the vulture transcript

Cowboy Bebop (Finally) Takes Flight

Eight months of delays, two corgis, and one freak injury: the show’s stars on the long road to remaking a classic.

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Bobby Doherty
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Bobby Doherty
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Bobby Doherty

At the premiere party for the live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop in Los Angeles last Thursday, showrunner Andre Nemec told the audience it had been 1,121 days since he started the writers’ room for the show. After all, others had tried and failed to make an English-language, human-actor version of the beautifully strange and elegiac anime. But now, through an ongoing global pandemic and a knee injury that took out leading man John Cho, they had done it: ten episodes of a neo-noir space Western set to a score by Yoko Kanno. “My mantra was always, we’re not remaking Cowboy Bebop; we are going to live in the spirit of Cowboy Bebop,” Nemec says. “We’ll begin crafting a story that lives in the canon but expands the canon — for better or worse.”

A couple days later, the three principal actors of the good ship Bebop — Cho as the laconic, puffy-haired Spike Spiegel; Mustafa Shakir as metal-armed dad of the crew Jet Black; and Daniella Pineda as the spiky, punky Faye Valentine — joined us at Vulture Festival to give the audience a spoiler-free sneak peek at the show, which premieres on Netflix today. Each of the actors picked a clip that offers a taste of the Cowboy Bebop world they inhabited. Watch them talk about auditioning, their on-set chemistry, and costume controversies, or read on for the full transcript. What else is there to say? Let’s jam.

What was it like to watch Cowboy Bebop on the big screen at the premiere?
Daniella Pineda: It’s been a really, really long journey, so to finally have it out and celebrate all the hard work, it sort of felt like it was never going to happen. I think we were all hyped.

Yoko Kanno, the music composer, was also there. Did you get to meet her?
DP: Yeah, it was like meeting a unicorn. She came out of nowhere and was like, “Hi, I came here from Japan.” I was like, “What?” I was starstruck. It was a big deal.

And she’s only here for two days, just for this!
John Cho: She’s a baller. I was told she didn’t decide to come until a couple of days prior, but she’s definitely idiosyncratic. And I would argue that she, as much as anyone, defines what the show is. In a literal sense, scene to scene, her score tells you what the meaning of the scene is, and all her choices are unusual. Everything — every choice — is not the one a music supervisor would select, so she is really the soul of the show, in my opinion.

And she was important for you to agree to do the show, right?
JC: Yeah. It wasn’t like I was threatening or anything, but that was the first question. I said, “Is she in?” and the answer was “Yes.” I don’t know how I would have felt if the answer was no. I think I would have had the Charlie Brown dark cloud over me, over the show, if I thought it was somebody else.

DP: Yeah, if we didn’t have her, I know fans would be, “What is this? What are you trying to do?”

I’m curious about each of your relationships to the original anime. Were you fans of it? Did you watch it?
Mustafa Shakir: I did. I saw it back in the early 2000s, after the club, hanging out. I was like, “Oh wow! This is an interesting mash-up of different ingredients.”

DP: Before Mustafa did this cool look, it was Usher. [Laughs.]

MS: I fell in love with it right away, and the rest is history.

DP: I knew of its existence but I hadn’t watched it. I was a hardcore Sailor Moon fan. Shoutout to Sailor Moon. Sailor Mars was my person. Really, I think the only reason anyone liked that show was because they got to transform and change outfits all the time, and that was very glamorous. But I had not seen Cowboy Bebop until this opportunity came, and then I fully immersed myself.

JC: I had not seen the show. I was not fully aware of it at all until they came to me. The first call I made was to, strangely, Aneesh Chaganty, who directed a film I did called Searching, just because he’s younger and cool. And I said, “Have you heard of something called Cowboy Bebop? It’s come to me.” And he said, “Which character?” I said, “Let me pull up the email: Spike Spiegel.” And he said, “You have to fucking do it. Just do it.” I obeyed.

Watching it either for the first time or re-watching it, was it helpful for you to figure out your character and how you would synergize the one that exists with the one you wanted to make?
MS: I mean, because we were paying so much attention to the original material — because this is truly a love letter to the fans — yeah, I did study it a bit. But you have to separate yourself at a certain point so you can bring what is uniquely you to it. There is so much in the original piece. I mean, the tone of Beau Billingslea’s voice was really influential to me, among other things.

DP: I think you have to look at the source material. You have to look at the blueprint. You have to study the anime. But the thing that we all did was, you find a moment with your character. And our show, which is a springboard of the anime, is an opportunity to really expand. My favorite moment is any time Faye eats anything and it’s rushed. She’s like a ravenous raccoon, and it’s all over her face. That tells me so much about who she is and how to live in her body.

JC: I will also note that I did study the anime, in particular his physicality, which was my entrance into understanding what I was gonna do, because I didn’t know how to do it until I did it, if that makes any sense.

I will say, the whole production team was so reverential and so respectful and so focused on creating, getting the world right, that I didn’t feel a whole lot of pressure to have to carry that in my performance. I felt like as long as I fit into what they’re setting up, go with the flow, I think I should be OK, because I felt very secure in the production design elements. And everyone was talking, from the first fitting and on, just down the departments, everyone was just trying to get the Bebop feel right. It was never about getting something “correct,” it was about getting the Bebop feel. So I never had a crisis about how to play it, because the room was really set up for me.

Mustafa, what was the casting process like for you? Did you have to audition?
MS: Yeah, totally. I got the email like the rest of you guys: “Audition on Thursday.” First, I sent out a tape. Apparently they liked it.

Was it for Jet Black?
MS: It was for Jet Black. Then, I got a Skype interview where I used my Nerf gun as a disruptor. It was really corny. In hindsight I was like, “Dude, you just used a Nerf gun as a prop.” You know, whatever. YOLO. [Laughter.] And then we came out to LA and there was a room full of Spikes and Jets, that nerve-wracking kind of situation, and then I got it. Boom.

Wait, can we talk about the room full of Spikes and Jets?
MS: Yeah, for sure! I mean, I thought at least they would stack us time-wise so we wouldn’t see each other.

DP: They never do that! They always make you look at the other person and have it be awkward.

MS: At least not that many! It was like, four of each. I was like, “Oh my god.”

That’s a real mind-fuck.
MS: I know. There were dudes in there that looked really like Jet Black. I went in there and I had cornrows and a fedora, you know what I mean? And there was a dude in there with a jumpsuit on, and a scruffy beard, and he was bald. I was like, “Oh man! He got it!” I was like, “Focus, man! Focus!”

DP: But none of them have blue eyes.

MS: Oh well.

DP: [Growling noise]

MS: All right, moving on!

Dani, what was auditioning like for you?
DP: The thing that told me, “Oh, this is different,” is I went in to put my audition on tape and the girl who worked at the front desk of this place said, “What’s the audition for?” and I said “Cowboy Bebop.” And she said “What? What’s it for? Who are you playing?” “It’s for Faye Valentine?” “IT’S FOR FAYE VALENTINE?!

She looked like she was going to leap over the table. And I was like, “Holy shit! This is really intense.” And in a very short time, it was really obvious when you spoke to someone — either they didn’t know it, or if they did, it was like, zombie energy. It was intense love, like [gasping intake of breath]. That was a big indicator to me that, “Whoa, this is a big deal.”

How are you processing all of that?
JC: It’s a lot. And also, it’s a lot of surprises. As I say, I didn’t know about it, and then it’s like, “Oh, there’s so many fans, and they’re so intense!” Also, I just got back to America, so I’m dealing with that too. I’m like, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m just having a personal moment of disorientation.”

We should watch the first clip, which is John’s clip. Do you want to set the scene a little bit? It’s the Teddy Bomber scene, which I think everybody should know if they know the anime.
JC: I just thought it’s a really great piece of choreography, and it’s a Bebop fight scene, with the music and the humor and the wit. And it’s also when we might have laughed, you and me, Mu, the most, during the Teddy Bomber scene. We had a laugh-off. I’ll get into it one day.

Let’s get into it after the clip.
MS: Maybe!

So tell me about the laugh-off. What was it like shooting that scene?
JC: Let me see if I can set this up properly: We had a bootcamp where we did all these martial arts warm-ups and moves, so that was a great bonding experience for us. And at the end of that scene, we have to do the Lethal Weapon “ha ha” that was a close laugh from deep within us. But you get to take 12, and it’s hard to laugh laugh. And I was like, “I need to get the both of us laughing, and the Lethal Weapon old man joke is getting so creaky.” I’m having to do these warm-ups, these stretches, and I was like — it’s a visual joke, but — “I gotta do these martial arts warm-ups before getting into bed with the wife, if you know what I mean.” And so I’d bust a new one out every take, and it worked like a charm, did it not?

[They start doing moves.]

JC: Anyway, it got more and more elaborate.

MS: You had to be there.

JC: You had to be there.

What was the training like for each of you? Mustafa, I was reading that you did capoeira for Luke Cage back in the day. What did you do for this?
MS: Oh yeah, capoeira big-ups! No, we all were in boot camp for… I think it was six weeks this time. Maybe a little bit more. But from 8:00 to 3:00, we weapon-trained, we tumbled, we flipped, we shot stuff, we threw stuff, we played with knives, sticks. Allan Poppleton, the stunt coordinator, tried to prepare us for every war scenario that you can possibly imagine. It was full on. They were like, scientifically trying to expand our lungs so that we would fare well if we got COVID. They had assault fight training. It was pretty full on. And thank you, because it prepared us for some long shootouts. That was the training.

Did you each have a favorite martial art or weapon?
DP: I think around noon, we had lunch. That was my favorite time. I don’t know if I had a favorite. I mean, the end of the day was great because like, “Holy shit. We lived through that.” It was so intense. I would say if I had to pick one, I loved the tumbles. I like doing rolls. I think that’s really fun.

Did doing the training help you get into your character or access that person?
DP: Definitely. I feel like going through such an intense training regimen, which I had never done for anything that I’ve worked on, you have to be so focused and you have to be so in the moment. And you’re also realizing, “Wow, we’re portraying people who are crazy in shape.” It was really rewarding and really trying, and I couldn’t believe I came out of it alive.

JC: For me, if you’re gonna ask, “Who is Spike?” on the most basic level for me, every day, it was “He’s the guy who can do this,” and then you start internalizing that. It really is that simple sometimes. I go, “Oh, I’m the guy who walks around knowing he can do this.” That’s a different relationship with the world and any human being, so it was really helpful.

Did you have to learn how to fight with knives?
DP: Yeah, I did. I learned this cool one: so there’s a blade — I think a katana blade — that curves like a seed. I think it’s called “paint the fence,” but this is something else: “paint the taint,” where you take the blade when a person’s standing wide and you come underneath them from the back and you pull to the front. Fuck yeah!

MS: You’re being prepped for real stuff, yo!

That’s brutal!
DP: We’re deadly. I saw that and I was like, “That’s horrible! That’s terrifying!”

JC: It’s excessive.

DP: Like, can we tone it down a little bit?

If each of your characters had to go at it in a fight, who would win?
DP: [Points to the men.]

JC: I feel like Jet has an advantage because he’s got metal parts.

DP: That’s true.

MS: I agree.

JC: It’s armor! He’s literally half-Spanish conquistador!

DP: I was reading comments. By the way, the fan comments: I read all of them. One of the comments that I saw was, “What? Faye can take down Spike? This is bullshit!” And just know there’s a scene that’s in the trailer — I’m not giving anything away — where the two of us have a thing. And what Spike is telling Faye the whole time is like, “Don’t make me kill you.” So I just want to put that in your head, because I’ve been seeing that a lot. He’s like, the Bruce Lee of this universe. Faye’s not gonna take down Spike.

You were talking about how long the shoots could be. What were the most difficult scenes to film? Were they physically demanding in any way?
DP: Any night shoot ever.

JC: In episodes 9-10, the season climax is … [looks out into the audience] Am I okay? No, okay. There’s a sequence at the end — boss man —

André Nemec, everybody. 
JC: The showrunner! [Applause.] There was some intense fighting. The sequence, as I’ll call it, is exceptionally large in scale, and there’s so many people involved. It was also just an emotionally really dark place. I look back and I’m exhausted thinking about that sequence.

DP: This was the most rewarding and challenging project I’ve ever been part of, of anything I’ve done.

John, obviously you had a little boo-boo on your knee, and we talked about it before. I’m curious what it was like for all of you to come back to your characters and to this production after the break. Was it difficult to get back into the game?
MS: Fortunately, I think the time off was good in creating a marination process. We were able to do enough to look back and see where we were going, but not too much where we were too far and couldn’t change some things. I think it gave us a chance to really marinate on what we’d done and make a lot of adjustments — to scripts and trajectories of characters — as a result of that break. I think that was good. Coming back, hitting the ground running in bootcamp primes the engine so that you’re already in that headspace physically. It was seamless for me.

DP: Because we went on hiatus, it was like, “Is John okay? Is the show okay? What’s going to happen?” When we came back we were all in agreement that this was a blessing in disguise. This was the best thing that could have happened.

I’m happy that our show is coming out this year and not last year. There are a lot of really wonderful things that came out of it in addition to, “What can we make better?” Personally, I was in such good shape that first time around, and then the pandemic happened, and noodles happened and a lot of Bravo TV happened. Coming out of that, I hadn’t lost my Christmas weight. It was like, “Hoo, all right, getting back into it.” But actually in the end, it’s one of those things where in the moment you don’t know why this is happening, and then you look back on it and you go, “Oh, that happened exactly the way it should have.”

JC: I will say that the benefit for me was having a taste of — during rehab doing these leg exercises and all this stuff — visualizing what I would be doing when I came back. Because we had shot an episode and a half, I had an idea of what the rhythms would be, who I was working with. I can’t say I’d do it over again; it was terrible. But I do think it helped. I really was able to get my head around the thing because I’d had a taste of it. And usually when you’re shooting something, you come into a new environment as an actor and everyone else has been working a while before you. It is kind of traumatic. You’re just being thrown into things, into situations, and that is the job: to master these new situations as you go from place to place. But this was very unusual. It was the first time that kind of opportunity has fallen in my lap. And I did appreciate it in the big picture, the opportunity to visualize over those months.

Okay, let’s watch the second clip, which Daniella has chosen, and it is, I think, about hygiene methods?

DP: By the way, in real life, I do not advocate for shower-bath-shower. That is a colossal waste of water. We are in a drought. Don’t come after me.

Do you have a preference of showers versus baths?
DP: I like baths. All day, every day, bath.

Faye has a really biting wit. Is that something you connect with?
DP: The biting wit is not hard to relate to. It was like putting on a glove. [Laughs.] The fighting stuff was really tough, but there are aspects of Faye’s personality that are deeply relatable. She is the disruptor. And it was not hard — you can ask these two — to jump into that role. I had a lot of fun playing her. That’s an opportunity of a lifetime.

JC: I was gonna say, incidentally, I remember a lot of discussion over whether or not Spike Spiegel owns a robe. Where would he get a robe? Does he care about robes? He wears the same clothes every day. Does he pack a robe when he travels?

So you ultimately landed on yes? What was the thinking?
JC: I have to ask André. I think if I remember correctly, it’s a stolen-from-a-hotel robe.

Your wit was really on display, I think, after the first-look photos came out and you joked about what Faye would, or should, or could look like.
DP: So what people didn’t know is, I was getting the craziest DMs you could ever imagine. All kinds of fun stuff, like “What? You’re not 5’10”!” The famous one, if you follow my social media, is, “You’re a fridge!” And I was like, “I’ve gotta address this.”

So in my cheeky way, I went on social media and I was like, “Hey you guys, I’m so sorry. Netflix tried to put me in a time machine to put me back in time to get better-looking parents. We tried all options. It didn’t work.” And the greatest thing about that video — one, it was super fun to do, but also because Steve Blum got behind me and was like “Hell yeah! I’m all about this!” There was nothing a troll could say, because I got the voice of Spike Spiegel saying, “Yes, I’m onboard.”

I’ve gotten mostly really, really positive responses. But I also felt like it was in the spirit of Faye Valentine to address said issue in the way I did.

Yeah, it was a very Faye response.
DP: That’s what I thought. That’s what Steve Blum thought as well.

I did want to talk about the look, though. What was the conversation around constructing Faye’s outfit?
DP: Of course, we tried the original costume. We tried everything. And from a functionality standpoint, the biggest concern was: How does Faye operate in this real world? I need something to hide gels and stunt pads and plates and things that are going to protect me. So the costume was designed with that in mind. I wanted to be safe, I wanted to be comfortable, and I wanted to be able to complete a lot of the stuff on my own.

Mustafa, did you actually have to wear a metal arm for your character?
MS: Yes. It’s about 50 pounds.

DP: I think you had the toughest costume of all of us.

MS: Yeah, it was pretty involved. It’s not metal, but the art department did an amazing job. It’s plastic, and it straps to the body. We had fun together, me and that arm.

Did you name it?
MS: I didn’t. I cursed at it though.

JC: It’s called “Fucking Shit!”

John, what was your relationship to Spike’s costume?
JC: Obviously mine was a lot simpler in its creation, but we talked about colors and fabric a lot with Jane Holland, the costume designer. The costume has a lot of information in it. If you care, at some point, to look at details like buttons and belt buckles and soles of shoes, there’s Easter eggs all over the costume. Part of that for me was knowing that everything was imbued with meaning. When I put it on, I looked in the mirror and said, “Oh, I am this person.” So much of it is convincing yourself you are that person before you can convince anyone, and the costume did a lot of work. It’s pretty ingenious. It’s a suit, but it doesn’t look like a business suit. He puts it up, so it’s a little bit of pop star to me.

DP: A little GQ.

JC: A little GQ, shades of gangster in there — I don’t know how they got it just so, but it works.

How do you like the longer hair for yourself?
JC: It’s an upkeep issue! But generally I’m good with it.

Was there a thing for each of you that helped you access your character,? Was there a song, a costume, or something that helped you lock in?
DP: In the anime, there was a song, an audio, of Faye watching herself as a child. And any time I had a sad scene, I would listen to that audio. It’s on YouTube, and I would just play it, because it genuinely made me very sad. That was really, really helpful.

Was there anything for you, Mustafa?
MS: Being there was enough for me. The costume was a huge part, because once you put that on … I mean, I’ve got a face blade, I’ve shaved all my hair off, I’ve got a beard, and it was full on. If I didn’t feel like Jet Black after I put that costume on, I got bigger problems, you know? It was pretty involved. But there was so much reverence given to the sets and design. Every time you got there and it was time to work, it was just there, all around you. I felt pretty Bebop-y all the time.

JC: I’ve had costumes where someone has to help you get dressed. And that time is important to me, to get dressed solo and look in the mirror and go, “Oh, there he is.” When I felt like I wasn’t Spike, just to knock me into it, I would hit a pose. If you look at his silhouettes and the way he stands and leans, and the way he kicks his legs up on things, it’s very him. If I just did that, I was like, “Okay. There he is.”

Could you give an example?
JC: I’m at a coffee table! [Kicks his legs up.]

Got it.
MS: Imagine with us!

Let’s take a look at Mustafa’s clip, which is going over a plan for apprehending someone. 

I don’t think this is a spoiler, but Jet Black, when I was watching it, felt very much like a dad in some ways, even though you don’t see the child. Is that why you chose this clip?
JC: BDE: Big Dad Energy.

MS: Dirty minds! What? No, I just chose it because I like it. [Laughs.]

Could you talk a little bit about Jet as a character as you were conceiving him?
MS: Jet is the Bebop/Spike/Faye wrangler.

DP: [Points to Mustafa.] Dad, [points to John] cool older brother, [points to self] cool sometimes, annoying, “be quiet” little sister.

MS: The teenager.

What was the on-set dynamic like between the three of you versus between your characters?
JC: It was really similar. I felt like the casting was right. I don’t know whether we just brought that in and knew what to do, but it felt like what we were off-screen was that. Was that your experience?

DP: Yeah, I’d say that’s accurate.

So much of the show relies on the chemistry between the three of you. Did you have to do chemistry reads in the very beginning?
MS: I met them in New Zealand.

DP: A lot of our chemistry was pure luck. But also, we spent so much time with each other and we have history now. I feel like part of it’s luck and part of it was that we were just in each other’s company for so long, we really did become like a family.

MS: Big up to Debra Zane!

DP: Our casting director.

MS: Some of her genius is in there as well.

Chemistry — is it a thing you just have, or do you do trust falls or something?
DP: I did a lot of trust falls!

JC: When we got to New Zealand and started day one of rehearsal, I remember exhaling, because I hadn’t read with anyone and I didn’t know anyone and didn’t go through the audition process, so I hadn’t heard us read the lines together at all. So it was like, “Is this gonna work?” That was the very first thing. It popped, and I go, “Okay. Phew.”

What was it like meeting for the first time for you all?
DP: Well I met you, John, first.

JC: Oh yeah, we met at the sound facility.

DP: No, I met you in L.A., and then I met Mu in New Zealand.

MS: I met you guys in New Zealand.

JC: I guess it was unmemorable for all of us. [Laughter.] We were very high the whole time. My preparation for any project is: get high and eat burgers! Just a thing I developed. It’s foolproof.

Did you observe anything about the others, like quirks on set? Is there something you can say to blow up their spot?
MS: Daniella usually has a minimum of three drinks. She has tea, a smoothie; she’s the drink queen.

DP: This is 100 percent truth. It’s like the shower-bath-shower. I like to have my protein, I like to have my water, I like to have my coffee. I stand by it.

MS: Fully hydrated.

DP: Always.

JC: Mustafa, I’ve never seen anyone be — he is water. He’s there. I’ve never seen anything like it. He doesn’t need a moment ever to get there. He’s just there — he’s there. I don’t know how he does it. It’s weird. I’m uptight. This guy …

DP: John also always manages to bring the most delicious, delectable Korean food in the most beautiful presentation ever, always. It was always like, “What is that? Is that like a statue?” “No, it’s holding my food.” “Well I didn’t know they made anything like that.” Yeah, your food’s on point.

I believe there were corgis involved on set, named Charlie and Henry?
DP: Yes, Charlie and Henry. I’m gonna preface by saying we have a dog that is only motivated by food and not by affection. While we were in New Zealand, there’s this channel on TV called The Breeze, and they play music videos and stuff. And in between, there was a corgi competition that was happening down by the wharf in New Zealand, and I was like, “Oh my God, I wonder if our corgi is in that competition.” And so we watched, and I swear to god, it’s like, level two, level one, level three. The first two corgis who won Best Corgi are sitting there like, statuesque. And then there’s Henry, our corgi, whose butt is facing the camera and he’s trying to gnaw at his owner’s pocket for treats. And I was like, “Oh my god, I am watching our dog on TV right now and his butt’s facing camera.”

Did you identify with the dog, or does Faye?
DP: It’s not Faye’s dog, it’s Jet’s dog, but I got stuck with all the corgi stuff! And by the way, it is adorable. It’s so heavy and it sheds like crazy. It’s like, four huskies in a little dog. It’s a lot.

JC: It’s very humbling when you’re on a set of that scale, with a crew of that skill level and magnitude, it’s such a big production — and we’re just waiting for this fucking dog. We’re all waiting on this pooch who — I don’t want to be insulting, but — I’m a lot smarter than that dog. A lot. And we’re just held hostage.

DP: Both of them, it was the dogs’ first job, and that was pretty apparent. Oh come on! It’s a dog! It’s feelings aren’t going to get hurt!

MS: He has a really big butt.

Is there a character that you feel spiritually aligned with? It doesn’t necessarily have to be yours, but just from the universe.
MS: In real life I’m probably more Spike Spiegel. I’m a mashup of Jet and Spike. But I relate to everybody.

How so?
MS: Well you know, “whatever happens, happens” is the big tagline for Spike, and that’s kind of how I live my life. It’s like, “We’ll see.” And Jet, I’m a dad three times over, so I’m pretty used to the nurturance and wrangling people.

DP: I’d have to think about it, because there’s elements of everybody. I wish I was Jet Black in my professional life, because he wants to get the job done, he’s very focused. I relate to him on that. But who doesn’t want to be Spike Spiegel? He’s like, the coolest guy in town.

John, do you identify with Spike?
JC: I’m most fascinated by the Faye character and relate somehow, spiritually, to not knowing where you came from. I don’t know if I’m transposing my immigrant past or something like that, but it speaks to me very deeply. I guess in some ways, if you change countries, you’re always trying to figure out, “Where did I come from?” That sounds overly poetic, like I’m making it up, but I do feel that way.

What do you hope people get from watching the show?
DP: I just want everyone to know that this show was made by people who care, and people who are fans and love this show and love the anime. I can’t even stress that enough. The theme internally was, “Don’t fuck it up.” That’s all any of us ever said, all the time — we know that. But I think what I want fans to walk away from is, we’ve had a really, really hard two years. I just want people to have fun. I just want you to forget about your problems, forget about COVID and all that bullshit. Just binge our show and have fun, because it’s a really fun show.

MS: I agree. Have fun. Please. We need to have more fun. It’s pretty serious out here these days.

Would you do a second season?
DP: Yeah?

MS: Let’s talk about it in the back, first.

JC: Yeah.

DP: 100.

JC: Of what show? How I Met Your Mother? Yeah, this is a special, special job. I don’t know that … maybe “job” is not the right word. But I’m sort of just getting introduced to what this means for people, really. I don’t know when I’ll fully understand it. But it obviously holds great meaning for people, so it would be a privilege.

Did you feel like it was tricky not wanting to replicate the show, because there would be this dynamic of people having expectations of what they think it should be? Should people detach themselves from that expectation before watching it? What’s the right way of watching it?
DP: We’ve been asked that question a lot and all of us have a different opinion. Should you see it separately? Should you see the anime first? Should you see the anime last? At the end of the day, it’s whatever works for you. But I do often hear like, “What? They’re gonna ruin it!” No one’s touching the anime. The anime’s always gonna be there — the anime’s always gonna be there. And I think we did a really lovely, lovely love letter to the anime. If it were me personally, if I didn’t know, I would watch the live action first and watch the anime. John thinks you can go either way with it. Mu, what was yours?

MS: I feel like, do whatever you wanna do.

JC: You do want to quote things and be recognizable as the show Cowboy Bebop, and be recognized as Spike and Faye and Jet. But you want to feel free and creative and have fun and feel like you own it. So I hope that the show, however you enter it, feels that way: You feel that fun and freedom that we did have. It didn’t feel like we were replicating something, even though we were, to some extent. It felt fun, and I hope that is the experience of watching it. It is for me watching it.

Cowboy Bebop (Finally) Takes Flight