We’ve felt rumblings that Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop would involve some changes, like when Netflix cast a character who only appears in a couple of episodes of the original anime but is very important to the “mythology,” implying that it would focus more on adapting the important plot episodes than the comparatively breezy monster-of-the-week ones (so to speak). Now we have even more confirmation of that, with Netflix casting a whole bunch of supporting characters from the anime even though a core member of the Bebop crew—hacker prodigy Radical Edward—still hasn’t been cast, making it seem like she won’t even be in this. Ed’s not a traditionally cool character like main protagonists Spike and Jet, and her mannerisms and personality would be hard to capture in live-action, but that’s the sort of challenge Netflix took on when it decided to make this. Why do it at all if they’re not really going to do it? (Of course, maybe Ed will be a part of the adaptation and we’re complaining about nothing, but this is the internet and we reserve the right to complain as much as we want.)
The new casting announcements mostly involve big changes anyway, though, so if Ed’s not in this adaptation it will hardly be the only difference. Deadline says Geoff Stults will be playing Chalmers, ex-space cop Jet Black’s former partner (he’s apparently sleeping with Jet’s ex-wife, which is not a thing in the anime). Tamara Tunie will play Ana, the owner of a Martian jazz club and “surrogate mom” to John Cho’s Spike. Mason Alexander Park will be playing Gren, described here as a non-binary “Bowie-esque embodiment of 22nd century handsome and seductive beauty” (which sounds like it could be an improvement). Rachel House will be playing a gender-swapped version of Mao, boss of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate that Spike left—except here it’s the “White Tigers” Crime Syndicate for some reason. Maybe they wanted it to sound more like a high school sports team? Finally, Ann Truong and Hoa Xuande are playing Shin and Lin, a pair of Syndicate members who were (very similar) brothers in the original but are explicitly twins here. Mostly not huge stuff, but pretty much all of that is different in some way.
Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop was supposed to premiere in 2020, but it was pushed way back after Cho was injured on-set.