‘Cowboy Bebop’ Netflix Live-Action Series: What We Know So Far

Cowboy Bebop – Copyright. Tokyopop

Alongside Netflix’s expansion into the anime market, Netflix is also adapting fan-favorite Cowboy Bebop into a live-action series. A troubled development has meant that we won’t likely see Cowboy Bebop on Netflix until 2021. Here’s the latest on Cowboy Bebop including the Netflix release date, plot, cast and trailer.

Cowboy Bebop is an upcoming Netflix Original live-action sci-fi series based on the manga of the same name by author Hajime Yatate. Alex Garcia Lopez (Daredevil) is set to direct the series with twelve writers on board to help create the story, most notably Thor Ragnorok writer Christopher L. Yost is on board. Yost also serves as an executive producer on the series.

Writer Christopher Yost (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Disney)

The manga debuted in September of 1997 in Monthly Asuka Fantasy DX and ran until June 1998. A second manga series began a month later and ran for a further three volumes and ending in February 2000. Cowboy Bebop’s popularity skyrocketed, and anime adaptation soon followed after the first manga run. Both the manga and anime rose to critical acclaim, becoming one of the most popular franchises of the late 90s. The legacy of Cowboy Bebop is still felt today as the series is still for many, one of the best anime ever created.


What is the plot of Cowboy Bebop?

In the year 2071, most of humanity has colonized the rocky planets and moons of the solar system. Roughly fifty years prior, Earth had been left uninhabitable after an accident with a hyperspace gateway. Amidst the rise of a growing crime rate throughout the solar system, the Inter Solar System Police legalize bounty hunters. Known as “Cowboys” they chase criminals across the solar system and bring them to justice.

Chasing down these criminals are the crew of the spaceship Bebop. Spike Siegal, former hitman and exiled member of the Red Dragon syndicate and his partner Jet Black a former ISSP officer. The amnesiac con-artist Faye Valentine, Edward Wong the eccentric hacking girl and finally Ein the genetically engineered adorable Welsh Corgi with human-like intelligence.

In January 2020, while promoting a new horror movie (The Grudge), John Cho had a fair bit to reveal on what to expect from the upcoming live-action Cowboy Bebop series.

Cho referred to the series as “unique piece of material” and that throughout they had to “keep it strange” to be true to the source material.


Who is in the cast of Cowboy Bebop?

The following cast members have been confirmed to star in Cowboy Bebop:

  • Spike Spiegel will be played by John Cho (as seen in Star Trek & Harold & Kumar)
  • Vicious will be played by Alex Hassell (as seen in Cold Mountain & Two Down)
  • Faye Valentine played by Danielle Pineda (seen in Jurassic World and The Vampire Diaries
  • Jet Black will be played by Mustafa Shakir (seen in Luke Cage and Quarry)

Here are the respective actors for the Netflix live-action remake and their anime counterparts.

Rumors had spread by a Bebop blog that a Husky was cast as Ein instead of a Welsh Corgi.

According to the Bebop blog a spokesperson from Netflix has commented on the change of Dog breed for Ein:

Nothing in the story says Ein has to be a Corgi and honestly, a reboot that precisely mimics the source material is boring. We’ve already seen that story.

The response after being asked about potential fan backlash was very intriguing:

Just like the genre the show is named for, sometimes it’s better to do what’s unexpected, what’s never been done before. This is the ethos of Bebop, and we’re being truet to that. We’re confident true fans of the show will embrace this choice.

The “statement” made was most likely fake for a number of reasons. First of all, using the phrase “true fans” is one way to really rile up the fanbase. The last thing you want to do is question the fan bases love for the franchise.

Second of all writer and executive producer Christoper Yost acknowledged the rumors on Twitter and cleared up any confusion on the breed of Ein.


What is the production status of Cowboy Bebop Season 1?

Official Production Status: Delayed for 7-9 Months (Last Updated: 21/10/2019)

The series had begun production but after an accident onset involving lead actor John Cho, the production has been delayed.

Cho suffered an injury during the last take of a “well-rehearsed routine,” and has been flown back to Los Angeles for surgery and then extensive rehabilitation.

In November 2019, John Cho posted on Instagram that he was on the mend.

John Cho reports he’s on the mend – Picture: JohnCho/Instagram

As of December 2019, the series is now scheduled to start filming again in July 2020 according to ProductionWeekly with filming taking place in Auckland New Zealand and South Africa. In addition, we know the series is using the working title of Jazz Band.


How many episodes will Cowboy Bebop Season 1 air?

The first season of Cowboy Bebop will have ten episodes.

Netflix typically doesn’t produce titles with over episodes that exceed thirteen episodes.


How much of the manga will Cowboy Bebop cover?

As the series will have ten episodes and each being roughly an hour-long, it’s likely it will cover all of the story.

Will there be a second season of Cowboy Bebop?

The series has been acknowledged as a mini-series which would indicate there are no plans for a second season.


When is the release date for Cowboy Bebop Season 1?

Our previous prediction was a release date in Q2 2020. The release date for Cowboy Bebop will be pushed back by a significant amount after John Cho’s injury on set.

With a delay to production that will last of least seven months, this pushes the release date back a significant amount. If we’re lucky we’ll see Cowboy Bebop drop in the Summer or Fall of 2021.

Potential Release Date: Summer/Fall 2021


Do fans of Cowboy Bebop actually want a live-action adaptation?

This is entirely subjective amongst fans themselves so it’s hard for an outlet to say what fans want or don’t want.

That’s not to say live-action titles don’t have their own fan-base. If they didn’t then no studio in their right mind would continue to make them.

The general enthusiasm amongst fans when it comes to a live-action adaptation of classic anime titles is very poor. In most instances, live-action adaptations have failed to impress critics and fans alike. Whether it’s a slight alteration in character design or alterations to the story it’s very hard to impress when there’s arguably an already superior product available.

Thankfully we now know that the series will stick to the source material and Ein will be a Welsh Corgi. Regardless, for a time fans thought that Ein was cast to be a Husky and this angered many of the fanbase. Straying away from the source material is one way to really put off fans of a new adaptation.


Are you looking forward to the release of Cowboy Bebop Season 1? Let us know in the comments below!