The producers behind the one-and-done canceled Cowboy Bepop series on Netflix happen to also be the producers behind the massively popular One Piece series.
While Cowboy Bebop was quickly canceled by Netflix after less than three weeks of airing, One Piece has already been renewed for Season 2 following two weeks on the streaming service.
So what happened?
Well, it’s pretty obvious, but apparently, it wasn’t obvious for producers Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements of Tomorrow Studios (and much of Hollywood) who spoke with Deadline about “winning over manga fans.”
Cowboy Bebop didn’t stick close to source material
Cowboy Bebop wasn’t kept close to the source material, while One Piece is, and also One Piece has the input of its original creator, while Cowboy Bebop does not, and Cowboy Bebop star Daniella Pineda also certainly didn’t help things with her negative comments directed at fans.
“Both Becky and I have been involved in a lot of successful shows. But in your career, you dream about one like this,” said Adelstein. “And if you’re lucky you get one like this that resonates so large, and there’s such awareness of and people have a love of the source material.”
Creator involvement helps
Adelstein continues and says the blame also lies on Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe not being involved with the show (Watanabe did say he was sent a screener to review the series but stopped watching after the first episode).
“Here’s what we learned. You have to have a buy-in from the creator. The creator of Cowboy Bebop did not want anything to do with it. Not that he was disagreeable about it; he just didn’t want to be involved, it’s not what he wanted to do,” said Adelstein.
Lesson learned: stick to source material
While Aldestein does say having the creator involved with One Piece made a big difference, he admits they didn’t stick close to the Cowboy Bebop source material as they did for One Piece.
“So having the buy-in of the creator, having Oda buy into this and bless it, made a big difference. But I think the main lesson was Cowboy Bebop was an adaptation,’ he explained. “With One Piece, we learned that you have to stay very close to the characters that the creator created, that people wanted to see Luffy as Luffy and embody all the characteristics that he had. So we stayed much, much closer, in fact, as close as we could to the original to get the fans buy in, and that seemed to be the thing that made the difference.”
Fans are now happy
As a result of sticking to the source material with One Piece, Aldestein reveals the fans have been very happy.
“The people in the office have shown us a lot of TikTok videos of people saying ‘this is going to be awful, this is going to be terrible’. And then they brought in TikTok videos of the same people going, ‘I was so wrong, this is so good’. So real skeptics have turned around and really have praised the show and have been very happy with it and very surprised at how good it was,” he said.
So the lesson learned is to stick to the source material and please the fans. Got it.