John Cho will star in the live action adaptation of the anime “Cowboy Bebop,” Netflix announced.
Cho will play the leading role as Spike Spiegel in the series based on the popular anime about a crew of bounty hunters in space.
The casting of an actor of Asian descent in the project brought a sigh of relief among people who’ve called for more diversity in casting. Hollywood has been accused of whitewashing Asian characters with white actors. Examples include Scarlett Johansson as the Japanese protagonist in the animé “Ghost in the Shell,” Tilda Swinton being cast as the Tibetan mystic in “Doctor Strange” and Emma Stone in the movie “Aloha” as as Hawaiian-Chinese love interest, Allison Ng.
Casting white actors as ethnic characters has stirred controversy and concerns about the lack of representation.
Cho, who is Korean American, was the subject of a social media meme in 2016 called #StarringJohnCho that showed what major films would look like if they cast Asian and Asian-American actors like Cho in lead roles instead.
William Yu, the creator of that meme tweeted Thursday: “COWBOY. BEBOP. STARRING. JOHN. CHO. LETS. GO.”