Twenty years after the first premiere on Japanese TV, it was announced that the international classic Cowboy Bebop would have a rebirth in a live-action avatar on Netflix.
However, fans were in for a rude shock when the highly-anticipated series was halted after its lead actor John Cho injured his knee while on the shoot.
And within weeks of this came the onset of COVID19, which made the future of 1000s of under-production films uncertain, including that of the beloved Cowboy Bebop.
“We gotta keep it strange.”— IGN (@IGN) January 8, 2020
John Cho discusses his upcoming Cowboy Bebop Netflix series and his favorite moments from the anime. pic.twitter.com/njQnwuIBDw
And yet, the grittiness of its creators is not to be undermined. In a recent phone interview with the adaptation’s writer and executive producer Jeff Pinker, it was revealed that works on the second season of the Netflix version have already begun.
As part of its ongoing expansion in the anime market, Netflix announced a 10-episode order for the iconic anime adaptation in November 2018.
Actors John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda, and Alex Hassell were selected for the lead roles of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, and Vicious. But soon, Cho’s injury halted the production for at least 7 to 9 months
And now, the creators are utilizing the lockdown period to brainstorm ideas for the next season.
“I think that I’m very excited by our opportunity to take this iconic anime and bring it to life,” Pinkner told Observer before heading off to a “notes call” on the script for Season 2.
Pinkner is excited to not only bring back the long lost love of original Cowboy Bebop fans but also introduce newbies to the magic of this genre-bending anime.
“I think that because we have these hour-long episodes, we have an opportunity to take the anime and sort of like just deepen and dimensionalize the source material. Really tell stories set in that world in a way that hopefully will not only delight the fans of anime but expose a whole bunch of new people to the world of Cowboy Bebop,” he told the Observer.
Set in the year 2071, roughly 50 years following a calamity (that’s nearly 2020!) that makes Earth uninhabitable, the series follows 5 of a crew of bounty hunters.
With humans scattered across Earth’s immediate cosmos, Inter Solar System Police hires the likes of this crew to help hunt criminals. For the right price, these rag tags will even save the world if need be.
Its first manga had debuted in September of 1997 in Monthly Asuka Fantasy DX. Its massive success was followed by a second manga and an anime adaptation soon after in early 1998.
However, it may be noted that generally, anime fans are not particularly enthusiastic about a live-action adaptation, especially a classic like Cowboy Bebop.
The slightest alteration from the original’s character design or story can mean immediate rejection of the former for what is an already available superior product. Diligence to the source material is key to any live-action adaptation. Let us hope Netflix does a good job because Cowboy Bebop’s success could mean a significant push for its anime ambitions.
The live-action Cowboy Bebop is a co-production between Netflix and Tomorrow Studios. Shinichirō Watanabe, creator of the original anime, will serve as a consultant on the project. Christopher Yost (Thor: Ragnarok, Thor: The Dark World) will write the first episode and executive produce. Yasuo Miyakawa, Masayuki Ozaki, and Shin Sasaki of Sunrise Inc.– the studio that produced the original anime –will also executive produce alongside a team of at least a dozen others.
As of December 2019, the series is scheduled to restart filming in July 2020, according to ProductionWeekly, with filming taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, and South Africa. Before the Corona epidemic, we could expect the first season to be out by the Fall of 2021. However, no one is obviously sure of that anymore.