clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop live-action casting is real and fantastic, with John Cho as Spike

If any cast can pull off a live-action Cowboy Bebop, it’s this one

CBS All Access New Series ‘The Twilight Zone’ Premiere - Red Carpet
John Cho at the premiere of CBS All Access’ The Twilight Zone in Hollywood on March 26.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

The prospect of taking an anime and moving it over to live action is always worrying for fans. When that anime is Cowboy Bebop, one of the most popular and beloved shows in anime history, everything about it has to be perfect for fans to even give it a chance. But if the casting is any indication, Netflix’s live-action Bebop adaptation is off to a good start. The streaming giant announced the first several members of the show’s principle cast via a tweet on Thursday afternoon.

Cowboy Bebop will star John Cho (Star Trek, Searching) as Spike Spiegel, the leader of the show’s central band of bounty hunters. Joining Cho aboard his ship, the Bebop, will be Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage, The Deuce) as Spike’s partner Jet Black, an ex-space cop. Also joining the crew is Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) as con artist Faye Valentine. Filling the role of Vicious, Spike’s former partner and current rival, is Alex Hassell (Anonymous, Suburbicon).

Cowboy Bebop follows Spike and his crew of bounty hunters — which will also probably include Ed, a hacker prodigy from Earth, and Ein, a genetically modified corgi (neither of which have been cast yet) — as they travel the galaxy in search of wanted criminals. Created by Shinichiro Watanabe, the original anime combined elements of Hollywood Westerns and more traditional Japanese science fiction. These two different worlds were tied together with a jazz-inspired style that influenced everything about the show from the dialogue to the animation. Watanabe will not be directly involved with the creation of the live-action series, but will serve as a consultant for the Netflix adaptation.

While the casting for the series is as good as anyone could have hoped, there’s still significant reason for fans to be wary. Live-action anime adaptations don’t have a great reputation, especially with Netflix involved. The fact that Cowboy Bebop has also grown into one of the most beloved series of all time doesn’t make it any easier. But assembling a cast of actors who seem perfectly suited for their roles is a good sign that’s certainly going to help fans rest a little easier.

The Netflix version of Cowboy Bebop is set for 10 episodes, with the first penned by Thor: Ragnarok writer Christopher Yost. The first two episodes of the series will be directed by Alex Garcia Lopez, who has also directed episodes of Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Cloak and Dagger.