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SYFY WIRE The Mandalorian

Yes, Baby Yoda is even cuter in this 'Cowboy Bebop'-inspired animated opening for The Mandalorian

By Nivea Serrao
Screenshot of Baby Yoda from Malec's Mandalorian Anime Opening

Since the premiere of The Mandalorian, critics and fans have noted how the Star Wars series has leaned into the Western-inspired roots of the space-set franchise. But now, with a little help from French animator Malec and his team, there's a strong case for the Disney+ show to dip its toes into animation, thanks to their reimagining of the show through the lens of the opening sequence for another beloved series: cult classic anime Cowboy Bebop

The video — which you can see below — doesn't just feature anime versions of the Mandalorian's central characters, but it also includes nods to scenes from the show, even quoting one of the first season's most memorable lines ("This is the way.") right at the very beginning.

Among the moments referenced in the sequence are Din Djarin (AKA the titular Mandalorian) giving Baby Yoda the Child his new favorite toy, Cara Dune's (Deadpool's Gina Carano) ill-fated arm-wrestling match (though with a better outcome here), and even Moff Gideon's introduction of the darksaber. Only instead of the Ludwig Göransson's now-iconic Western-influenced theme tune, the track that accompanies the animated opening is Cowboy Bebop's jazzy theme song, "Tank!" 

This isn't the first time Malec has given a popular series' opening credits the anime treatment, having done the same for Game of Thrones in 2017 and Rick and Morty in 2018. Not only does each video perfectly capture the themes and visuals of the series it's based on, but Malec is able to marry the series with the right kind of tropes, creating an effective hybrid that really does feel like a true anime version of the shows they're riffing on. 

Part of what makes Cowboy Bebop a good fit for this particular mash-up is the fact that both series share a similar set up: a bounty hunter in space accompanied by an adorable companion and their ragtag crew of found family. (Viewers have even compared The Mandalorian's premise to the classic manga Lone Wolf and Cub.)

Interestingly enough, Cowboy Bebop is currently being adapted into a live-action series by Netflix, with Exorcist actor John Cho set to step into the shoes of lead bounty hunter Spike Spiegel. 

New episodes of The Mandalorian drop Fridays on Disney+. No news on when Cowboy Bebop will premiere.