ByAngelo Delos Trinos, writer at
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Angelo Delos Trinos

Few series have had as massive an impact on American pop culture like Cowboy Bebop. Originally debuting in Japan in 1998, but making its way to American television sets via Adult Swim's anime block, in 2001, Cowboy Bebop quickly became a favorite that even skeptics of the anime medium adored.

Now, almost two decades after its introduction to American audiences, Cowboy Bebop will be getting a new lease on life through a live-action TV series.

Cowboy Bebop Returns To TV

'Cowboy Bebop' [Credit: Sunrise Inc.]
'Cowboy Bebop' [Credit: Sunrise Inc.]

As reported by Variety, the anime will be adapted to a live-action episodic format by Tomorrow Studios, the same studio that will handle the televised version of the 2013 post-apocalyptic movie Snowpiercer.

Monster Radio and Sunrise Inc., the studio behind the original animated series, will produce the upcoming live-action version of Cowboy Bebop as well. The live-action Cowboy Bebop will be penned by , who wrote Thor: The Dark World and the animated series The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. There are currently no other details, but expect announcements about the plot and casting to be made in the coming months.

Set in 2071, Cowboy Bebop follows the bounty hunters and Jet Black aboard their spaceship, the Bebop, as they scrape a living in the new frontier. Over the course of 26 episodes and an animated film, Spike and Jet meet new crewmates, continuously chase bounties, and confront their dark pasts. The series was lauded for its wide range of genres, existential themes, a roster of compelling characters, and sweet jazz music.

One Cowboy And Many Live-Action Attempts

The confirmation of a live-action Cowboy Bebop series is only the latest and most productive development in the long road the anime took to being lifted from animation cells to real life.

Back in 2008, 20th Century Fox had plans to adapt the anime into a feature film, with tapped to play Spike Spiegel. Series director Shinichiro Watanabe and series writer Keiko Nobumoto were also brought on board, and their inclusion was met with praise and support from fans of the show. Originally planned for a 2011 release, Cowboy Bebop would have seen Fox cooperating with Sunrise Inc. to bring the classic anime to the big screen.

Production for the film never went beyond the planning stages due to budgetary problems. The script for was rewritten multiple times to accommodate a constantly shrinking budget, among other issues. In 2014, Watanabe said that while the project has yet to be shut down, there was no progress to speak of.

With the recent flop and whitewashing controversy of anime adaptation Ghost in the Shell, along with the upset that Iron Fist really missed out on an opportunity to cast an Asian in the lead, it's worth wondering if the team behind the Cowboy Bebop series will be smarter. Since he couldn't be Danny Rand...Lewis Tan for Spike Spiegel, anyone?

For fans of the anime, news of the adaptation will either spark fond nostalgic memories or an air of caution. Cowboy Bebop is regarded as one of the best anime series ever created, and a live-action take on the property can either bolster or water down the series' undeniable legacy. Hopefully, Tomorrow Studios makes a series that's more of the former.


Will you watch a live-action series of 'Cowboy Bebop?'


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