Netflix revealed last fall that they’re moving forward with a Cowboy Bebop live-action TV series and we had things go on hiatus for it back in October of last year due to John Cho’s on-set injury. And then a pandemic happened, so things are still not quite where they need to be. But, that said, the folks at io9 got to spend some time with one of the writers, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, to find out how the show is being looked at. Check the link for more but this expansion is a natural thing as anybody expecting a 1:1 adaptation was going to be disappointed.
You can’t look at Cowboy Bebop and say, “Well, it’s just a take-off point. We’re going to give them different hair and different clothing, and we’re gonna call it something different. And it’s just sort of gonna be a loose thing.” If you’re doing Cowboy Bebop, you’re doing Cowboy Bebop. You know? It’s kind of like doing Star Wars.
Being a sci-fi nerd in the ‘90s meant you’d sit there and watch a show, and for the first act, you’re usually just getting information you already know. Flash forward to like almost 30 years later and TV is weird now, like TV is batshit crazy right now. It is hard to tell people how weird Game of Thrones is to me, having grown up in a world where the thing most like Game of Thrones was a show called Wizards and Warriors that was on CBS in the late ‘80s. We can be weird. We can look at anime and take design cues out of anime.
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. 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.
The first two episodes have Alex Garcia Lopez directing the cast which includes John Cho as Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine, and Alex Hassell as Vicious. Elena Satine will play Julia.
Spike is described as “an impossibly cool ‘cowboy’ (bounty hunter) with a deadly smile, a wry wit and style to spare. He travels the solar system with his ex-cop partner, Jet, pursuing the future’s most dangerous bounties with a combination of charm, charisma — and deadly Jeet Kune Do.” Jet’s described as “one of the few honest cops in the solar system before an ultimate betrayal robbed him of all that he loved, forcing him into a vagabond life of hunting bounties to put food on the table. Jet is an inveterate jazz enthusiast and captain of the Bebop.”
Tomorrow Studios is working with ITV Studios to bring this to fruition. Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenberg will executive producer along with Sunrise in Japan. Tomorrow Studios’ producers include Marty Adelstein (Good Behavior, Prison Break) and Becky Clements (Good Behavior, Aquarius); as well as Matthew Weinberg. Chris Yost (Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok).
Chris Yost, who has worked on a wide range of animated features and is the writer behind the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok, is set to pen the script for it.
“We are excited to work with Sunrise in bringing this beloved anime to the U.S. and global marketplace as a live-action series,” said Adelstein back in summer 2017. “The animated version has long resonated with audiences worldwide, and with the continued, ever growing, popularity of anime, we believe a live action version will have an incredible impact today.”
Plot Concept: The Bebop crew is just trying to make a buck. This motley lot of intergalactic loners teams up to track down fugitives and turn them in for cold hard cash. Spike is a hero whose cool facade hides a dark and deadly past. The pilot Jet is a bruiser of a brute who can’t wait to collect the next bounty. Faye Valentine is a femme fatale prone to breaking hearts and separating fools from their money. Along for the ride are the brilliant-but-weird hacker Ed and a super-genius Welsh Corgi named Ein. On their own, any one of them would be likely to get lost in the sprawl of space, but together, they’re the most entertaining gang of bounty hunters in the year 2071.