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SYFY WIRE Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop's live-action Netflix series casts John Cho as Spike

By Jacob Oller
John Cho Getty

One of the best anime series of all time is getting the live-action treatment — and its first casting news is a bullseye. Cowboy Bebop is heading to Netflix, with the jazzy sci-fi amping up its scruffy, Firefly-esque bounty hunting with some killer stars.

The show, which will presumably boast the original’s incredible theme song, had fans worried about whitewashing, but avoided that particular pitfall: John Cho is leading the team as the incomparable space cowboy Spike Spiegel.

According to a release, Cho will bring the gunslinging and Jeet Kune Do-wielding character to life alongside his captain Jet Black — played by Luke Cage’s Bushmaster himself, Mustafa Shakir — and unlikely crewmate Faye Valentine, played by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s Daniella Pineda. Black is the gruff, tough, soft-hearted ex-cop of the bunch while Valentine is as wild a card as they come.

Star Trek and The Twilight Zone star Cho definitely has the chops to nail Spike's haggard heroism while Shakir has all the charisma needed to lead the team — all while Pineda delivers the non-stop sass Faye requires.

The crew will bring in criminals, make their cash, and scrape by as well they can...until they have to save the world from folks like Vicious. Spike’s sadistic arch-enemy and hardcore assassin will be played by Alex Hassell, who will torment the crew over the show’s first 10-episode season.

The first two episodes boast some impressive helmers, with Daredevil’s Alex Garcia Lopez directing the live-action introduction to this fan-favorite universe. Thor: Ragnarok’s Christopher Yost will write the pilot while the anime’s original director, Shinichiro Watanabe, serves as a series consultant.

And yes, Ed is going to be in the show. But no, Ed hasn’t been cast yet. That delightful weirdo will be a tricky casting call to make, but an essential one to the show’s success.

No word yet on when the show will premiere, but with Cho leading the way — and giving off plenty of the effortless cool that made Spike an anime icon — things are looking up for Cowboy Bebop.