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‘Cowboy Bebop’: Netflix Releases First-Look Photos of John Cho as Spike Spiegel

John Cho rocking out the blue Japanese suit as Spike Siegel in Netflix’s live-action “Cowboy Bebop.” Netflix.

Nearly three years after its initial announced production, the first publicized Cowboy Bebop images are here, arriving just before the new show’s November premiere announcement.

John Cho stars as Spike Siegel, the protagonist in the long-delayed, live-action adaptation of the influential, cult-classic anime series, arriving from outer space on Nov. 19.

Fans anxious to see what theatrical treatment series showrunner André Nemec would give the 26-episode animated 1998 show should rest assured. The stills suggest Bebop remains badass.

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In addition to Cho as Siegel, Alex Hassell appears as the antagonist Vicious, an ambitious criminal affiliated with the Red Dragon Syndicate, Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine, an amnesiac con artist and Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, a former ISSP officer. There’s even a real life Corgi who plays Ein, the irresistibly cute, genetically engineered “data dog” who can answer the phone, drive, and provide situational analysis. 

Bebop’s original story follows the gang of sometimes successful, sometimes bumbling, space-traveling bounty hunters. Sizzling with a frenetic jazz soundtrack, callouts ranged from 1950s spy shows to modern action movies. Born on Mars, The gang’s loose leader is Spike, an exiled former hitman of the Red Dragon criminal syndicate. His character borrows heavily from Lupin III, the manga grandson of gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, the titular character in Maurice Leblanc’s series of novels.

Nemec previously worked as a writer and producer on the sci-fi TV series “Alias” and the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. The director of the original anime series, Shinichirō Watanabe, is also a consultant for bringing Bebop to the non-animated realm. 

Stills also hint at some of the storylines that will be featured in the series, including what looks to be the church from the iconic “Ballad of Fallen Angels” episode. Still, show makers are making sure they’re not just making an anime copy. Last year, writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach told io9 that Cowboy Bebop will expand its narrative.

“We’re not going to go one-to-one on all of those stories,” Grillo-Marxuach said. “We are looking at the show and saying, ‘Who are some of the great villains in this show, and how can we put them into this broader narrative?’” 

Each original anime episode follows a different musical theme by Yoko Kanno. True to its roots, Netflix brought back composer Kanno who will release a new, jazz-inspired soundtrack as the show debuts Nov. 19. We’ll see you cowboys in space then.

Read more: Essential Anime Movies

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Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
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