In November 2018, Netflix announced it was working on an adaptation of one of the most beloved neo-noir space anime series, Cowboy Bebop. 

The jazz-infused space Western film chronicled a team of bounty hunters led by Spike Spiegel as they chased dangerous criminals of the Syndicate for the right price while simultaneously trying to outrun their past. The series debuted in 1998 and became so popular it was dubbed in English. 

The live-action adaptation is executive produced by André Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum and Scott Rosenberg of Midnight Radio, Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements of Tomorrow Studios, Makoto Asanuma, Shin Sasaki, and Masayuki Ozaki of Sunrise Inc to name a few.

Original series creator Shinichiro Watanabe will serve as a consultant, and original composer Yoko Kanno will also return for adaptation. The creators did right by casting John Cho (Star Trek, Harold, and Kumar) as the ultra-cool bounty hunter and saved themselves from the criticism of whitewashing the anime. 

Cho’s Spiegel will be joined by Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, Spike’s ex-cop partner, and Daniella Pineda as the ruthless Faye Valentine. Another cast member is Alex Hassell, who will star as Vicious, Spike’s nemesis and Syndicate’s top hitman. 

Release Date and First Look

The Netflix adaptation was initially slated for 2020, but because of the pandemic, production was halted, and to make matters worse, Cho suffered a knee injury while filming and had to recover. But on August 23, Netflix dropped the first look of its upcoming live-action series. 

As a bonus, Netflix also announced that the series would premiere on November 19.

In the first image revealed, the bounty hunting crew looked every bit like their anime counterparts as they posed on Bebop’s iconic yellow sofa. Cho was rocking Spike’s messy hair and signature blue and yellow suit while Jet’s cybernetic arm was in full view. 

Faye had the slightest wardrobe change but looked equally badass as her teammates.

Also in the cast but not shown is Hassell’s Vicious, Elena Satine, Julia, Spike’s former lover, and Edward, Cowboy Bebop’s resident hacker. Netflix has not yet mentioned who will reprise the role of Edward, a part of the main crew in the anime. 

Anime References


A post shared by John Cho (@johnthecho)

The handful of images strongly referenced Cowboy Bebop’s anime roots. Of course, only a true fan would understand what the images mean, but we will break down what some of the photos suggest. 

In the photo where Spike is seated on the yellow couch, he is most probably watching “Big Shot,” a broadcast throughout the Solar System for bounty hunters. 

In the frame where Spike is walking down the church aisle, it is likely a reference to the anime’s most famous scenes when Spike fights Vicious in the episode 'Ballad of Fallen Angels.'

And where Spike, Jet, Faye, and Ein, their genetically engineered corgi, are seen walking, they are most likely leaving C'est la vie, a bar and pool hall on Mars.