Following a freak accident on the set that left lead actor John Cho hospitalized and in need of surgery, production on the Netflix adaptation of Cowboy Bebop has been temporarily suspended. While the exact specifics of his condition aren't clear, it's been reported Cho suffered a devastating knee injury while filming on the project's New Zealand set, which just so happened to be for the final take of a well-rehearsed scene. Cho has since been flown back to Los Angeles to undergo surgery for the injury, after which he will need to go through an extensive rehabilitation. With the lead actor now off the set, filming on Cowboy Bebop has been completely halted.
According to the report, production on Cowboy Bebop is expected to resume in about seven to nine months, depending on Cho's recovery. No new filming schedule will be set until then, as Netflix is "fully committed" to keeping John Cho in the role, though his health is obviously the top priority. Because the project was just a few episodes into its 10-episode order for the streaming service, it was early enough that recasting the role to allow for production to resume would have been possible. Still, the company sees something in Cho, and they're willing to wait until the late spring of early summer of next year to pick filming back up, along with the logistical challenges that will come along with that. "Our thoughts are with John, and he has our complete support as he recuperates from this injury," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.
Cowboy Bebop originally began as a Japanese anime series created by Hajime Yatate. Set in the year 2071, the animated series followed the lives of a bounty hunter crew traveling in a spaceship called the Bebop. Although it lasted for just 26 episodes, the series became a cult hit, finding a strong fan base in the Western hemisphere as well. Its success would lead to the franchise expanding with two manga series, video games, and an anime movie adaptation. In 2017, it was first announced the anime would next be adapted as a live-action series by Tomorrow Studios, with Netflix confirming in 2018 that the project would be heading to the popular streaming service.
The Netflix adaptation comes from writer Chris Yost, who also serves as executive producer. It will star Cho as Spike Spiegel, an "impossibly cool "cowboy" with a deadly smile, a wry wit and style to spare." Like in the anime, the character will be leading a crew of bounty hunters in the Bebop, following their adventures as they hunt for the most dangerous criminal fugitives in the solar system. Serving as showrunners are exec producers Andrew Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, and Josh Appelbaum. Also exec producing are Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements for Tomorrow Studios. Shinichiro Watanabe, who directed the original anime, also serves as a consultant.
Earlier this month, Netflix released a behind-the-scenes video from the Cowboy Bebop set, giving fans a small taste of what to expect. You can take a look at that below, courtesy of Netflix on YouTube. News of Cho's injury and the suspension of the project comes to us from Deadline.