It has been 10 years since we saw the last of Jack and his quest to travel back to his own time. Samurai Jack, the legendary actions series by Genndy Tartakovsky has remained as a critically acclaimed work and cult classic… and it might finally get finished.
Cartoon Network has released a 5 second (!) teaser for the upcoming Samurai Jack series, which is scheduled to air somewhere in 2016 on the Adult Swim block. This is both incredible news for the series immense fandom, and quite the surprise seeing CN and Genndy work together, considering the author’s last original (but co-producted) series, Sym-Bionic Titan, got cancelled in the same network for “not selling enough toys”.
In case you need a briefing, Samurai Jack follows the adventures of an unnamed samurai (Jack is just his pseudonym) in his quest to find a way to go back in time to overcome the all-powerful evil demon that has engulfed the earth.
After a childhood of training with the ultimate warriors and teachers all over the world (imagine learning to sail with Blackbeard, fighting with the Shaolin Monks, surviving with the African-desert folk, studying with the Egyptians, and more), and armed with a magic sword passed to him by his father, our protagonist is ready to face Aku, a manifestation of pure evil that has erased his home from the map and enslaved all his loved ones.
However, on the brink of defeat, the demon uses his magic to send Jack 1000 years into the future – a future where he wasn’t present to stop Aku from conquering every corner of earth (and other planets). Trapped in a world habited by alien creatures and dominated by his greatest enemy, Jack embarks on a quest to find a path back to his own time to avenge his loved ones and ultimately stop this future from ever existing.
Samurai Jack has caught audiences since its inception for innumerable reasons: the distinct, beautiful visual style (“borderless” and hand-drawn), the detailed action sequences reminiscent of old martial art movies, westerns, film noire, anime and more (as the episode called), the use of cinematic techniques unheard of in most home animation, the simple, but powerful stories shown but barely “told”, and their rich narrative (Jack has faced off against androids, pirates, space creatures and Egyptian gods all the same), are just some of the reasons it’s so beloved by fans and critics alike.
Sadly, in its original 52 episode run, finished back in 2005, the series didn’t meet his ending. Genndy Tartakovsky (also creator of The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter´s Lab and Star Wars: The Clone Wars) planned to wrap things up with a movie, but plans never came to fruition. The story lived on in the form of comics, which took from where the TV series left, but Jack’s tale remains unfinished.
This new series could either follow up the Comics or try and adapt the stories told in these, but judging by the look of Jack in the teaser (which he hasn’t sported in the series, nor the comics… assuming that’s his shadow), it’s probably the former.
Also, if the teaser is of any help, the series seems like it will take some freedoms with design, maybe because of its new target demographic – while the original was well meant to be mature, it was still bound by its status as a children cartoon (case in point, a very famous bit by its creator it’s how he got around some censorship by making most enemies “robots” so they could bleed oil in the most graphical way he wanted. This was fine by the censors as long as it wasn’t red).
This relocation on Adult Swim could give us something closer to what Genndy intended for the series, and we’ll get to see how the idea has matured inside him for 10 years.