John Cho Is Worried About the Comparisons Between the Live-Action ‘Cowboy Bebop’ and the Anime

Fans love their animated series and comics so much; most are excited when a live-action series is filmed with their favorite characters coming to life. However, not everyone is confident that the ultimate comparison of the anime to the live-action will stand the test of time. John Cho has his concerns that the Cowboy Bebop live-action remake will not withstand the fan’s criticisms.

‘Cowboy Bebop’ is going live

Cowboy Bebop is an animated series set in the future after a hyper drive accident forces most of the population to seek other planets to live on. In the year 2071, the series follows a group of misfits that band together to begin bounty hunting in their spaceship Bebop. Cowboys are the name given to the individuals that take the jobs of hunting down the galaxy’s criminals and return them alive for justice. As the series progresses the team gains members and difficulties emerge from their pasts.

John Cho plays Spike Spiegel, while his co-stars include Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine, Alex Hassell as Vicious, and Elena Satine as Julia. According to Anime News Network, Cho is very concerned with playing a character that is nearly half his age. Cho’s concerns are more than age-related, they extend into the comparisons between the anime and the live-action remake. It’s one of the reasons that he wanted to make sure the live-action wasn’t a scene-by-scene remake.

John Cho’s concerns regarding comparing the anime and the live-action ‘Cowboy Bebop’

John Cho
John Cho | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Cho was injured while filming an episode in October 2019, tearing an ACL according to Variety. This led to a production stop for seven to nine months. After healing, production continued to be stalled by New Zealand’s lockdown. Production was allowed to proceed in September 2020 and wrapped in March 2021.

The time of healing led Cho into a long space of time that allowed his concerns to bloom. Before he was injured on set, the series had shot six of the ten episodes. Cho was quoted by Anime News Network regarding his concerns, “This interview is all about me freaking out. But the amount of thought and worry and effort and number of days I’ve logged thinking about Spike is now equaling the fear I have about the reaction.”

Even though Cho states his fear of the reaction to his playing Spike is high, it didn’t stop him from accepting the role. After he read the pilot for the series, Cho did his research. Cho watched the anime series and was hooked. However, his first stipulation was that the original anime composer Yoko Kanno was hired for the live-action sounds.

Will the eventual comparisons stunt the show’s success?

With all remakes and conversions, there will be some pushback. Cho’s concerns are founded, however, since they are keeping close to the Cowboy Bebop anime’s original story, there is room to make the series more realistic without destroying the fantasy that the anime fans love. Plus, there is more to come from the series because of the live-action remake’s attention.

One positive is the new comic series based on the anime, Cowboy Bebop: The Comic Series. It will debut in December with multiple variants of covers courtesy of Titan Comics. In May 2022, the comics will be followed by a collected paperback release.  Cowboy Bebop will be thriving with new material for old and new fans to soak up. Watch for the release of Cowboy Bebop streaming on Netflix starting November 19th. The books and comics will be released starting in November as well.

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