Netflix’s upcoming live-action series “Cowboy Bebop” is going on a lengthy hiatus following a knee injury sustained by lead John Cho on the set of the show in New Zealand.
Sources describe the injury as a freak accident that happened on the last take of a routine and well-rehearsed scene. It requires surgery, for which Cho has been flown back to Los Angeles, and an extensive rehabilitation. The production shutdown is expected to last seven to nine months. The new filming schedule will be set once Cho’s prognosis is clear.
“Cowboy Bebop,” an adaptation of the cult Japanese animated series, was a few episodes into production on its 10-episode order when the accident happened. Netflix marked the show’s start of production last week with a behind-the-scene video which featured Cho.
Being relatively early into filming would allow Netflix to recast the role, but Deadline hears the streamer is fully committed to Cho in the title role, willing to wait until late spring/early summer to resume filming, along with the logistical challenges that presents.
“Our thoughts are with John, and he has our complete support as he recuperates from this injury,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline.
Following Deadline’s story, Cho posted a message on Instagram, quoting the great Bruce Lee, thanking fans for their well wishes, and vowing to be “back and flowing in no time.”
The space western hails from Tomorrow Studios, Marty Adelstein’s joint venture with ITV Studios; Midnight Radio (Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg); writer Chris Yost; and Sunrise, the studio behind the original series.
Written/executive produced by Yost based on the worldwide phenomenon, “Cowboy Bebop” is the jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of Spike Spiegel (Cho), an impossibly cool “cowboy” (bounty hunter) with a deadly smile, a wry wit and style to spare and his ragtag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. They’ll even save the world — for the right price.
Nemec, Appelbaum, Pinkner and Rosenberg executive produce via Midnight Radio and serve as showrunners. Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements executive produce for Tomorrow Studios. Yasuo Miyakawa, Masayuki Ozaki and Shin Sasaki of Sunrise also executive produce alongside Tetsu Fujimura and Matthew Weinberg. Shinichiro Watanabe, director of the original anime, serves as consultant.
“Cowboy Bebop” is a co-production between Netflix and Tomorrow Studios, with Netflix handling physical production.
“Cowboy Bebop,” considered one of the best anime series of all time, produced 26 episodes and aired in Japan from 1998-99. It has done well internationally, garnering several anime and science fiction awards, and is credited with helping to introduce anime to a new wave of Western viewers. In the US, it aired on Adult Swim.
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