Cowboy Bebop Trailer Breakdown: Let's See Our Space Cowboy

Fans of Shinichiro Watanabe's 1998 sci-fi action anime "Cowboy Bebop" have been anxiously awaiting the Netflix live-action adaptation, and the trailer is finally here. Anyone who was worried about the live-action version losing its jazzy, kinetic cool can put those fears to rest: the goods are all here. Bounty hunters Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) — along with their trusty genius Welsh Corgi named Ein — will try to catch the bounty-heads, make a little cash, and survive in a cold, dark universe. 

"Cowboy Bebop" will follow the crew of the spaceship known as the Bebop over 10 episodes. Showrunner André Nemec has promised to hold true to the canon, but fans can't help but notice that the Bebop's resident hacker, Ed, is missing from the crew. In the original anime, Ed doesn't show up for a bit and she's only in certain episodes, so hold tight! The original anime series had 26 episodes, so there's plenty of time for the Netflix crew to get to Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, the genius teenage hacker who bonds deeply with Ein. 

While we didn't get any glimpses of Ed in the trailer, we did get hints for just about everything else that's coming our way in "Cowboy Bebop." So strap in, jetsetters, and let's break this boogie down.

The Universe at His Feet

The opening shot is on Cho's Spike in silhouette, looking out over a space dock into a beautiful cityscape. While the crew of the Bebop may always be short on money, at least they get a chance to sightsee. We can see the tip of Spike's fighter ship, the Swordfish II, parked just behind him. That's our space cowboy alright — all long limbs, wonky grace, and perfect hair. 

See the Spacey Sights

Okay, maaaybe all of the sights aren't so great to see. It looks like the Bebop is headed to the asteroid colony of New Tijuana, which is the setting of the first episode of the anime series, "Asteroid Blues." In the anime they take a bounty on "TJ," but only after Jet convinces Spike by playing to his stomach, telling him that the carnitas on Tijuana are "out of this world". 

A Quick Chat with an Old Friend

We get a quick peek of Tamara Tunie as Ana, an old friend of Spike's from before he ever joined up with the Bebop. In the anime Ana runs a convenience store on Mars, and she was friends with Spike when he was a member of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate. Spike tells her that he has a partner now (Jet), and we get brief flashes to Spike's tragic past before he informs her that he's going by the name "Spike Spiegel." It's a great introduction to the character's mysterious backstory, and Cho is just owning it with every fiber of his being. 

A Haunting Memory

Before Spike leaves Ana, he takes a long look at a framed black-and-white photo of a blonde-haired woman. Fans of the anime will recognize Julia, Spike's former lover, instantly. Falling in love with Julia is what made Spike leave the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate, and what eventually puts him into a deadly feud with Syndicate member Vicious. 

It's the Bebop, Baby!

There are several ships in the series that are important, but the Bebop is the one that matters most because it serves as home for Faye, Spike, and Jet. They might fly around or have space battles in their other ships, but the Bebop is where they eat, sleep, and accidentally trip out on hallucinogenic mushrooms in one famous anime episode. We also get a peek inside the cockpit of the Bebop, where Jet's neon yellow "Beware of the Dog" sign is on full display. 

At Least She's Spaceworthy?

Jet seems to be having a fine time piloting the Bebop, but then he tries to close the shades and one of them gets stuck. He has to go smack his fist against the panel until it works, which is relatable for anyone who's ever worked with old technology and also shows us that the Bebop ain't exactly a top-of-the-line luxury vessel. The crew of the Bebop are roughing it, and they're just trying to get by. 

Coming in for a Water Landing

There's a neat shot of the Bebop landing on the water, probably on the same planet we saw Spike on at the very beginning. You can see the landing strips on the top of the Bebop for smaller ships, like Spike's Swordfish II or Faye's Red Tail. 

'If the Cops or the Bounty Hunters Don't Get Ya, The Syndicate Will'

Spike explains via voiceover that in this world, there's really nowhere that's safe. There's a whole slew of bounty hunters always on the lookout for fresh meat, the cops are dirty at best, and the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate, often called just the Syndicate, run everything. Spike's got some bad blood with the Syndicate, so he has to be especially careful. 

Oh Look, it's Vicious

Speaking of the Syndicate, we get a tiny flash of a peek at Vicious, one of Spike's greatest enemies. Vicious and Spike were close friends within the Syndicate, and both of them had feelings for Julia. When Spike left and tried to take Julia with him, it spawned their blood feud. Without Spike there to stop him, Vicious rose through the ranks of the Syndicate, amassing incredible criminal power. 

The Teddy Bomber

One of the most wild baddies the crew of the Bebop face off against is the Teddy Bomber, real name Ted Bower, an activist and terrorist who uses exploding teddy bears to take down symbols of capitalism. "Cowboy Bebop" the anime was never afraid to get really weird, and it's nice to see that the live-action series is going to dig into some of those more bizarre storylines too. 

A Steamy Flashback

There's another quick flashback to Spike when he was a member of the Syndicate. (You can tell because his hair's pulled back, see?) We see him with Julia, and they share some tender and intimate moments in quick bursts of imagery before we're back to the Bebop's regular timeline.

A Freaky Bountyhead

This guy looks a lot like the Van, the council of elders that ran the Red Dragon Syndicate in the anime. Maybe they consolidated all of those old dudes into one creepy masked guy, but the effect is definitely impressive. 

Collecting a Bounty

There's a brief and colorful clip of a fight between Spike and one of his bounties, the pet thief Abdul Hakim. Cho gets to show off some martial arts moves and there's a silly porn sign in the background that looks like it's a ransom note. (Hakim is the main villain in the second episode of the anime, "Stray Dog Strut.")

There's Miss Valentine!

We finally get a glimpse of Faye Valentine as she bursts onto the screen in a blast of gunfire, but then we're quickly taken to a diner where the crew of the Bebop are rehashing their last mission. Faye's looking pretty beat up, but she's a tough broad and doesn't seem to mind. We can start to get a feel for the dynamic between Spike and Faye, which is contentious and somewhat like the love between siblings. 

Flight of the Red Tail

Cut between the diner sequence is Faye pulling off of the deck of the Bebop in her ship, the Red Tail. She's taken Ein with her, and she gives the boys in the cockpit of the Bebop a wink before she takes off. 

Don't Touch Ein

This still sums up the relationships between the Bebop crew members pretty well. Spike doesn't want to deal with Faye's antics anymore, Faye is exasperated that she didn't get away with something, and Jet looks completely annoyed with the both of them. Poor Jet often has to play father to both Faye and Spike, but at least here he just has to hold Ein (who is always along for the ride.) 

A Girl and Her Gun

Faye loves her guns, and she gets a pretty stinking cool one in "Cowboy Bebop." The trailer gives us a shot of Faye opening up her new, freaky high-tech looking gun, and she's excited. 

Oh My God it's Mad Pierrot

Remember when I said that sometimes "Cowboy Bebop" gets weird? In a truly creepy episode of the original anime, a man who was a lab experiment named Mad Pierrot escapes and creates a carnival of terrors that kills several people before Spike takes on the bounty. 

Spike Shirtless

This doesn't need a description, but if you had it, you'd post it, too.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Aww. Spike, Faye, and Jet have a great fist-bump over the diner table. Teamwork is great, ain't it gang? The very next shot is Spike aiming his gun at Faye's head again, though, so the camaraderie on the Bebop is strained at best. They'll always be there for one another, but they're going to bicker like school children about it the entire way. 

The Battle with Vicious

Spike and Vicious have a stunning fight in the anime, shooting and sword-fighting in front of a giant stained glass window. The Netflix series decided to keep that amazing imagery, and the live-action version is breathtaking. The whole trailer feels like "Cowboy Bebop" come to life, but seeing such an iconic image in three dimensions is really, really cool. 

Here We Go Again

The final shot of the trailer shows Jet, Spike, and Faye in a field, all looking a little apprehensive about something. In the anime series, they often argue about what bounties to take and how to take them on, and it's likely this is just before they get into some serious trouble in the name of making a buck. The sarcastic humor of "Cowboy Bebop" shines through in these little moments, and the actors are doing killer work expressing what was previously animated. 

"Cowboy Bebop" can't get here soon enough. The live-action series debuts on Netflix worldwide on November 19, 2021.