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Why Netflix's Cowboy Bebop Gave Beloved Character Ed Such Little Screentime

Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop is here and, apparently, so is Radical Ed. Fans noticed the fan-favorite character’s absence in all the promotional material for the series but then saw her appear in the ninth episode of the John Cho-led series. Even then, the appearance was brief, which may cause some to wonder why Ed got so little screentime given her popularity. 

Showrunner Andre Nemec had answers for fans in a special Cowboy Bebop: Unlocked, the official aftershow from Netflix. Dduring the interview, Nemec explained why Ed’s moment was so short and discussedd the importance of waiting before employing her arrival:

All we wanted was for Ed to make an appearance on Cowboy Bebop. You know, Ed doesn't show up until the ninth episode of the anime. So it wasn't like Ed is a core member of the Bebop crew from the gate in the anime, and it was important to spend enough time with these characters in order to really understand them and get traction.

Ed doesn’t come into the Cowboy Bebop anime until Episode 9, so many fans assumed she wouldn’t arrive immediately in the live-action adaptation. Sure enough, the character entered Season 1 towards the very end, in a very different way than the original series. While she didn’t get a lot to do in Season 1, it’s assumed she’d have a slightly larger role as part of the Bebop crew in a potential second season.

Radical Ed in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Netflix)

Many begged for the teenage genius' inclusion in the anime but, after her arrival, some questioned whether it was necessary. The clip that features her arrival made its rounds on Twitter and was met with much scrutiny by of fans the original series:

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The negative speculation could fuel the idea that Netflix intentionally buried her appearance though, given Andre Nemec’s comments, I don’t see that being likely. If anything, Ed’s moment seemed deliberately teased as a surprise appearance for fans. Additionally, advertising her role, when she’s barely in the show, could’ve made viewers upset. Plus, it’s not like anyone working on the series could’ve predicted how Eden Perkins’ portrayal as Ed would be perceived, especially since it’s one of the more anime-accurate portrayals the show has delivered.

As far as what Ed’s screentime looks for a hypothetical Season 2 of Cowboy Bebop, I don’t think it’s crazy to think she’d get a standalone episode. Beyond that, though, the eccentric young woman is largely a background character throughout the anime. Her story isn’t as much of a focal point as Spike, Faye, or even Jet's, so I never expected to see a ton of her in general. Still, it’s nice to see the full Bebop crew on the series by the end of the first season, so hopefully, that carries on should it be renewed for future seasons. 

Netflix's live-action Cowboy Bebop series is certainly different from the anime in a few key ways, though I’m of the opinion that’s not at all a bad thing. The show is definitely polarizing, so I encourage all fans who haven’t watched it yet to check it out and form their own opinions.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.