Netflix has announced the casting for several lead roles in the long-awaited live action adaptation of iconic anime series Cowboy Bebop – the anime for, well, nearly everyone.
Many a die hard anime fan got their first tentative start back when Cartoon Network’s Toonami block featured this stunning action series. Cowboy Bebop waxed poetic about philosophy and destiny between kick-ass space age gunfights and the musical stylings of legend Yoko Kanno.
Live action anime adaptations can certainly be hit or miss, but with the surprise success of Alita: Battle Angel, it seems like studios are getting more and more comfortable with this format.
Also probably due to Alita’s success, it seems that the audience’s call for more and better representation in media is starting to be heard.
John Cho, nerd-famous as Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot, is taking the lead role here as Spike Spiegel, charismatic yet lackadaisical bounty hunter and protagonist. It is an unfortunate fact that male Asian film leads are a minority– no pun intended. It looks like after the #AsianAugust of Crazy Rich Asians, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Searching, this trend might also see a change.
Equally important is the decision to cast Jet Black, Spike’s right hand man, foil and conscience as a Black man with celebrated Luke Cage actor Mustafa Shakir. Jet’s much acclaimed English voice actor, Bea Billingslea, created a certain identity for Jet with American audiences- one that the Netflix series seems to want to honor.
To round out the main cast – or the adult, human members, anyway- is Daniella Pineda cast as Faye Valentine. Faye is the femme fatale and scam artist of the group.
Pineda’s revelation during interviews behind the scenes of the dinosaur action hit Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom revealed that her character in that film, Zia Rodriguez, had her LGBTQA+ backstory stripped during editing in an unfortunate (but not unexpected) instance of erasure. Her sensitivity will surely come in handy in a challenging role like Faye.
Casting for Vicious, Spike’s mysterious antagonist, has also been announced as veteran actor Alex Hassell.
The ten episode series should be heading into pre-production, so we’ll keep you up-to-date on any Bebop related news.