Netflix has announced that the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop will be arriving later this year, on 19 November. Along with the announcement, Netflix also released the first images from the show – featuring John Cho as the lead – which rekindled a fan-favourite debate: is Spike Spiegel Jewish?

Cowboy Bebop set to arrive on Netflix

Netflix has finally announced the release date for its long-delayed, live-action adaptation of the popular classic anime series Cowboy Bebop.

The live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop will be arriving on the streaming service later this year, on 19 November.

Netflix also released the first images from the show, giving excited fans some sense of how the upcoming series will look.

The images show actor John Cho (from Star Trek) as the series’ lead character, Spike Spiegel, in the character’s iconic blue leisure suit and yellow shirt get-up.

The series will also star Alex Hassell (Suburbicon), Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), and Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage), among others.

According to ars technica, André Nemec (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) will be the series’s showrunner.

As for the director of the original anime series, Shinichirō Watanabe, he will be acting as a consultant for the new show.

Also returning from the anime is score composer Yoko Kanno.

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Is Spike Spiegel Jewish?

Following the streaming service’s announcement, some fans have rekindled the long-lived debate: is Spike Spiegel Jewish?

According to Cowboy Bebop Wiki, in Volume 3 of the manga, a trucker describes Spike as Asian using an outdated term.

However, many of the character’s attributes are reminiscent of ones typically used in Western media to portray Jewish-coded characters.

Spike’s surname, Spiegel, is a typically Jewish one. His very frizzy dark hair is also a physical trait associated with the Jewish diaspora.

Moreover, Spike also carries an Israeli-made firearm, a Jericho 941.

Yet, when asked about the character’s Jewish traits, the creators allegedly responded along the lines that they chose the surname because it looked cool.

On the other hand, according to Boulder Jewish News, when asked whether Spike could be Jewish, the show’s creator, Shinichiro Watanabe, said “sure, why not?”.

Additionally, the Spike special on the Cowboy Bebop movie notes that Spike’s physical appearance was based on the Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda.

It’s a tough one.

Twitter picks on Cowboy Bebop casting

Parallelly to the “is Spike Spiegel Jewish?” debate, fans have also taken to Twitter to comment on the streaming service’s casting choices.

John Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea, and is set to play Spike Spiegel, the maybe-Japanese-maybe-Jewish lead.

But as one Quora user wrote: “John Cho is a prominent Asian-American actor… Hollywood is keen to cast Asian [actors] which is commendable and overdue.”

As for Singapore-born Faye Valentine, she will be portrayed by Mexican-American actress Daniella Pineda.

And Jet Black, the officer of the ISSP and later bounty hunter from Ganymede, is set to be portrayed by POC actor Mustafa Shakir – and some fans have pointed out that the character appears to be white in the original series.

Nevertheless, the Bebop crew is looking badass – Ein is definitely one to look for.

Cowboy Bebop is set to premiere on Netflix on 19 November.

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