Cowboy Bebop Netflix series won’t be a “one-to-one” adaptation of the original

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Cowboy Bebop Netflix series writer Javier Grillo-Marxauch has revealed that the live-action show won’t be directly adapting the entirety of the source material’s 26-episode run, instead picking and choosing from certain classic characters and elements to help fit a wider narrative.

“You’ve got a show where you have 26 episodes that are full of very colourful villains, very colourful stories, very colourful adversaries, bounties, and all of that,” Grillo-Marxauch told io9. “We’re not going to go one-to-one on all of those stories because we’re also trying to tell the broader story of Spike Spiegel and the Syndicate, Spike Spiegel and Julia, Spike Spiegel and Vicious, and all that.”

The series, which io9 confirmed will feature hour-long episodes instead of the relatively bite-sized 22-minutes, should still include many of the “Bounty of the Week” villains that Spike and co. have to hunt down for those precious woolongs.

“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 into this broader narrative?’ So that we are telling both of the big stories that Cowboy Bebop tells,” Grillo-Marxauch said.

But fans of the seminal '90s anime needn’t worry. It’s still going to be Cowboy Bebop through and through, even if it doesn’t retrace the exact steps of the original: “You can’t look at Cowboy Bebop and say, ‘Well, it’s just a take-off point. We’re going to give them different hair and different clothing, and we’re gonna call it something different. And it’s just sort of gonna be a loose thing. If you’re doing Cowboy Bebop, you’re doing Cowboy Bebop. You know? It’s kind of like doing Star Wars.”

Much like the show’s jazz background, the Cowboy Bebop Netflix series will have a start point and end point, but it’ll experiment with the beats in-between to tell the story it needs to. Just keep the scene where Ein is hopped up on mushrooms. Pretty please?

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.