Yesterday the internet exploded when it was announced that John Cho will star in Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop remake, as the space bounty hunter Spike Spiegel. Lainey emailed me about it, and I think I disappointed her when I said I’m not into Cowboy Bebop. It’s one piece of nerdery I just never got into. But a LOT of people are VERY excited about John Cho starring as Spike. Kayleigh Donaldson was calling for this a year ago, and after news of his casting got out, John Cho was trending all over social media. People are super stoked he is Spike. Cho is joined by Mustafa Shakir, lately of Luke Cage and Brawl in Cell Block 99, who will co-star as Spike’s partner, Jet Black. Daniella Pineda and Alex Hassell have also been cast, as the thief Faye Valentine and Vicious, the main bad guy, respectively. Not yet cast is Radical Edward, a teen hacker prodigy. This is one of the most painfully cool ensembles in genre, and with John Cho heading the group, Cowboy Bebop is off to a solid start. (I didn’t get into Cowboy Bebop—never said I didn’t see it.) John Cho’s cool factor has always been underappreciated, and if you’re wondering why you should care about Cowboy Bebop, it’s the chance to enjoy John Cho swaggering around like an existentially-challenged Han Solo.
It’s long overdue, but Cho has finally gained some traction as a leading man in the last couple years, with movies like Columbus and Searching, and popping up in TV projects as diverse as Drunk History, The Exorcist, and Jordan Peele’s new Twilight Zone. But anchoring an anticipated project like Cowboy Bebop is his biggest gig yet. It’s high profile, could be long-running, and depending on how much effort Netflix puts into promotion, it might even be prestigious. Game of Thrones proved fantasy can be high class TV, and with it ending, there will be a lot of people wanting to indulge their genre habit and they’ll need a fix. Cowboy Bebop, the story of a group of bounty hunters tooling around space, led by John Cho playing one of anime’s most impossibly cool characters, could be the perfect antidote.