Please note, the below article includes spoilers for Cowboy Bebop.
When it comes to adapting popular titles, changes are always expected. This is because it’s important storytellers are allowed to craft something unique for fans. Merely adapting a title scene-for-scene makes it difficult for the creatives involved to leave their mark. When it comes to adapting popular animes, though, Hollywood hasn’t exactly had the best track record. Cowboy Bebop, unfortunately, falls into the latter group.
Ever since it was revealed Netflix would be adapting Cowboy Bebop in live-action, fans have been eagerly awaiting news regarding the casting of a certain fan-favorite. While cast members for Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), Spike Spiegel (John Cho) and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) were announced, there was radio silence regarding Edward’s involvement. It was a strange move, especially given how popular of a character Radical Edward is and how important she becomes to the rag-tag group of heroes. However, with the Netflix series telling its own take on the beloved anime, fans were hopeful Edward would appear in some capacity.
And she does… just not in the capacity fans were probably hoping.
The first season of Cowboy Bebop consists of 10-episodes. While it takes pointers from the anime, often incorporating bits from some of its more popular episodes, none of the episodes truly follow the anime exactly. On one hand, it’s a smart move because it allows for creative freedom. On the other hand, though, too much creative freedom when adapting a popular title could result in a tale that barely resembles its source.
Throughout the first season, Edward is missing. She’s mentioned for a brief moment in the sixth episode. It happens when Jet and Spike discuss the hacker Radical Edward, but that’s it. Until the final episode, that is. In the final minutes of “Supernova Symphony,” Edward finally makes her grand entrance alongside Ein, who the group abandoned in an earlier episode.
Her entrance is not explained, nor is it explained how she came upon Ein. However, it’s clear she knows Spike as Edward calls him by his first name. He’s passed out on the ground after getting drunk at a nearby bar. Earlier in the episode, we saw the group go their separate ways as Spike’s past finally becomes known to Jet. It’s a surprising ending, as in the anime, the group doesn’t split until the final episodes. Spike, in true Spike fashion, seems to be seeking an escape through alcohol. Unfortunately for him, though, Edward is not one to give up.
When he initially tries to ignore her, Edward explains she’s come to him because she has a bounty for him. As the cameras pan out, we see Edward trying to wake a drunken Spike from his slumber much to his dismay.
For a character as popular as Edward, and one Netflix seems to acknowledge is popular among fans, it makes little sense as to why she gets all of 4 minutes of screen-time in Season 1. Furthermore, her entrance just as the team falls apart after enduring some of their toughest missions makes little sense. Edward may be a bit loud and a bit strange at times, but she’s as core to the group as Ein. More importantly, she helps the team on more than one occasion. Her near erasure from Season 1 makes little sense.
Hopefully, when Season 2 happens, Edward receives a larger role, because a Cowboy Bebop show without Edward just feels wrong.
Cowboy Bebop is now streaming on Netflix.