Cowboy Bebop showrunner explains the Netflix series' divisive finale twist

Cowboy Bebop
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Cowboy Bebop Netflix series sure does carry a lot of dramatic weight as it heads into its final act. While some of it is lifted thanks to the actions of the Bebop crew, a sudden twist stops them – and the audience – in their tracks.

Now, showrunner André Nemec has spoken about how the big departure from the source material came to life, and why it was so important for a certain character.

Spoilers for Cowboy Bebop follow.

Julia is in control now. In a surprise about-turn, Elena Satine’s singer-turned-Syndicate-squeeze saves Spike from Vicious and offers up a pact between the pair so they can rule the Syndicate together.

When Spike refuses, Julia shoots him through a chapel window – mirroring an iconic anime scene – and leaves him for dead. Doubling down on the villainy, she also has Vicious chained up and kept out of the public eye, while declaring she’ll be leading the Syndicate on his behalf.

Why the change? In an interview with the Los Angeles Times (H/T Screen Rant), Nemec said the creative discussions about the character led to the transformation.

"The more we talked about [Julia] in the writers’ room, the more it became clear that we had this amazing opportunity to birth a villain," Nemec explained. "To see this woman – who has been put into this environment and through her desire to escape the environment [is] inculcated into its horror, into its violence – realize that [she can] take the reins now."

Some fans may not agree with how Julia’s arc diverts from the anime, but there’s certainly a great deal of logic behind it. After years of abuse and detachment, Julia is coiled and ready to strike back – with the might of the Syndicate behind her.

Find out where else the show is headed next with our complete breakdown of the Cowboy Bebop ending.

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.