The live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop debuts on Netflix this fall, and fans are worried that it will fail to live up to the beloved anime, a sentiment echoed by its creator, Shinichirō Watanabe. During a 2019 interview with Japanese news outlet Otaquest that recently resurfaced on the YouTube channel of Hero Hei, Watanabe is quoted as saying, “I have no choice but to pray and hope that it will turn out good.”
Watanabe is listed as a consultant for the series in recently released promotional materials from Netflix, according to Bounding Into Comics, but as Watanabe explained in the 2019 interview, “I don’t have any right to stop” decisions made by the new production team. “Those rights are in the hands of Sunrise, so if you have a complaint, please send it to them.” Bounding Into Comics quotes series star John Cho, who plays the bounty hunter Spike Spiegel, confirming that the live-action crew “did not communicate” with Watanabe.
That said, the lack of communication between Watanabe and the new production team does not necessarily mean the new version of Cowboy Bebop will disappoint. Watanabe observed previously: “When transitioning a manga to an anime, if the original author speaks out on various points, it makes the work for the anime staff and it won’t necessarily make it a good product.”
Ultimately, the live-action show will rise and fall on its own merits, and too much advice from the anime creator could be counterproductive. It sounds like Watanabe is keeping a healthy distance. We’ll find out in a couple of months how well everything worked out.