Strap in bounty hunters! We have some news the entire solar system will want to hear. Netflix has officially released the actors who will play the lead roles in its planned 10-episode, live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop. The western-space-noir will star John Cho (Star Trek, Searching) as Spike Spiegel. Spike is the charismatic, impossibly cool, rebel cowboy we’ve all come to know and love. Rounding out the cast are actors Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda, and Alex Hassell.
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) April 4, 2019
Jet Black, the lovable former cop who’s still got a bit of a chip on his shoulder, will be played by Shakir (Luke Cage). Pineda (Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom) will play the part of Faye Valentine, the take-no-crap woman on the hunt for the person with the key to her true identity. And what space drama would be complete without a mortal enemy? Not this one, that’s for sure, Hassell will play the part of Vicious, Spike’s former best friend hell-bent on taking him (and anyone who stands in his way) down.
Netflix’s initial November 2018 announcement regarding its plans to adapt the beloved anime series was met with intense skepticism. Fans of the late ’90s anime expressed concerns over the possibility of whitewashing, among the other more glaring challenges of adapting anime to a live-action series. This casting announcement appears, at least for the moment, to have squashed some fans’ worries.
According to Deadline, Cowboy Bebop will be co-produced by Netflix and Tomorrow Studios. The anime series’ original director, Shinichirō Watanabe, is consulting on the adaptation.
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) November 28, 2018
The original Cowboy Bebop anime series was directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, written by Keiko Nobumoto, and released by the studio Sunrise. The anime series is a beautiful blend of noir, jazz, western and space opera. Its distinctive soundtrack is thanks to composer Yoko Kanno. Cowboy Bebop continues to be a critical and commercial success 20 years later.
Andrea Ayres writes about comics and representation in pop-culture.