‘Cowboy Bebop’ Showrunner, André Nemec, Reveals ‘Glimpses Into the World’ of the Netflix Series

Even by anime standards, Cowboy Bebop presented viewers with a unique setting and slate of characters when it premiered back in 1998. Netflix promises to revisit that world with its live-action Cowboy Bebop series — and potentially expand upon it. Showrunner André Nemec recently dove into his approach to creating the world for the upcoming series. His words should reassure fans of the anime and newcomers alike.

André Nemec isn’t ‘violating the canon’ with the Netflix series

John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda in Netflix's live-action 'Cowboy Bebop.' The three are walking next to one another, with Ein the corgi/alien next to them. Fans are wondering if the 'Cowboy Bebop' adaptation will feature Ed as well.
John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda in ‘Cowboy Bebop’ | Geoffrey Short/Netflix

When it came to adapting Cowboy Bebop for Netflix, Nemec understood the responsibility he was taking on. The showrunner has continuously emphasized how seriously he’s taking the job. He wants fans of the anime to know that he isn’t undoing anything from the Cowboy Bebop anime, nor is he seeking to remake it.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nemec vowed not to violate the source material. However, he did promise to look at the anime from new angles:

“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.”

How the Netflix series will build on the anime

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As for how Nemec plans to build upon the anime, the showrunner is focusing on the characters in Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop. Like the original series, Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) will take center stage in the adaptation.

Nemec told EW he’d take a deeper dive into these characters in the Netflix show. Additionally, he promised to dig deeper than their archetypes:

“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.

As for the questions the anime raises, Nemec told Polygon that the anime teased things it didn’t necessarily deliver on.

“I think that the telling of that story was exciting to me because there were things in the anime that were alluded to and hinted at,” he explained.

Again, some of that has to do with the characters. Nemec views Faye as “a survivor” and Spike as “a cowboy with a broken heart.” Giving them more in-depth backstories will help viewers understand those aspects of their personalities. It could also open the series up to a second season.

Nemec likens adapting ‘Cowboy Bebop’ to playing ‘in somebody else’s sandbox’

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Despite the responsibility of choosing what to keep from the original Cowboy Bebop and what to nix for the Netflix series, Nemec cites adapting the anime as one of the most exciting parts of this project.

During his discussion with Polygon, he likened it to playing “in somebody else’s sandbox.” According to him, the source material made that a pleasant task:

“The greatest part about being able to work on this was that we knew we were being invited to play in somebody else’s sandbox, and that sandbox was very generous in saying to us, ‘You tell your story.’”

Of course, the recently revealed opening suggests the Netflix series draws from the source material as much as it expands it. In that sense, fans can expect a good balance heading into the new show. They’ll know for sure how it compares to the original when it arrives in November.

Nemec’s adaptation of Cowboy Bebop arrives on Netflix on Nov. 19, 2021.