André Nemec, the showrunner for Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop, has promised fans of the original anime that, rather than “violating” the series’ established story, his live-action adaptation will instead serve as “an expansion to the canon”.
Addressing fan criticisms of the live-action adaptation’s very existence during an interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Nick Romano published on September 21st, Nemec asserted, “I promise we will never take the original anime away from the purists. It will always exist out there, but I’m very excited about the stories that we’re telling.”
“I believe we’ve done a really nice job of not violating the canon in any direction but merely offering some extra glimpses into the world that was already created,” he continued, noting that he considers his series to be “an expansion to the canon” which will “add things” to the Cowboy Bebop mythos.
In a further attempt to assuage fan fears, Nemec then turned to speak on how the production team “got under the skin of who the live-action characters were going to be,” explaining, “I think that the poetic nature of the anime absolutely allowed for us to mine the archetypal nature of the characters and dig out deeper histories that we wanted to explore — and answer some of the questions that the anime leaves you with.”
“I think to just redo the anime will leave an audience hungry for something that they already saw,” he said. “The anime did an amazing job. We don’t need to serve the exact same meal. I think it would have been disappointing if we did.”
On the specific topic of Spike Speigel, the series’ main character, Nemec stated that while he found him to be a laconic character, “that laconic nature underscored a darker past and a bit of pain.”
“If you really break it down in the anime, he’s a cowboy with a broken heart who really likes to gunsling and pretend nothing’s wrong, but there is something wrong,” Nemec added. “As much as it was like, ‘Let’s go chase funny for Spike Spiegel one-liners,’ there needs to be a real person underneath it.”
Interestingly, John Cho, who plays the blue-suited bounty hunter in the live-action Netflix adaptation and spoke to Romano alongside Nemec, admitted that while he was impressed with how anime artists could portray “natural phenomena” such as inclement weather, “in terms of animation style, I found that there was a limit to where I could go with how the character was supposed to behave on a moment-to-moment basis.”
“I had to blend in my own thoughts and ultimately leaned mostly on our scripts,” Cho told Romano. “At some point you have to play the scenes that are written. You’re in a scene, you’re in episode 5, and you just have to play the circumstance and the character as you’ve built it.”
Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop is set to premiere on November 19th.
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