Cowboy Bebop’s Andre Nemec explains Ed’s debut, and why she only appeared in the last episode of the show’s first season, played by Eden Perkins.
Cowboy Bebop‘s live-action premiere was met with some confusion on popular anime character Radical Ed not appearing until the end, with showrunner Andre Nemec responding. Cowboy Bebop is an adaptation of the anime of the same name, which debuted in 1998. The new live-action series premiered November 19 on Netflix with ten episodes.
Cowboy Bebop follows the crew of the Bebop, a spaceship the lead characters use for bounty hunting and exploring the universe. The original series follows the four main characters Spike, Jet, Faye, and Radical Ed, the latter a child prodigy hacker who joins the crew last in the ninth episode of the anime. The first season of Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop has already set itself apart from the anime by making multiple changes, both to characters and stories.
Nemec, in an interview with Netflix Unlocked (via ComicBook) the after show for Cowboy Bebop, said that Ed’s appearance late in the first season was intentional. He discusses how Ed’s introduction later in the anime worked to create conflict between the other established members of the Bebop and how he wanted the audience to feel invested in those characters dynamics before throwing in Ed to shake things up. Though Ed’s initial appearance was short in the first season, it’s very likely that she will have a much larger part in the second season, which the show has yet to be renewed for by Netflix. Read Nemec’s quote on Ed’s debut below:
“All we wanted was for Ed to make an appearance on Cowboy Bebop. You know, Ed doesn’t show up until the ninth episode of the anime. So it wasn’t like Ed is a core member of the Bebop crew from gate in the anime, and it was important to spend enough time with these characters in order to really understand them and get traction….[T]here needed to be some stability amongst who these people were before we could introduce this other sort of wild and crazy component into the show. That Radical Ed is always up to something wild and kooky, and getting the gang into trouble.”
Ed is played by Eden Perkins, making their screen debut as the character in the finale. Ed was already mentioned by name in episode 6, “Binary Two-Step,” in which the characters try to track down Ed, which is later revealed to be a red herring. Ed’s inclusion in the finale was meant to bring a moment of levity to proceedings, after Spike’s fight with Vicious and getting shot by his former love interest, Julia.
The new series has received mixed to negative reviews from critics, with many citing the writing and pacing as weak points. The original Cowboy Bebop was seen as a landmark in anime, especially in its reception in the West. Though the show could win some new fans by giving Ed a larger role, and with its reinterpretation of content and tone, the fact is that since Netflix is now streaming the original Cowboy Bebop series, why would fans settle for something that’s less beloved and more awkward in tone and presentation? In the end, the new Cowboy Bebop could turn things around in a second season, and fans will just have to wait and see if they do.
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