Oh, friends, I am torn on this one. A new report making its rounds on the internet says that the beloved anime series Cowboy Bebop is getting a live-action TV series adaptation. That’s something I dreamed about back in 2012, but today, as I’m older, wiser, and far more skeptical about Hollywood’s ability to satisfactorily adapt anime properties, I think maybe this one’s better left alone. The good news is that there are very few details at the moment, so it’s likely in very early stages and may never see the light of day.
Variety reports that Tomorrow Studios–a partnership between ITV Studios and Marty Adelstein–will be adapting the late 90s anime series about a group of ragtag space-based bounty hunters. However, the write-up also says that the series will be executive produced by “Sunset Inc. — the studio responsible for the original animated iteration”, but the problem is that Sunrise, Inc. is actually the animation studio in question. Mistakes happen, but they also add to my skepticism on this particular story. Other parties involved include Midnight Radio’s Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, and Scott Rosenberg, plus Becky Clements and Matthew Weinberg. Chris Yost will pen the adaptation.
Yost’s name is an interesting inclusion in this story. He’s the writer behind such action-packed animated series as The Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2005-2008), The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and Wolverine and the X-Men, the latter of which Yost co-wrote along with Craig Kyle, introducing the character of X-23 and spinning off a comic book series centered on her. He’s also turned in scripts for the live-action Max Steel movie, has an uncredited creation for X-23 in Logan, and has worked on the stories for Marvel’s last two Thor films, including the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. Sticking with Marvel on the 20th Century Fox side of things, Yost was also recently assigned to write the Silver & Black script.
What does all this mean for a potential live-action Cowboy Bebop series? Ultimately, perhaps not much. Yost clearly has experience writing for animation and has dabbled in live-action for feature films, but his live-action TV series credits are non-existent as far as I can tell. Is Cowboy Bebop, a show known for its music, style, dialogue, humor, and complex storytelling, really the first thing you want to tackle? And beyond that, are you sure that the anime adaptation from Japanese creators–director Shinichirō Watanabe, screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto, character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto, mechanical designer Kimitoshi Yamane, and composer Yoko Kanno–featuring characters of more of a Western design is the social media minefield you want to walk through when it comes to casting?
I don’t know about this one, but luckily there’s very little to go on at the moment to suggest the Bebop is ever going to get off the ground.