It’s been 12 years since we’ve last heard from Samurai Jack. The Emmy-award winning series left us in its fourth season, following the title’s main hero preventing a baby from being eaten by robot ogres. As brilliant the show’s fourth season was, there was no proper conclusion to Cartoon Network’s action-packed show, but rather, one last serial journey for a young millennial generation to remember. One last noble cause for Jack to kickass.
“In those 12 years, we’ve seen five different studios to try and develop a [Samurai Jack] movie and it never went anywhere,” director Genndy Tartakovsky recalled at a Cartoon Network press event this week. “Maybe I’ll just put it out there and see if there’s a bite from Cartoon Network,” he figured.
After scribing his idea for a fifth and final season of Samurai Jack in August of 2015, Genndy Tartakovsky pitched the idea to Adult Swim’s Mike Lazzo the following December. It immediately was picked up. “I guess the universe was ready for it,” Tartakovsky said.
Aside from Samurai Jack, creator Genndy Tartakovsky is known for creating Dexter’s Laboratory, the Hotel Transylvania franchise, 2 Stupid Dogs and Star Wars: Clone Wars. Since the show’s departure in 2004, fans have shifted focus toward the Internet and its media offerings but were still hard to push toward a return of Samurai Jack. For years convention-goers and nostalgic fans prodded at Tartakovsky and Jack’s voiceover actor Phil LaMarr for a return, begging for the possibility of a return. As confirmed with a trailer that was uploaded just four days ago (currently over 3 million views), on March 11 fans will receive exactly what they’ve been hoping for, and more: a darker, brutal version of their beloved children’s show presented by Adult Swim.
The final season of Samurai Jack will show a tormented version of the once seemingly imperishable character. It takes place 50 years directly after the conclusion of season four, showing Jack wearing a heavy suit of armor, riding a motorcycle and sporting a sweet long beard. In its final run, Jack will prove his mortality, exposing his own shortcomings to audiences, and actually fucking bleed real blood, not robotic oil. This is no longer your average Cartoon Network weekly action show. This is Adult Swim.
“We get to dive into Jack much more,” Tartakovsky said to a room full of reporters. “Before, we couldn’t really go into the weight of what Jack’s mission really was. But now, it’s 50 years later. He hasn’t succeeded. His sole mission is to do this thing and he can’t do it, so figuring that out was really exciting for me.” “Before, I was playing the hero — the almost invulnerable hero. But the one thing we can’t fight is time. How that affected him, even with all his training, and the amazing heart that he’s got — how does it change him? That’s been the fun for me.”
Phil LeMarr elaborated: “Before, I was playing the hero — the almost invulnerable hero. But the one thing we can’t fight is time. How that affected him, even with all his training and the amazing heart that he’s got — how does it change him? That’s been the fun for me.”
“With Jack, all the sudden, he’s hurt,” Tartakovsky continued. “He’s wounded. He’s fucking losing his mind. It makes it all so much more interesting and it makes him so much more interesting.”
Phil LeMarr reiterated a fact Tartakovsky had touched upon. “In the old series, you had to make each episode a standalone and have it come back to zero at the end. That was the network’s mandate — we’d have to be able to put this wherever we want, however we want. Nowadays, in the age of Netflix, stories are ongoing. People look at the whole series of a series as one thing.”
The final 10 episodes of Samurai Jack begin March 11 at 11PM EST on Adult Swim. The show will push the boundaries of the Samurai Jack we once knew, showing a darker, more violent tale of the mortal warrior. To catch up on the older series, check out Adult Swim’s marathon of the original series.