Once again, a fool seeks to undo the future that is Aku.
December 2, 2015 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Genndy Tartakovsky is returning to his much-loved 2001-2004 cartoon Samurai Jack with a new season in development for 2016, Cartoon Network announced today. The original run of the series depicted the titular, time-displaced hero's quest to return to his own time and bring down the demon lord Aku. It was marked by Tartakovsky's unique art style, hand-painted backgrounds depicting a surreal future world, and storytelling that could deftly shift from parody to emotionally resonant drama to straight-up slapstick.

Tartakovsky had been trying to get a movie off the ground since the show went off the air, but the only "official" continuation that actually saw daylight was a comic by Jim Zub and Andy Soriano that ran for 20 issues until May of this year.

No word on who, if anyone, will step into the late Mako's role as the voice of Aku.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish (39 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
.

But so looking forwards to this.
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on December 2, 2015


...wait. Tartakovsky is going to work with CN again?

Can someone check the heating in Hell?
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:05 PM on December 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
posted by Kitteh at 12:07 PM on December 2, 2015


Akuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:09 PM on December 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Cartoon Network seems to have dialed back some of the lunacy that drove Tartakovsky off to the hospitality industry of Transylvania. With the success of Adventure Time, Regular Show, Amazing Adventures of Gumball, We Bare Bears and, of course, Steven Universe, they seem to have regained some of their old creator friendliness.
posted by JHarris at 12:10 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Still, I had thought that bridge had been burnt, reburnt, and the ashes salted.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:12 PM on December 2, 2015


Will the return of MoJo JoJo be next?
posted by rdone at 12:12 PM on December 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


(Interesting fact BTW, Tartakovsky directed the animation in the pilot for Steven Universe!)
posted by JHarris at 12:13 PM on December 2, 2015


Yes, there's already a Powerpuff Girls reboot in production.
posted by Small Dollar at 12:14 PM on December 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Eh. A corporation is ultimately a bunch of people, people who can be replaced, and an exec a lot more easily than a creator. And I'd imagine one can't afford to completely burn one's bridges in animation.

Note, Tartakovsky made Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack and the cartoon version of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Powerpuff Girls was Craig McCracken. Also note, a reboot of Dexter's Lab would be somewhat difficult now that the iconic voice of Dexter, Christine Cavanaugh, has passed away.
posted by JHarris at 12:20 PM on December 2, 2015


This show was such a visual feast, but the storytelling never grabbed me the way I wanted it to. Samurai stories (and Westerns) have always left me cold, and I just couldn't get past that.

I could look at a book of art from the show all day, though.
posted by emjaybee at 12:23 PM on December 2, 2015


Cartoon Network seems to have dialed back some of the lunacy that drove Tartakovsky off to the hospitality industry of Transylvania.
JHarris

Can you expand on this? What happened that drove him away? Why would they drive away a creator of some of their top shows at the time? Sorry if these are dumb common-knowledge questions, but I don't know anything about the behind-the-scenes stuff at Cartoon Network.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:24 PM on December 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't do hallucinogens, but this show made me question that opinion. Maybe I had been taking them all along?
posted by LegallyBread at 12:28 PM on December 2, 2015


Basically, they severely dicked him around with regards to Sym-Bionic Titan in several ways, causing him to break ties with CN pretty acrimoniously.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:32 PM on December 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Wonder if Sony dropping the Popeye 3D project led Genndy back to CN. Either way... the new season should be interesting!
posted by Jubal Kessler at 12:37 PM on December 2, 2015


What NoxAeternum said. He may know more about this than me actually. I sometimes appear more knowledgeable about these things than I really am, I fear.
posted by JHarris at 12:45 PM on December 2, 2015


rdone: "Will the return of MoJo JoJo be next?"

We can, of course, be the ones that are hoping there is a return.
posted by Samizdata at 12:55 PM on December 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was such a fangirl for this show.
Maybe they could get Ron Perlman to play Aku.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:55 PM on December 2, 2015


SJ without Mako will be weird, but we all adjusted with Avatar.

Looking forward to this. My favorite SJ episodes were the almost-no-dialogue sorts, so here's hoping for some more of those.
posted by curious nu at 12:57 PM on December 2, 2015



...wait. Tartakovsky is going to work with CN again?


Please let him do Star Wars movies.....
posted by mikelieman at 12:58 PM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


curious nu: "SJ without Mako will be weird, but we all adjusted with Avatar.

Looking forward to this. My favorite SJ episodes were the almost-no-dialogue sorts, so here's hoping for some more of those.
"

Mako was about the only redeeming factor in the old school Conan movies.
posted by Samizdata at 1:04 PM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


To expand more on the rift, the CN executives at the time treated Sym-Bionic Titan like an unwanted stepchild - they gave it weak ad support, moved it around on the schedule, even killed a proposed line of sofubi toys for the show, if I recall correctly.

Looking back, the issue was that the execs were pretty firmly stuck in the Animation Age Ghetto, and as such saw the show as being a weak revenue source, given that its viewer base skewed higher, meaning fewer opportunities for selling other products (read:toys and games aimed at the 10-14 set.) The executives today, on the other hand, seem to want older fans, because they realize that they have actual discretionary income and more ability to spend it.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:12 PM on December 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


The first thing my husband asked me at lunch was "have you seen the news about Cartoon Network?" I'm going to be firing up the credit card for this one!
posted by immlass at 1:12 PM on December 2, 2015


I hope they don't get a Mako impersonator like Nickelodeon did for Avatar. The character of Aku is so essential to Samurai Jack, and the voice IS the character... I'm not sure if I can get excited for this.
posted by davejh at 1:17 PM on December 2, 2015


I think it's interesting that it's being branded with [adult swim] and Toonami rather than just regular Cartoon Network. I wonder if they'll up the violence and/or sexiness.
posted by sleeping bear at 1:26 PM on December 2, 2015


I had never even heard of Sym-Bionic Titan and now I feel like I gotta find it and watch it.

SO EXCITED for more Samurai Jack.
posted by numaner at 1:55 PM on December 2, 2015


I had never even heard of Sym-Bionic Titan and now I feel like I gotta find it and watch it.

Yes. Yes you do.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:02 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]




Excellent news!
posted by Secretariat at 2:19 PM on December 2, 2015


This is awesome news. Very excellent.

New Megas XLR next, right? Right?!

I dig giant robots
you did giant robots
Chicks dig giant robots

....nice.

posted by mephron at 3:04 PM on December 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Omigosh, ohmigosh, ohmigosh!

Will Jack finally get to go home? I would be excited about a Powerpuff reboot too, had it not been for the decidedly lacklustre Dance Pantsed special released last year. If the reboot is closer to the original vision, I may change my mind. I certainly enjoyed the movie.

Say what you will about Jack, but he jump good. Gods willing, we'll see the Scotsman and his wee wife again.
posted by bouvin at 3:17 PM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


My favorite show OF ALL TIME returns? Headed up by Tartakovsky himself and not as some hideous zombie style IP purchase? Happy Chanukah to me!!!

Mako will be missed, of course, but I feel like people saying without him there would be no show are forgetting the sheer lushness and bizarre logic of it all. For me it was always about those hand painted backgrounds and the way that Jack's wanderings managed to somehow always lead him to something I had never before been able to imagine.

Also in the past decade or so, voice acting in American shows has really come into its own. I'm willing to give whoever steps into Mako's inky black shoes the benefit of the doubt and see if they can make it their own.
posted by Mizu at 3:51 PM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Adult Swim and Cartoon Network are actually two different networks, even though they share a channel. Adult Swim is run/programmed by Williams Street Productions (although still part of Turner Broadcasting System, which also owns Cartoon Network). So it's maybe less Genndy Tartakovsky working with CN & more him working with Williams Street.

It also means since the Standards and Practices for Adult Swim are different than Cartoon Network, this Samurai Jack may have a darker tone or more overt violence. And I think that may end up being interesting. Samurai Jack always seemed to appeal to older audiences anyway. It'll be great to see where they go with this one.
posted by darksong at 4:12 PM on December 2, 2015


The series is being produced at Cartoon Network Studios, so he's still working with at least part of the corporation.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:10 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is the only piece of good news I've heard today.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:31 PM on December 2, 2015


I hope the title sequence monologue remains the same so we at least get a little Mako.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:34 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


His evil is law.
posted by Artw at 7:41 AM on December 3, 2015


Not gonna lie, I was going to make the title "JACK IS BACK" until I realized that if I used an Aku quote people would hear Mako's voice in their heads.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:51 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hope the title sequence monologue remains the same so we at least get a little Mako.

I was just watching an episode or two this morning, and yes, it defines the show.
posted by mikelieman at 8:17 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


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