One of the burning questions fans found themselves asking as the promotional material for Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop began dropping was: Where’s Ed? The orange-haired, eccentric hacker from the anime is not only a fan favorite, but a core member of the Bebop crew after having joined the bounty hunting escapades during the series’ 9th episode. But Ed was nowhere to be found in any of the live-action show’s trailers or stills, and absolutely no casting was announced, prompting plenty of speculation (and concern) among the anime die-hards.
So, now that the show is out and available to watch in full on Netflix, we’re here to answer that question once and for all–but of course, we can’t do so without some spoilers, so consider this your warning.
Long story short, yes, Radical Edward is in Cowboy Bebop, but only extremely briefly and at the very end. Prior to this, Ed is only name dropped as a hacker providing the Bebop crew with some leads on bounties. Because we don’t seem much of Ed or learn anything about her backstory in this version of the story, it’s difficult to guess just how closely she’ll mirror her anime counterpart–though, in the very brief moment we do get to see her, her overall design (and personality) doesn’t seem to have been changed or updated much at all.
In the anime, Ed joins the crew in session 9, where we start hearing that the mysterious “Radical Edward” is a dangerous and mysterious hacker that no one’s ever seen–which prompts plenty of speculation from strangers about who exactly this person is and what their goals are. Of course, it eventually turns out that Ed isn’t scary or even intimidating, just an eccentric genius teenage girl who spends arguably way, way too much time on her own. The hacker part is true though, and she’s very, very good at what she does–even though what she does is frankly, bizarre. Hacking into a military satellite and making friends with the semi-sentient AI within it, for example.
Ed’s eccentricity also extends to a fandom of the Bebop and its crew members, which prompts her to leverage her involvement in the military satellite incident to join them for good, much to the chagrin of just about everyone else involved.
None of this happens in the live action version, though we get some nods here and there–Ed gives Jet leads on bounties and, presumably, as done so in the past. We see Ed’s cartoon hacker avatar on screen a handful of times. But the hacker herself doesn’t show up until the final moments of the final episode where she, inexplicably, is able to track down a very down-and-out Spike who is on the verge of passing out in an alleyway. While this does distort our vision of Ed, thanks to Spike’s blurry point of view, we can still clearly see the iconic orange hair, goggles, white shirt, and bicycle shorts. She’s got a job for him, apparently, though what that job is and why she wants to give it to him now of all times remains to be seen.
Assuming Netflix greenlights Cowboy Bebop for a second season, we can assume we’ll be seeing much more of Ed and many of the mysterious blanks will be filled in. This, of course, will make it much easier to tell just how close this Ed will be to the animated version–and what we can expect from the series in the future, now that all four of the main cast members are in the mix in one way or another.
Cowboy Bebop is currently streaming on Netflix.