into detail on how John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda are perfect for their roles.
In a video shared by Netflix Geeked, the three main stars of the show described their characters.
On Oct. 28, Netflix shared three new character posters featuring John Cho as Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, and Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine.
Of course, the cutest member of the Cowboy Bebop cast, Ein deserves his own spotlight. During Netflix TUDUM global fan event, Netflix shared a promo featuring the "data dog" sitting in his own cast seat on the set of Cowboy Bebop.
Will Edward show up in the live-action Cowboy Bebop series?
While the rest of the crew have been cast, Edward, the young and eccentric girl skilled in hacking, has not been publicly cast. The major character from the original anime series has been absent in trailers and promotional images for the Netflix series, and fans are wondering if she will appear in the show.
In September 2021, showrunner André Nemec addressed fans' concerns about the character, saying, "Ed - everybody wants to know about Ed. People will be ... very delighted when they watch the season."
On November 19, Netflix has finally revealed information about Ed's involvement in the series, revealing that Ed Perkins has taken on the role of the hacker who joins the bounty hunting team, and it's likely that they will get a larger role if the live-action Cowboy Bebop returns for a second season.
Cowboy Bebop release date: When will the live-action adaptation premiere on Netflix?
Netflix announced that the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop will premiere on November 19, 2021.
The official release date was confirmed during the 2021 Geeked Week event, where Netflix also confirmed that the original series composer Yoko Kanno will return to provide new music for the live-action series.
Netflix shared a clip that features cast members jamming to the original theme song of the anime. In the style of the show's closing "See You Space Cowboy" script, the text reads, "See You This Fall...".
Cowboy Bebop trailer: Has Netflix released a trailer for the live-action adaptation?
Update: On Oct. 26, Netflix released the first full trailer for its live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop:
On Oct. 19, Netflix has released a new teaser titled Lost Session, which features Bebop's trio of bounty hunters in stylish action-packed scenes. You can watch it below:
The streamer also revealed that the first full trailer is expected to release on Oct. 26, so stay tuned! There will be a special live-stream event with special guests to celebrate the release of the new trailer.
Netflix will be hosting a global event called Tudum on Sept. 25, and it's likely that the streamer will debut the first trailer for the live-action Cowboy Bebop that day.
According to the Tudum: Netflix Global Fan Event schedule, the opening sequence featuring John Cho as Spike Spiegel and the highly-anticipated music from Yoko Kanno will debut on Sept. 25.
The first official poster for Cowboy Bebopwas shared by Netflix ahead of the Tudum event, and it features Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine.
Related News For Netflix's Cowboy Bebop:
- Cowboy Bebop Costume Designer Felt 'Resistant' to Make Faye Valentine 'Overtly Sexualized' like her Anime Version
- Cowboy Bebop Original Anime Cast Returns for Live-Action Netflix Series