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Netflix Produces Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Series

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
10 episodes with anime director Shinichiro Watanabe as consultant, Sunrise staff as executive producers

Netflix announced on Tuesday that it is producing a 10-episode live-action series adaptation of the 1998 television anime Cowboy Bebop. Entertainment news magazine Variety noted that the series has been in the works since last year. Netflix did not announce a release date for the series. Netflix describes the series:

Based on the worldwide phenomenon from Sunrise Inc., Cowboy Bebop is the jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine and Radical Ed: a rag-tag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system's most dangerous criminals. They'll even save the world…for the right price.

The series is a co-production between Netflix and Tomorrow Studios, with Netflix handling physical production. Tomorrow Studios is a partnership between producer Marty Adelstein (Prison Break, Teen Wolf, producer for the live-action One Piece project) and ITV Studios. Shinichiro Watanabe, the original anime's director, will serve as consultant for the project. Andre Nemec, Josh Appelbaum, Jeff Pinkner, and Scott Rosenberg of Midnight Radio are credited as showrunners and executive producers.

Tomorrow Studios' Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements; Yasuo Miyakawa, Masayuki Ozaki, and Shin Sasaki of Sunrise (the studio that animated the original series); and Tetsu Fujimura and Matthew Weinberg are also credited as executive producers.

Chris Yost (Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok) will write the first episode, and is also credited as executive producer.

Variety and entertainment news website Deadline previously reported the above staff in June last year.

The original anime's director Shinichiro Watanabe commented on the proposed Hollywood live-action film adaptation of the anime in 2014. He said, "I'm afraid I don't know what they're thinking in Hollywood. Apparently the project hasn't come to a stop but I don't know how it's going to progress from here on. I hear that there are a lot of 'Hollywood' problems." The director also said he had no interest in creating an animated Cowboy Bebop sequel unless "I thought I could do better [than] last time. If I feel that way, I might make more but I don't know when that would happen."

Actor Keanu Reeves said in 2013 that "Cowboy Bebop does not look like it is going to happen with me in it." Reeves was originally slated to star in the proposed live-action film. The American film studio Twentieth Century Fox, the production Company 3 Arts Entertainment, and Sunrise announced in January 2009 that they would be co-producing the proposed adaptation of the anime.

Joshua Long had acted as a production supervisor, and Erwin Stoff, a film producer who worked closely with Reeves on The Matrix and A Scanner Darkly, was also attached. The associate producers for the film were Sunrise President Kenji Uchida, the original Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe, and the original series script supervisor Keiko Nobumoto. The Sunrise Studio itself and Masahiko Minami (former Sunrise producer and BONES studio co-founder) were both acting as production consultants. Peter Craig was writing the film's screenplay. Stoff had said in 2009 that the film would not be an origin story.

The original anime series follows the motley crew of the spaceship Bebop as it travels throughout the solar system in search of the next job. The anime inspired Cowboy Bebop: The Movie in 2001. Funimation released the series on Blu-ray and DVD in North America in 2014, and recently screened the film in the United States in August. The series is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Source: Press release, Netflix Twitter account (link 2), Variety

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