The long-awaited live-action adaptation of classic anime Cowboy Bebop is finally coming to Netflix, with John Cho donning the iconic sharp suit of bounty hunter Spike Spiegel alongside Mustafa Shakir and Daniella Pineda as fellow “space cowboys” Jet Black and Faye Valentine.


But while the remake does largely recreate the storylines and characters of the original series, one series actor has also hinted that there will be a few changes sure to surprise and wrongfoot the most hardcore of original anime fans.

“I would say there are definitely surprises,” Alex Hassell, who plays the villainous Vicious, told “I mean, I think that's important. It would be a shame if people who are real fans of the anime got nothing new.

“So there are definitely big surprises. Yeah, big plot twists and character reveals and Easter eggs, that will be really exciting to see.”

When asked exactly what those plot and character changes would be, Hassell kept his cards close to his chest – but he did note that more generally, differences came from the separate demands of animation and live-action storytelling.

“For everyone involved it was really important to imbue the spirit of the anime into this, [but] obviously we are people and therefore it is innately different. A slightly other thing,” he said.

“I wanted to make sure that there was a core of Vicious that is the anime and comes from the anime, but then obviously to make sure that I was taking on board the new and exciting sort of surprises that the live-action scripts were offering the opportunity to explore.

Cowboy Bebop
Alex Hassell as Vicious in Cowboy Bebop (Netflix)

“The anime definitely is a very clear jumping off point and then [I was] playing the material that I was given.”

Still, despite this Hassell said he and the other Cowboy Bebop cast weren’t feeling too much pressure from fans of the series.

“Well, I would say that everyone involved in the show, everyone just loves the anime," he told us. “It's a love letter to the fans, really, everyone cares very deeply about it.

“So that passion for the anime really imbued everything that we did. And there are tonnes of Easter eggs in the show that fans can be excited by. I'd say rather than pressure, it's just, it's fantastic.

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“I mean, it's not that often that you get to make a programme that's potentially already going to have a massive following and a great deal of enthusiasm behind it and love for it. So yeah, I'm just excited, really.”

Interview by Patrick Cremona

Cowboy Bebop launches on Netflix on Friday 19th November 2021 globally and The Tragedy of Macbeth (also starring Hassell) will premiere in select theatres on Saturday 25th December 2021 and globally on Apple TV+ on Friday 14th January 2022.


For more, check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.