Genndy Tartakovsky Created Samurai Jack Because He Got Tired of Writing Dialogue

Image: Adult Swim
Image: Adult Swim

After Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls, Genndy Tartakovsky wanted to do something different for his next show—an ultra-stylized action series that would adopt a new art style. Tartakovsky also had a reason for Samurai Jack’s cinematic, sparse dialogue: he was burned out after doing two comedy shows.


The tidbit, revealed by Indiewire today, comes from Tartakovsky’s introduction to an upcoming, one-night-only cinematic re-release of the first three episodes of Samurai Jack as an extended movie. Discussing where the idea for Jack came from, Tartakovsky expressed his desire to create a show that was artistically different from his work on Dexter and Powerpuff Girls—characterized by the thick, black outlines of the characters—and that would capitalize on the action sequences of those series. Such a project would also mean he’d have to write less dialogue after years of scripting comedies:

Going from Dexter to Powerpuff, there was a lot of dialogue, there was a lot of... you know, we did action, of course, but I was getting burned out on the words, and both shows had this big, thick black outline. So I was thinking about what’s next for me, what I wanted to do, and comedy is really difficult.

And all the action we did in Dexters and Powerpuff was very successful, and I felt like we had a good knack of it. I decided that maybe the next thing I do is to do an action show. I would complain about all other animated action shows, and so I decided that maybe I gotta walk the walk. I had this idea, and I pitched it as “It’s a samurai, who gets transplanted into the future, he walks around and fights robots with his sword, and there’s not a lot of dialogue and it’s super stylized,” and then we went for it.

So there you have it—the reason Jack is such a steely, quiet figure for much of Samurai Jack is that it’s a lot easier to write great action when you don’t have to write as much dialogue. Fathom Events’ one-night screening of Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie Event hits US theaters October 16.


James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!



Writing dialogue is the worst.