John Cho will lead Netflix’s live-action version of ‘Cowboy Bebop’

A live-action version of the anime series “Cowboy Bebop” has been in and out of development for years, but it looks like Netflix is actually going to make it a reality.

The streaming service announced last fall that it would be producing a live-action “Cowboy Bebop” series. Today, it revealed some key casting: Star Trek star John Cho will play the lead character Spike Siegel, a bounty hunter who travels the solar system with his partner Jet Black (played by Mustafa Shakir).

In addition, Daniella Pineda will play bounty hunter Faye Valentine, while Alex Hassell has been cast as Spike’s nemesis, Vicious.

This casting feels like a refreshing contrast with the live-action movie that never got made, which would have starred Keanu Reeves — not to mention the recent movie version of “Ghost in the Shell,” which helped prompt a broader conversation about diversity and of Hollywood’s tendency to “whitewash” Asian characters.

One of the most enjoyable parts of that conversation? A hashtag reimagining studio movies as titles #StarringJohnCho. So Cho taking the lead in a big-budget science fiction series feels long overdue.

The first episode of the 10-episode series will be written by Christopher Yost (who co-wrote the last two “Thor” movies), with Alex Garcia Lopez directing and Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg serving as showrunners/executive producers. Original “Cowboy Bebop” director Shinichirō Watanabe will also be involved as a consultant.