Cowboy Bebop: Why Isn’t Ed in the Netflix Series? 

Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, also known as "Radical Edward", is a fan-favorite character from the Cowboy Bebop anime and it’s not hard to see why. Ed is the non-binary teenaged member of the Bebop crew with a quirky, hyperactive personality. In an anime that is heavily influenced by neo-noir storytelling, Ed is the character that often lightens the mood of the show.

While Ed certainly stands out from the rest of the main cast, she also more than just standard comic relief. Within the anime's canon, Ed is a genius computer hacker who's invaluable to the Bebop crew. She can hack into just about every computer system and secure server the crew needs access to for the cases they work on. Ed's computer skills often put her crew ahead of other bounty hunters on cases involving more dangerous criminals. She even occasionally offers emotional support to the adult characters in unexpected ways.

Given how important Ed is to the Bebop crew, it's odd that she was out of Netflix's live-action adaptation trailer. While showrunner André Nemec has promised Ed will appear in some capacity, it's also highly unlikely that she'll have a prominent role. There may be several reasons for this, starting with the fact the Netflix show is rated TV-MA.

Apart from what's already been teased in the opening sequence and what's already been revealed in interviews with the cast and crew, not much is known about the new show's premise or story. Netflix, however, revealed on their streaming service that the show is rated TV-MA for "language, nudity, gore and smoking." Netflix further defines the TV-MA rating as "For Mature Audiences. May not be suitable for ages 17 and under."

While the original Cowboy Bebop anime also features mature content, their depiction is subtle enough to warrant a TV-14 rating. The fact the Netflix show is going the extra mile with a TV-MA rating suggests that adult content will be more prominent than it was in the original anime. This may actually tie into the other reasons Ed was excluded from the main cast.

One potential reason for Ed's absence is the fact she's the least tragic character in Cowboy Bebop and is actually the only character who gets a happy ending. Unlike Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine and Jet Black, Ed has never had a brush in with death. In Spike's case, he's consistently faced death due to his past ties to organized crime. Despite having left the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate in pursuit of a better life, his past frequently catches up with him, often resulting in fatal fights with his former comrade, Vicious. These fights even resulted in the deaths of people who were close to Spike.

Radical Edward in Jamming with Edward Cowboy Bebop

Faye's brush with death came in the form of a space shuttle accident that killed her entire family and left her with severe injuries. Since the technology did not exist to save her life at the time, she was put into cryogenic sleep. When she was revived 54 years later, she was immediately scammed by the people who were supposed to look out for her. In Jet's case, he is a former ISSP police officer who was betrayed by his partner, who was on mafia payroll. His brush with death resulted in the loss of his left arm.

The individual storylines for Spike, Faye and Jet easily fit the TV-MA tone the show is going for. This may actually be the other reason Ed was excluded from the main cast: the showrunners were unable to reimagine Ed to fit the new show and still stay true to the core of the character. Compared to the adult characters, Ed's individual storyline does not thrive on tragedy.

At best, Ed was separated from her father at some point and wandered into an orphanage for food prior to joining the Bebop. Bu that's the extent of her tragic circumstances. Given that Ed's storyline is not likely to add to the overarching storyline for the Netflix series, it makes sense she would most likely appear as a one-off character or whenever her computer hacking skills are needed.

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