The first images from Netflix's live-action remake of the iconic anime series Cowboy Bebop are here. There's no mistaking the team of bounty hunters: sardonic martial artist Spike, hardened ex-cop Jet, flirtatious Faye and even the irresistibly cute Corgi, Ein. However, there's one more member of the Bebop's crew who hasn't yet appeared: Ed.
In the original series, Ed is the team hacker. Approximately 13 years old, she moves into the Bebop without waiting for permission, revealing little about herself or her past. "Ed" is a name she bestowed on herself, short for Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, which may be one reason that the others didn't initially realize she was a girl.
Although her whimsical, hyperactive personality often leaves the adults bewildered and cranky, Ed is a computer genius, and her skills prove essential on several of the team's escapades. She also firmly bonds with Ein, talks exclusively in the third person and feeds hallucinogenic mushrooms to her friends to see what they will do in one memorable episode.
It's no wonder that many fans see her as the heart of Cowboy Bebop and might lose interest in it altogether without the promise of her presence. But so far, there's no reason to assume that she won't be showing up later. Actually, it would be much more of a departure from the anime if she was there from the beginning. The anime's first episode introduces only two main characters, Spike and Jet, establishing that they lived and worked together for some time. In the second episode, they reluctantly adopt Ein, and Faye makes her entrance in the third. Only in the ninth episode, "Jamming With Edward," does Ed debut.
This long gap before the team is completed means that several adventures take place without Ed, including some that are important to the show's serial arc. It also highlights just how much Ed changes Cowboy Bebop's dynamic. While she's far from the only source of humor, her overly optimistic personality and innocent childish antics are a sharp contrast to the others, who are often caught in grim, life-or-death situations. It's a perfect reflection of the genre blend that the series is known for, allowing the tone to shift from moody noir to surrealist comedy just by switching up the focus on the characters.
Although character introductions in the Netflix remake won't necessarily be staggered in the same way they were in the anime, Ed is a special case whose first appearance needs context to make sense within the plot. It may take a while before the audience gets to meet a live-action version of her, but it's highly unlikely that she'll be left out completely. And if the stunning accuracy of the characters shown so far is anything to go by, Ed will be worth the wait.
Arriving Nov. 19 on Netflix, Cowboy Bebop stars John Cho as Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine and Alex Hassell as Vicious.