‘Cowboy Bebop’ Netflix Live-action Series: Bounty Heads We’d Like to See Return from Anime Episodes

A live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop is a Bad Idea. The chance of successfully adapting the stylish, planet-hopping bounty hunter anime to live-action seems to be virtually nil. The original series—spanning 26 episodes and an excellent movie—is far cooler than normal humans could ever be, combining space adventure and overt music themes that would probably look try-hard and cringe-inducing in any format other than animation. But Netflix is going for it anyway, so we might as well hope for the best.

Cowboy Bebop, which premiered in 1998, follows the adventures of the Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, two fortune-seekers who chase “bounty heads” across the solar system (Earth is a wreck, but we’ve colonized the rest). Despite their best efforts and talents, the crew of the Bebop rarely manage to turn in their bounties and struggle to pay for food and fuel as they chase the next job. Along the way, they pick up a super-intelligent Welsh corgi, the gambler Faye Valentine and Ed, a hacker who’s ostensibly human, but seems to be made of silly putty.

It’s not yet known about the plot of the Netflix live-action Cowboy Bebop series will remake the story of the original series or go off in its own direction, but it’s hard to imagine series villains like Vicious, of the Red Dragon syndicate on Mars, not appearing. Episodic bounty heads are more of an open question. Here are a few we’d love to see pop up in Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop.

Twinkle Maria Murdock

“Gateway Shuffle”

Bounty: 25 million Woolong

Twinkle_Maria_Singing-cowboy-bebop-netflix Maria Murdock radicalized a formerly peaceful group of environmental activists. Go Maria! Sunrise

Where have all the environmental terrorists gone? Even as the world burns, ecoterrorism is a concept that seems to have been left behind in the 90s, like good Steven Seagal movies. But they pop up in Cowboy Bebop, not on the devastated Earth, but on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, where “Twinkle” Maria Murdock and her Space Warriors, who fight to defend the delicious Ganymede Sea Rat. While Cowboy Bebop is loaded with still-current sci-fi Big Ideas, like emergent A.I. and genetically-engineered plagues, what could be more relevant than pulling out all the stakes to save the environment?

 

Rock Lobster Blob

“Toys in the Attic”

spike-cowboy-bebop-netflix-rock-lobster Spike tries to light a cigarette with a flamethrower in "Cowboy Bebop'"s tribute to "Alien." Sunrise

Okay, this one isn’t quite a bounty—it’s a fungal growth that bloomed off a Ganymede rock lobster left in the Bebop fridge too long. But “Toys in the Attic” captures two Cowboy Bebop strengths better than any other episode: depicting the doldrums and difficulties of shipboard life, while simultaneously paying homage to classic sci-fi with a powerful retelling, in this case 1979’s Alien.

The Netflix Cowboy Bebop shouldn’t necessarily remake “Toys in the Attic,” but it’d be fascinating to see a live-action reskin of sci-fi royalty, with Spike, Faye, Ed and Jet thrust into a situation familiar to us, but terrifying to them. How about… The Thing? Or maybe Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

 

Udai Taxim

“Black Dog Serenade”

udai-taxim-cowboy-bebop-netflix Udai Taxim doesn't want to go to Pluto. Sunrise

This guy’s likely to show up in any Cowboy Bebop remake because, like Vicious, he’s central to the backstory of one of the characters, in this case Jet Black. Before Jet became a bounty hunter, he was a cop on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Though the police force was riddled with corruption, Jet was clean. That didn’t suit the local European syndicate too well, so they sent Udai Taxim, an assassin, to deal with Jet. It was Udai who cost Jet his left arm (or, at least, that’s what Jet believes).

Even without the tie-in, Udai is a cool character. A master of knives and hand-to-hand combat, Udai appears in Cowboy Bebop after taking over a prison ship on the way to Pluto. He’s basically Vin Diesel’s character Riddick, except “Black Dog Serenade” aired a year before Pitch Black.

 

Mad Pierrot

“Pierrot le Fou”

cowboy-bebop-mad-pierrot-netflix Spike getting whooped by Mad Pierrot. Sunrise

There’s not a whole lot to this character beyond a creepy laugh, often punctuated with a spine-shivering gritting of his teeth, but Mad Pierrot may be the deadliest bounty the Bebop team ever takes on.

A bulbous Frenchman in a top hat, three-piece suit and neck ruff, Mad Pierrot is also the strangest looking bounty. Despite his rotund shape, Pierrot can float, which makes for an interesting fighting style. Spike, usually a match for any challenger, gets wrecked by what amounts to a giggling, besuited, balloon animal. It’s very weird. And while it’s hard to imagine pulling off Mad Pierrot in live-action without looking silly, I’d love to see Netflix try.

 

Teddy Bomber Ted Bower

“Cowboy Funk”

teddy-bomber-cowboy-bebop-netflix Ted Bower, taking down capitalism one teddy bear bomb at a time. Sunrise

Anti-capitalism looked a lot sillier in the 90s, when socialism was still a fringe position instead of the millennial mainstream, but Ted Bower’s frustration at being ignored is still relatable to any anti-capitalist trying to make headway in the American political system. Bower, aka the Teddy Bomber, attacked symbols of capitalism with explosive teddy bears, trying to bring attention to the dangers of unchecked markets.

But the best thing about the Teddy Bomber as a Cowboy Bebop bounty head is that he’s unlike the myriad other super-criminals on the show. Bower is just a normal dude—a middle-aged guy with a paunch and an axe to grind.

I’d also like to see the Teddy Bomber appear in Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop because his episode, “Cowboy Funk,” also introduces one of Cowboy Bebop ’s best characters...

 

Cowboy Andy

spike-cowboy-andy-bebop-netflix Andy and Spike face off, as the Teddy Bomber watches in frustration. Sunrise

Cowboy Andy isn’t a bounty head, he’s another bounty hunter who’s incredibly talented at getting under Spike’s skin. Instead of Spike’s jazz lounge suit, Andy’s got a cowboy thing going, which drives Spike up the wall.

Netflix, why not make a Cowboy Andy show instead?

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