Long rumored to be in the works as a movie with Keanu Reeves once attached to star in it, the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop is now headed to Netflix, and will take the form of a 10-episode series co-produced by the streaming service and Tomorrow Studios. Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars Rebels screenwriter Christopher Yost will pen the script for the first episode of the series, with original anime series creator and director Shinichiro Watanabe serving as a consultant on the project.
The original Cowboy Bebop anime premiered in 1998 and encompassed 26 episodes, a special, and a feature-length animated film, and is widely regarded in both in the U.S. and internationally as one of the greatest anime series of all time. Set in the year 2071, the show followed the crew of a spaceship known as The Bebop as they tracked down wanted fugitives around the galaxy and tried to earn a living as bounty hunters. The colorful cast of characters aboard The Bebop included Spike Spiegel, a skilled marksman and fighter whose laid-back demeanor hid a dark past; the hulking ship’s pilot and chief engineer, Jet; and the femme fatale Faye Valentine. Later episodes added the eccentric hacker Ed and a Welsh Corgi named Ein with a genius-level intellect.
Despite its sci-fi setting, Cowboy Bebop drew heavily from Western and noir themes in its storytelling, and episodes often featured jazz music and a mix of classic fashion and culture mixed with futuristic elements. The loneliness of space and the conflict between solitary life among the stars and the crowded cities they traveled to often shaped the crew’s experiences, as well as the mysterious — and often morally compromised — pasts each character hoped to escape as a bounty hunter.
Cowboy Bebop rose to fame in the U.S. after it became the first anime series broadcast on the Adult Swim network domestically, and the show is credited as being the project that helped pave the way for subsequent anime and built a foundation for the genre’s popularity in America.
The popularity of the anime led to it being adapted into two manga series, and the feature-length film — which was set during the series’ timeline and not a sequel or prequel — received a worldwide release in 2001. The entire series is currently available to watch on Hulu.
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