Samurai Jack was never really finished — it never quite received a proper resolution for the conflict it set up and drug out over four seasons on Cartoon Network. The original solution was to create a movie that would do just that — provide the ending fans of the show wanted… and to a certain degree, deserved. But, it still has a chance.
In a somewhat recent Reddit question-and-answer thread (more prominently known as an IAmA), Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky said he’s still pitching a 2D Samurai Jack movie to finally end the series, and much of the potential of its approval hinged on Hotel Transylvania’s success, Hotel Transylvania being a movie directed by Tartakovsky in 2012 (also when the IAmA took place). The movie itself did tremendously well at the box office, with Sony equally proud of its sales:
“Hotel Transylvania is performing beyond anyone’s imagination, and the holds are ridiculous. It exceeds expectations in every new market it opens in.”
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Tartakovksy’s specific responses to fielded Samurai Jack continuation questions via Reddit.
Q: Any plans on more ‘adult’ series like samurai jack in the future? WILL SAMURAI JACK HAVE AN ENDING?
Tartakovsky: Working on it.
Q: I heard about the Samurai Jack movie coming out. Should we expect it to wrap up the story nicely? Also, thanks for making my childhood awesome!
Tartakovsky: Not coming out yet! Trying to make it happen. It would be a beginning and an end all in one story.
Q: What’s currently standing in the way of it happening?
Tartakovsky: Money, distribution. It’s hard to sell a 2D action oriented stylized movie in this marketplace. But if HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA does well it will definitely help.
Q: I was just wondering, in the event of you managing to green-light a Samurai Jack movie, are you at all worried about finding a decent voice for Aku? Mako’s passing was tragic, and his voice was so distinct and recognizable, particularly as Aku. I know Avatar managed to find someone who did a remarkable job as Uncle Iroh, but the Iroh voice and Aku voices are waaay distinct from one another. Is this more like, worry about crossing that bridge when you get to it? Also, what was it like working with Mako?
Tartakovsky: Yeah, it’s a big concern but hopefully we’ll find a creative solution if we ever come to it. Mako is pretty irreplaceable as Aku.
Q: Do you already have a pretty good idea of what will happen in the Samurai Jack movie? Do you have any of it scripted/storyboarded or is the project just completely on hold until some studio exec gives you the green light?
Tartakovsky: I have the story that I want to tell. So I’m just waiting to sell it.
So when it comes down to brass tacks, it’s about approval and money. If you’re at all familiar with the film industry and the process of pitching and funding your projects, you know the joys and pains of this system. But the past year has been one of change for the independent project world. Games and films of all calibers have been receiving support directly from the consumer, through crowd-funding. Sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have proven time and time again that great and desired projects can be successful — even beyond the creator’s wildest dreams.
So… if it’s not a matter of licensing and only a matter of cash in-hand and a simple greenlight — what’s stopping Tartakovsky and a team of folks from getting the ball rolling again on Samurai Jack: The Movie? What self-respecting 20 something wouldn’t fork over cash to see the project get made, to see an end to one of the best animated shows in history? I’m sure some wouldn’t… but I most certainly would.