Exclusive: Samurai Jack Live-Action Series In Development

The legend of Samurai Jack is not over. We're may be getting a live-action Samurai Jack series.

By Liana Keane | Published

live-action Samurai Jack series

Samurai Jack is generally regarded as one of the greatest works of animation ever produced. The series wrapped up its fifth season in 2017 (after a 13 year gap between season 4 and season 5) to wide critical acclaim and popularity. Now the show’s creator has moved on to other things, but the legend of Samurai Jack is not over. We’re getting a live-action Samurai Jack series.

Warner Bros. just launched its new streaming service, HBO Max, and they’re hungry for new content to produce for it. They’re looking at Samurai Jack.

We’ve heard from the same source that made us the first outlet anywhere to break the news that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was happening (two months before the official announcement), that HBO Max is developing a live-action version of Samurai Jack.  The project would be a series that follows much the same arc the original animated version of the show did. 


If you’ve never seen Samurai Jack, the show’s opening monologue explains it better than I ever could. Voiced by the series villain Aku, he explains, “Long ago in a distant land, I, Aku, the shape shifting master of darkness, unleashed an unspeakable evil. But a foolish samurai warrior wielding a magic sword stepped forth to oppose me. Before the final blow was struck, I tore open a portal in time, and flung him into the future where my evil is law. Now the fool seeks to return to the past and undo the future that is Aku!”

The show largely takes place in a dystopian, high-tech future where the Earth is overrun by strange aliens and ruled by the evil, all-powerful Aku. Our Samurai hero (who eventually comes to be known as Jack) travels the world helping the helpless while trying to find a way to travel back in time and cut off evil at its root. 

According to our source, one of the only holdups preventing the live-action Samurai Jack series from going into full development is series creator Genndy Tartakovsky.  HBO and Warner Bros. badly want Tartakovsky involved but he’s not interested. 


Back in 2017 when the fifth season of Samurai Jack was being finished up, Genndy had this to say about the show: “This is it. This is the definitive end, and it’s a great end. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve storyboarded it, and I think it’s super satisfying, and it should close the door for me for Samurai Jack.”

It seems he is now determined to keep that door closed. Genndy Tartakovsky is busy anyway, currently hard at work on a life-long passion project which is the adaptation of Popeye into a 3D animated feature film.  He also has his name as director on two other upcoming feature films.  

Obviously HBO can make their live-action Samurai Jack without Tartakovsky but they seem to realize, as does anyone who has ever seen the animated show, that it’s Tartakovsky’s brilliant vision and style which made Samurai Jack such a special show. To do this right they need him involved on some level.  Whether they’ll convince him to join in or simply decide to move forward without him, remains to be seen.

live-action Samurai Jack series

If you’re wondering who they might cast to play the show’s hero Samurai, our source says they haven’t made a casting decision yet. For some time now though, fans have been dreaming of Keanu Reeves getting the role. There’s even an online petition and this fan trailer with Reeves as the live-action Samurai Jack’s star…

If you want HBO Max and Genndy Tartakovsky to push forward with their plans for a live-action Samurai Jack series, then let them know by CLICKING HERE.