Netflix has just found someone to play one of the most important characters in the Cowboy Bebop saga for its live-action adaptation, and the simple fact that she’s going to be there has some big implications about what the streaming service is planning to do in this 10-episode series. According to Variety, Elena Satine (from Revenge and Magic City) has signed on to play Julia, a “sultry beauty with a voice to die for” who is also “the dream-like object of Spike Spiegel’s desire.” John Cho is playing Spike, and while that brief description of Julia is close enough to who she is on the show (she’s more of a badass when she does eventually show up, though), it kind of undersells what this means for Cowboy Bebop.
For one thing, Julia only actually appears in the final two episodes of the original anime series, though she is referenced a few times throughout (building her up into a figure of ominous importance to Spike), so this seems to suggest that the live-action version will be tackling the core “mythology” episodes of the original (to steal a term from The X-Files). The anime mostly involved standalone adventures with Spike and his buddies doing sci-fi bounty hunter stuff, and the relatively rare plot-heavy episodes popped up to dip into Spike’s backstory from time to time. At 10 episodes, Netflix’s version will be less than half as long as the original, which means it probably won’t be a straight adaptation, but Julia showing up seems to mean she’ll either have an expanded role (which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, since her lack of depth is a flaw of the original) or that Netflix’s version will make it all the way to the events of the series finale.
We already knew that big Bebop villain Vicious would show up, played by Alex Hassel from Genius, so Julia might be spending some time with him if this really does flesh out her story a bit.