Samurai Jack is the original three-part pilot made up from The Beginning, The Samurai Called Jack and The First Fight in seamless format. It aired on August 10, 2001 which marked the official debut of the series. It was also released on a stand-alone DVD and VHS format on March 19, 2002 as Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie. As a bonus in the DVD, Jack and the Scotsman (Part 1) can be viewed.
Episode I: The Beginning
The episode begins with a solar eclipse. The eclipse has a strange effect on what appears to be a warped dead tree in the middle of a wasteland. The tree springs out of the ground and grows into a tall dark figure with flaming eyebrows. The figure states, "Once again I am free to smite the world as I did in days long passed".
Not far from there, the Emperor tells his son about a war he fought against an evil monster named Aku. On his own he was helpless against the wizard, but he remembered a tale he had heard from his great-grandfather about three monks gifted with mystical powers. The monks agreed to forge a magical sword for the Emperor, with which he was able to pin Aku into the very wasteland he created. The people then rebuilt the land in hope that Aku will never return. The Emperor finishes his story with a warning to his son to always be alert, for evil might be lurking right behind him. From Egypt to Greece From Greece to Egypt. Impressed by the tale, the young Prince begins to play with a wooden sword, when all of a sudden a great shadow falls over the land. The alarm sounds as Aku forces his way through the palace wall. The army tries to fight him off using arrows, javelins and catapults, but to no avail, as Aku absorbs their weapons and fires them back at the men. The emperor tries to fetch his sword, but Aku captures him. While he is being carried away, the Emperor shouts to Jack's mother, "Mother, Aku has returned! Do as we have planned, our future depends on it!" The Queen grabs the young Prince and the sword and carries them away from the burning palace by boat while Aku laughs victoriously over the destruction of his former slayer's empire. The queen hands the prince over to the captain of a ship which bears the emblem of his father, while the sword stays with her.
The prince spends his childhood and teenage years in various cultures. The ship's captain teaches him about astrology. He trains in equestrianism in the camp of an Arab Sheikh. In Egypt he studies hieroglyphics. He learns stick fighting from the Chief of an African tribe. In Greece he learns the art of wrestling. He learns marksmanship from a European bandit, in which its Robin Hood. The knowledge of seamanship is instilled during his time on a Viking ship. A Russian Boyar teaches him axe throwing. Mongol warriors teach him spear throwing. He then reaches to the temple of Shaolin to study Kung fu.
Having finished his tour of the old world, the Prince, now grown up, heads to a designated rendezvous point where he reunites with his mother. The mother and child embrace after their long separation, and she returns to him his birthright: the sword of his father.
Returning to his land, the Prince finds his people enslaved. The countryside is riddled with likenesses of Aku, and the Emperor, like all his subjects, has been put to work in the mines, though he is being tormented by Aku's evil minions far more than anyone else. The Prince easily defeats the minions and frees his father from his shackles. The Emperor tells his son that Aku means to use the riches found in the mines to take over the entire world. The Prince promises that he will vanquish Aku by the power of his sword, but his father berates him, saying that the sword is but a tool, and that the true power lies in the hands that wield it. The Prince sets off on horseback, promising his father not to fail him. But the Emperor is worried, for he knows evil always "finds a way".
The Prince arrives at Aku's tower and calls him out. Aku boasts that no mortal weapon can harm him, but the Prince cuts him with the sword. Aku then recognizes the sword, but says neither the sword nor the Emperor had the power to slay him forever, and neither will the Prince. With those words Aku attacks by shape-shift into a gorilla.
Aku manages to scratch the Prince's back but soon enough the Prince manages to cut off many pieces of Aku's shifting forms (next going from a scorpion, a tentacled creature, a billy goat, and finally a bat). With every amputated piece, Aku's powers diminish. Eventually, Aku is reduced into a shadow that lies defeated before the Prince. "You might have beaten me now, but I will destroy you in the future", Aku says to the Prince. The Prince exclaims that there is no future for Aku, "I disagree", says Aku and opens a portal in time through which the Prince is flung into the distant future, where Aku is the supreme ruler of the planet for millennia and his evil is law. Aku promises they will meet again but next time he will destroy the Prince once and for all.
Episode II: The Samurai Called Jack
The Prince has finally gotten out of the portal Aku has thrown him into, only to find himself falling into the depths of a high tech city and nearly getting ran into by flying cars. After managing to land on one of the flying cars, The Prince is shot at by an APB car. The Prince quickly cuts the car apart and lands safely on the ground below by jumping from car to car.
The Prince soon finds himself facing a massive red trash compacting vehicle heading straight for him. The Prince manages to avoid being crushed by using his acrobatic skills and climbing on the vehicle's underside and gets onto the walkway, where three young aliens had been watching him, and were amazed by his skills and continually referred to him as 'Jack'. The Prince asks them where he is and who is in charge and they tell him he is in the Central Hub of Sector D of the city and that Aku is their leader. The Prince looks around and becomes overwhelmed by the fact that Aku is everywhere. The teens then take him to a bar to get him a drink and to calm his nerves.
At the bar, The Prince is astonished to see that everyone inside is an alien. One of the aliens becomes offended by his staring and starts a fight with him. The Prince tries to apologize, but it doesn't work and he is forced to literally disarm the alien, only for the injured alien's friends to join in the fight. While The Prince is defending himself, three canine archaeologists are speaking with an alien warrior, hoping he will help them fight against Aku. The alien calls them idiots and walks off. Not deterred, the archaeologists then turn their attention to The Prince, who has 'disarmed' all the other aliens. Rothchild, the leader of the archaeologists, invites The Prince to sit with them so they can explain to him where he is and to ask for his help. They introduce themselves as Sir Drifus Alexander (Bulldog), Sir Angus McDuffy (Scottish Terrier), and Sir Colin Bartholomew Montgomery Rothchild III (Dachsund). They explain to The Prince that Aku has ruled the Earth for thousands of years and that he has extended his reach to other the galaxies to increase his wealth and power over resources and the masses, causing a mirade of lifeforms to inhabit Earth and change it into what it is now. They also discover that The Prince is in fact from the past after he points out the fact that where he came from dogs only barked. After scanning him, they discover that he originates from the time before Aku took over Earth completely. The Prince himself understands and realizes that the question is not where he is, but when, and that Aku must have thrown him into the future. They then ask The Prince for his help to free them and their colleagues from Aku who has enslaved them to work in crystal mines without rest, making them unable to continue their studies about their past. The Prince decides to help them and introduces himself as 'Jack,' the name the teens called him earlier. As they leave, unbeknownst to them, a spy of Aku's had heard their conversation and went to give the Shogun of Sorrows himself the information. As soon as he heard this, Aku became infuriated and wished to see who would dare to oppose him and saw that it was Jack. Aku knew this day would come and proclaims that Jack will now suffer the pain he felt in the past and sends an army of Beetle Drones to attack them.
At the excavation site, Jack and the archaeologists learn that Aku has sent an army of machines to destroy them and begin to prepare for their coming arrival.
Episode III: The First Fight
Jack and the archaeologists begin to plan for the invasion coming the next day. Jack comes up with a plan to use the digging and transportation equipment to set up a layer or traps to thin out the army of Beetle Drones. While the archaeologists set up the traps, Jack looks for items that can be used as weapons. He finds out that the very jewels Aku has been forcing the archaeologists to dig can be used as weapons and makes them into spears and arrows for a bow he made. With the traps set, the archaeologists create an armor for Jack as he tames one of the animals to use as a steed. Soon, everything is set up and Jack waits for the morning.
As the sun rose, the beetle drones had entered the valley and Jack headed out to face them. When Jack caught sight of the coming hordes, he activated the first trap, catapults made from digging machines. He fired his arrows at each of the start buttons of the machines, causing them to fire the stones into the middle of the army, destroying several Beetle Drones. Jack then activated the second trap, exploding barrels by firing arrows at flint on top of the barrels, creating several explosions and destroying more Drones.
Jack and his steed then rush towards the Drones to engage in combat. Jack fires the last few arrows as his steed rams through the Drones. Jack begins using the spears he made and manages to destroy a few more drones before being knocked off his steed. Left alone on the battlefield, Jack draws his sword and begins fighting, but is overwhelmed and stripped of his armor. Jack managed to get away from the Drones and lead them to the third trap, loose rock pillars. Jack quickly knocked them over, causing a rock slide that destroyed more drones as well as creating a walkway to the fourth trap, spaceships made into flamethrowers. Jack ignited them and destroyed several more drones before they ran out of fuel. Jack began to lead the Drones to their last trap, a spike pit made using the jewels. Jack jumped over the pit, leading the Drones into falling into the pit, drastically cutting their numbers. Unfortunately, it didn't get enough of them as Jack was still immensely outnumbered and all out of traps.
Left without any other strategy at his disposal, Jack could fight with only his sword. The drones kept coming, injuring Jack while he destroyed as many as he could. Eventually, Jack became enraged and got covered in the oil of the drones he destroyed (while in slow motion). Covered from head to toe in the black oil, Jack stared at the remaining drones, who had become terrified at the sight of the samurai covered in the oil of their fallen brethren and slowly started to step away. Jack said "No. There is no escape" and began to destroy the last few drones until there were no more. With the drones destroyed, the archaeologists are freed and could continue their studies of their past. They offer Jack a chance to travel with them, but he declines and continues his journey to right Aku's wrongs and eventually finding a time portal.
Aku, who had been watching the battle the whole time, promises Jack (and refer him by name for the first time) that he will destroy him and that the time and place will be his choosing.
- Phil LaMarr - Samurai Jack, Guard
- Mako Iwamatsu - Aku
- Sab Shimono - The Emperor
- Jennifer Hale - Girl, Waitress
- Jeff Bennett - Alien, McDuffy, Dreyfuss, Leader, Dog
- Rob Paulsen - Cole Lampkin, Lizor, Rothchild
- Kevin Michael Richardson - Brobot, Bouncer, Vada 2
Home Video releases
- Main article: Samurai Jack videography
- Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie
- Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie
- Samurai Jack: Season 1 (Cartoon Network Collector Series)
- The Prince's voice sounded more serious than subsequent episodes that follow which adds the asian accent. The same goes for Aku which he has a deeper voice than the 'hamminess' added after this episode.
- Bits of what appear to be Townsville, a setting featured prominently in The Powerpuff Girls, can be seen in the backgrounds of several scenes at the excavation site.
- Among the canine archaeologist there are two dogs bears some resemblances to Little Dog and Big Dog from 2 Stupid Dogs, which involved Genndy Tartakovsky.
- According to Angus, Jack's arrival in the future would make him at least several thousand years old.
- The DVD Bonus Features contain a bonus episode, Jack and the Scotsman (Part 1), as well as a Behind the Scenes documentary called Behind the Sword and an Archive feature.
- This is the only piece of Samurai Jack media that has ever been released on VHS.
- The show's iconic opening theme, as well as the end credits to The Beginning and The Samurai Called Jack, are not present in the movie.