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Why was Cowboy Bebop cancelled by Netflix after just one season?


It has just been revealed that the recently released live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop has been cancelled, but why did Netflix scrap the series?

Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop live action adaptation was arguably the most highly anticipated new series of the Fall schedule.

Unfortunately, the show ended up being as controversial as many expected; with fans being extremely critical of the direction taken – namely away from the original series.

As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix has now decided to cancel Cowboy Bebop after just one season and just a few weeks after its premiere, but why was the series scrapped?

Cowboy Bebop | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Cowboy Bebop | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Why was Cowboy Bebop cancelled?

At the time of writing, neither Netflix nor the Cowboy Bebop showrunners have revealed a specific reason for the series cancellation.

However, the show has most likely been scrapped because it failed to meet the viewership expectations needed to merit the required resources to produce a second season.

As with any Netflix original series, renewals are entirely dependent on how much money and attention is generated from online streaming.

Whilst the series has garnered a solid 74 million hours’ worth of viewing, the number of global streams dropped by a shocking 59% for its second week.  

Unfortunately, the decision to cancel Cowboy Bebop was also likely heavily influenced by the extremely negative response from both fans and critics alike, following the series premiere in November.

At the time of writing, Cowboy Bebop is scoring a disappointing 47% on MetaCritic, 55% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.8/10 on IMDB.

The news of the cancellation has certainly come as a shock to the showrunners, who had explained back in October 2020 that a second season was already being planned by the writers.

Co-producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach took to social media to share his disappointment at the cancellation. Replying to cast member Mason Alexander Park, he said that the team had “so much cool s**t planned for s2.”

“I truly loved working on this. it came from a real and pure place of respect and affection. I wish we could make what we planned for a second season, but you know what they say, men plan, god laughs. see you space cowboy…” – Javier Grillo-Marxuach, via Twitter.

According to The Hollywood Reporter’s article, insiders at Netflix have noted that only around 60% of scripted original series are renewed for a second season.

For Cowboy Bebop to have been cancelled just a few weeks after making its global debut, the streaming giant must believe that the income generated would not match the spending cost that season 2 would require.

How much of the story was left?

The 2021 live-action adaptation of the Cowboy Bebop storyline chopped and changed various events from the original series.

The final episode in the recent Netflix series concluded with Spike falling through the glass window. In the original anime series, this was the ending to episode 5, of the total 26 episodes.

Barring some creative freedom, fans of the series were expecting around three seasons of the live-action series to be produced – if the entire original story was to be adapted.

However, and rather ironically, it appears that we will not ‘See You Space Cowboy’ again.

Fans react to the cancellation…

The news of the Cowboy Bebop cancellation has only been breaking across the internet for a few hours, but fans around the world are already sharing their opinions.

From just a brief scroll through the responses, it appears that the vast majority of fans are actually relieved at the decision from Netflix.

The top reply to the IGN story post simply says, “Stop making live action remakes of animes. They never work out.”

Similarly, one of the top responses to The Hollywood Reporter argued that Netflix “should have respected the source material instead of making a mockery of it.”

Interestingly, fans are already making connections between the recent Cowboy Be-flop and the upcoming One Piece series.

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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