Netflix Announces a Live-Action ‘Cowboy Bebop’ Series

A live-action adaptation of the beloved anime Cowboy Bebop is coming to Netflix. The streaming service announced the news late last night with a video, and Variety confirms the show has been in the works since last year, with Netflix ordering 10 episodes. Shinichiro Watanabe, who directed the original anime, is serving as a consultant on the project, which boasts a bevy of genre-friendly executive producers that includes Zoo‘s quartet of creators Andre Nemec, Josh Appelbaum, Jeff Pinkner, and Scott Rosenberg alongside Yasuo Miyakawa, Masayuki Ozaki, and Shin Sasaki of Sunrise Inc., the studio that created the original series. Tomorrow Studios is co-producing the project with Netflix, with Tomorrow’s Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements onboard as executive producers.

The original Japanese anime series launched in 1998 and took place in the year 2071, chronicling the lives of a bounty hunter crew hunting down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. The series ran for 26 episodes but enjoyed a long shelf-life, subsequently airing on Adult Swim in the U.S. An anime film adaptation was released in Japan in 2001 and the U.S. in 2003, and a decade ago Hollywood came calling and began trying to adapt Cowboy Bebop into a big studio movie.

Image via Funimation

Keanu Reeves was rumored to play Spike Spiegel in the feature film adaptation for 20th Century Fox, with Peter Craig (The Town) writing the screenplay. But the project languished in development hell owing to script and budget issues and never moved forward.

We first caught wind of the live-action TV series adaptation in 2017, with Thor co-writer Christopher Yost penning the script. Yost is poised to write the first episode while Nemec, Appelbaum, Pinkner, and Rosenberg serve as showrunners, and it’s now obvious that Netflix made a play and nabbed the series for its streaming service. And it’s no surprise they did, as the streaming service has been delving deeper into the world of anime in recent months, announcing original anime adaptations of Pacific Rim and Altered Carbon coming to Netflix in the near future.

Fans are split on whether a live-action Cowboy Bebop is a great idea or a terrible idea, but no doubt plenty of folks will be interested to see how this shapes up. No air date has been announced.

Guess it’s time to announce that Cowboy Bebop, the live-action series, is heading to @Netflix. pic.twitter.com/bKe0d8EKoH

— NX (@NXOnNetflix) November 28, 2018