Netflix cancelled the big-budget adaptation of the famous 1998 anime Cowboy Bebop – created by Andre Nemec – after just one season due to the poor reception of the show. John Cho has now opened up about the decision, calling it “shocking”.
Cho played the iconic character of Spike Spiegel in the show. He is joined by a ragtag team of bounty hunters, played by Daniella Pineda and Mustafa Shakir, as they battle criminals across the galaxies and deal with their inner demons.
During the 1990s, anime was extremely popular and the decade became a defining moment in Japanese anime and pop culture history, the Netflix live-action adaptation was cancelled just three weeks after its premiere in November 2021.
Previously, before the release of the series, fans of the anime had criticised casting decisions, talking about how Cho was too old to play the suave and charming Spike. But Cho defended the same by talking about how he added an aura of maturity and experience to the space cowboy.
The role required the actor to perform high-strung action stunts that led to a torn ACL ligament in the knee. This halted production, and the actor had been to rehab to recuperate before resuming production. Visibly miffed and disgruntled, Cho revealed to The Hollywood Reporter, “I put a lot of my life into it.”
“It was this huge mountain for me to climb, healing from that injury. I felt good about myself as a result. We also shot the show in New Zealand, so my family moved there. It was just a huge event in my life, and it was suddenly over,” he said.
Revealing how “bummed” he is and how “shocking” the whole cancellation was, he, however, expressed his gratitude for the outpour of love and support he has received from fans. He concluded, “I will value it [love and support from fans] and treasure it. I’m just really deeply appreciative that anyone would care. It’s stunning to me.”
After the series was cancelled, a legion of enraged fans started an online petition on Change.org to bring back the show for a second season. Their dedication has amassed over 100,000 signatures already. However, Netflix has stuck with their decision due to poor viewership ratings.
Read here to find out why we think Cowboy Bebop failed to live up to the stature of the original series.