‘Cowboy Bebop’ Star Mustafa Shakir Breaks Down Spike and Jet’s Relationship: ‘Bert and Ernie With Martial Arts and Guns’

Netflix’s live-action iteration of Cowboy Bebop hits the streamer on Nov. 19, and it could change up some of the storylines from the classic anime. One thing that promises to stay the same, though, is the dynamic between Spike Spiegel (John Cho) and Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir). Shakir recently teased the relationship between Spike and Jet in the new Cowboy Bebop — and it sounds like it will satisfy fans of the original.

Spike and Jet’s friendship is one of the best parts of the original ‘Cowboy Bebop’

Mustafa Shakir and John Cho, who play Jet Black and Spike Spiegel in Netflix's live-action 'Cowboy Bebop.' They're standing next to one another and wearing suits.
Mustafa Shakir and John Cho | Phillip Faraone/Netflix

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The entire Bebop crew offers compelling reasons for viewers to watch the original Cowboy Bebop. But the series kicks off with the dynamic between Spike and Jet, and their friendship remains an integral part of the story. The two bounty hunters often affirm the sentiment that opposites attract, but they’ve always got each other’s backs. Their back and forth also adds plenty of levity to a story that can become pretty bleak.

With live-action series often altering the source material, fans might be wondering if the relationships from the anime will remain intact. When it comes to Spike and Jet, the answer seems to be yes — at least if recent comments from Shakir are anything to judge by.

Mustafa Shakir says the duo are like ‘Bert and Ernie’

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With the release date for Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop fast approaching, the stars are sharing some insight into the new series and how it compares to the original. And during an interview with SFX Magazine (via GamesRadar), Shakir dove into his character’s relationship with Spike, making a hilarious comparison:

“They are definitely the odd couple. We’ve seen this before in different incarnations. This is the space odd couple, the Bert and Ernie with martial arts and guns. They are yin-yang. What the other lacks, the other has, and vice-versa.”

That about sums up Spike and Jet in the anime, and it looks like fans won’t miss out on their bickering or sitting-around-doing-nothing moments on the ship. That’s a relief, since it’s hard to imagine Cowboy Bebop without those things. Now let’s hope the rest of the Bebop crew remains intact in the live-action adaptation.

Will ‘Cowboy Bebop’ keep the whole crew intact?

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It’s comforting to know that fans will get an accurate depiction of Spike and Jet’s partnership in the live-action Cowboy Bebop, but what about the rest of the crew? Daniella Pineda is bringing Faye Valentine to life, and the trailer promises her dynamic with Spike and Jet won’t change much. Even in the brief first look, Jet is mediating while Spike and Faye butt heads.

Less clear is whether or not the new Cowboy Bebop will bring in Radical Edward. The fan-favorite hacker makes her entrance fairly early in the anime. However, she hasn’t been featured in the promotional materials. Although showrunner André Nemec believes fans will be content with Ed’s role, he hasn’t offered much clarity on what that is — if it exists at all.

Fortunately, fans will get answers about the Bebop crew soon. Cowboy Bebop debuts on Netflix on Nov. 19.