Cowboy Bebop Showrunner Says The Live-Action Show Won't 'Violate The Canon'

"Cowboy Bebop" fans might be understandably apprehensive, just on principle, about seeing their favorite anime adapted into a live-action property. There have certainly been other anime hits, like "Fullmetal Alchemist," that yielded disappointing live-action adaptations.

With Netflix's upcoming "Cowboy Bebop" series, however, showrunner André Nemec is conscious of the expectations surrounding such a cherished title. And it sounds like he and his crew and cast, led by John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Faye Valentine, have actively worked to ensure that this streaming series can exist alongside what's already out there and complement it as a worthy companion piece.

Cho plays the bounty hunter, Spike Spiegel, and we previously heard that he had never taken a role more seriously than this one. More recently, he and Nemec spoke to Entertainment Weekly, where Nemec discussed his approach to bringing "Cowboy Bebop" to live-action. First, he said:

"I promise we will never take the original anime away from the purists. It will always exist out there. But I'm very excited about the stories that we're telling. I believe we've done a really nice job of not violating the canon in any direction but merely offering some extra glimpses into the world that was already created."

"An Expansion to the Canon"

Nemec told EW that he sees his Netflix adaptation of "Cowboy Bebop" as "an expansion to the canon," which will "add things" to it, as opposed to simply rehashing the adventures fans have already seen. He explained:

"We got under the skin of who the live-action characters were going to be. I think that the poetic nature of the anime absolutely allowed for us to mine the archetypal nature of the characters and dig out deeper histories that we wanted to explore — and answer some of the questions that the anime leaves you with. I think to just redo the anime will leave an audience hungry for something that they already saw. The anime did an amazing job. We don't need to serve the exact same meal. I think it would have been disappointing if we did."

The show isn't the only new addition to the "Cowboy Bebop" franchise. We also learned last month that books and comics will accompany it and help further build out the mythos. 

There's a prequel novel, "Cowboy Bebop: A Syndicate Story: Red Planet Requiem," as well as "Cowboy Bebop: The Comic Series." Both will hit shortly after "Cowboy Bebop" makes its Netflix premiere on November 19, 2021.