Genndy Tartakovsky: Samurai Jack movie is not dead

Samurai Jack

Those of you who grew up watching the Cartoon Network are no doubt familiar with the work of Genndy Tartakovsky, even if you don’t recognize the name. Over the years Tartakovsky has created a number of classic cartoons, including Dexter’s Laboratory and Star Wars: Clone Wars. Arguably his most famous effort though was a show called Samurai Jack that ran on the Cartoon Network from 2001 to 2004, and told the surprisingly-adult-yet-appropriate-for-children story of a time-displaced samurai battling against the demonic machinations of the evil sorceror Aku. 

One of the key draws of Samurai Jack was the intensely detailed mythology Tartakovsky and his colleagues infused into the world the character inhabits. At times it seemed that the television format was just too small to properly tell the epic story of Samurai Jack, and many fans hoped that Tartakovsky would some day produce a feature-length Samurai Jack film. So far that has yet to occur, but Tartakovsky was recently in attendance at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival where he told IGN that he still hopes to bring Jack to the big screen.

“I’ve been trying so hard every year, and the one amazing thing about Jack is that I did it in 2001, you know, and it still survived,” Tartakovsky said. “There’s something about it that’s connected with people.”

“And I want it, it’s number 1 on my list, and now Bob Osher, the President [of Digital Production at Sony Pictures Entertainment], is like ‘Hey, let’s talk about Jack. Let’s see what we can do.’  And I go, ‘You’re going to do a 2D feature animated movie?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah. Maybe. Let’s do some research and let’s see.’ So it’s not dead for sure by any means, and it’s still on the top of my list, and I’m trying as hard as I can.”

While this is far from an official confirmation that a Samurai Jack film is entering production, it does offer a glimmer of hope for fans who had presumed the character dead. Though Tartakovsky is currently engaged with the ongoing, aforementioned Star Wars: Clone Wars, it’s apparent from his statement that the man holds a special place in his heart for the Samurai Jack character and its overarching mythology that just might save it from vanishing into the ether. However, it also appears that Sony Pictures Entertainment isn’t entirely sure that it wants to put this flick into the pipeline just yet. The project may not be dead, but it’s also not vibrantly living.

One of the biggest hurdles facing this movie is the 2006 death of revered Japanese actor (and, in his later years, voice over talent) Mako. Along with roles in everything from the original I Dream Of Jeannie TV show to 1984’s Conan The Destroyer, Mako served as the voice of Aku in the original Samurai Jack cartoon. Those who’ve heard Mako’s distinctive voice (and even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ve almost certainly heard his voice) will agree that replacing him for a feature film would be very difficult, if not impossible. Tartakovsky has yet to comment on how Mako’s passing might affect his still-hypothetical Samurai Jack film, but we’re sure it doesn’t make things any easier.


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