Netflix’s Live-Action ‘Cowboy Bebop’ Reboot Is Happening ... Slowly
J Pop Exchange Logo Sakura Heading Photo

Netflix’s Live-Action ‘Cowboy Bebop’ Reboot Is Happening ... Slowly

By ELIZABETH GIBSON for The J-Pop Exchange

Production of the live-action reboot of Cowboy Bebop has been officially underway these past few months — however, due to some unforeseen circumstances, it’s not clear when the miniseries will be released.

Netflix describes the live-action adaptation of the popular anime as a "jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of a ragtag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system's most dangerous criminals. They'll even save the world … for the right price."

The reboot is the first Netflix original series to be filmed in New Zealand, according to The New Zealand Herald. The show employed more than 400 people — the largest ever for a television production in Auckland. Shin'ichirô Watanabe, director of the original anime, will serve as a consultant on the project. Christopher Yost, who wrote “Thor: Ragnarok”, will wrote the first episode and will executive produce.

Netflix recently dropped a video featuring, for the first time, the dog who will play Ein, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and "data dog” — meaning that Ein’s intelligence was enhanced by scientists in a laboratory.

The behind-the-scenes video released on Twitter in October also features Korean-American actor John Cho (playing bounty hunter Spike Spiegel), American actor Mustafa Shakir (as Spike’s bounty-hunting partner Jet Black), Mexican-American actress Daniella Pineda (as the amnesiac bounty hunter Faye Valentine), and British actor Alex Hassell (as Spike’s adversary Vicious). It was recently announced that Russian actress, Elena Satine, was cast as Julia, Spike’s former lover. The showrunners are also planning on a Radical Edward appearance, but have yet to cast that role.

The short teaser clip also hints at the music that will be featured in the mini series. In the anime, jazz, western, blues, waltz and folk all blend together seamlessly to create punchy, bass-heavy bebops. Fans are hopeful the music of the live-action series will live up to the hype. There isn’t much information available as to who will be heading the series’ music department. But based on the Netflix description (“jazz-inspired”), there’s a hint of promise they’ll get it right.

In mid-October, Netflix confirmed Cho was injured while filming the mini-series on set in Auckland, New Zealand. There weren't a lot of details immediately available regarding the “freak accident,” except the injury was to one of his knees, the incident occurred October 5, and Cho was quickly flown back to Los Angeles for surgery and rehabilitation.

Cho took to his Instagram account to thank his fans for their well-wishes and let them know he’d be back in action as soon as possible. He shared a photo of a belt buckle with an ocean wave and the Japanese symbol for water. "’Water can flow or it can crash.' — Bruce Lee. Thanks for all the well wishes everyone," he wrote as the caption. "Gonna be back and flowing in no time!"

His co-star, Shakir, commented on the Instagram post, saying, “Big love cowboy! We got this.”

According to USA Today, the injury occurred on set has caused a lengthy production hiatus for the show. Netflix officials have said they do not want to recast Cho despite the setback in production, and that a new production schedule will be compiled once Cho's prognosis becomes more clear. Due to the injury, Netflix is still not sure when they will resume filming, however it’s looking like it could be at least seven months down the line. That means we’ll have to wait, at the very minimum, until late 2020 for the season to be dropped on Netflix.

More by Elizabeth Gibson:

Fireworks in Japan

Exploring Cowboy Bebop