Genndy Tartakovsky Had To Scrap His Original Plan For Primal Season 2

Genndy Tartakovsky has kept busy in recent years. The "Samurai Jack" creator has found acclaim in his latest creation, "Primal," which is in the middle of its second season on Adult Swim. "Primal" earned four Emmy awards and was praised for its high concept and visceral style with minimal dialogue. Tartakovsky's ability to tell the story of Spear and Fang solely through visuals and devoid of dialogue is an impressive feat, allowing the viewer to focus on all the unique and terrifying locations, civilizations, and of course, primal creatures in the world of "Primal."

However, Tartakovsky hadn't always planned for the show's second season to follow the trajectory it's currently on. In fact, Tartakovsky had several plans for the first two seasons of "Primal" that were scrapped altogether. Like any creative, the characters and world he shaped started going in their own direction, with Tartakovsky and the rest of the team behind "Primal" adapting to these new changes in exciting and creative ways.

Discovering a new path

Speaking to Paste Magazine, Genndy Tartalovsky discussed his passion for "Primal" and how working on the show helped him to discover new paths for Spear and Fang's story to take, differing from the original concepts:

"I really want to push storytelling. The first ten episodes, there were so many successful ideas, and the complexity of our stories was still being understood even when there's no dialogue ... And I'm like, 'let's do even more complex stories, but still follow the rules of the show.' We restructured these ten episodes to be kind of one story. It goes up and down in three arcs or so. It's been incredible. We totally broke what we wanted to do and rediscovered this new path."

Tartakovsky let his ambitions with "Primal" take the story in a different direction than initially planned, showing flexibility on the creator's part. "Primal" found a winning formula with its dialogue-free storytelling, putting the 2D animation in the spotlight and letting viewers put the pieces together themselves. But Tartakovsky's world-building in "Primal" to that point had set standards for the kind of stories he could tell, with the prehistoric setting and nature of its world creating limitations that would come to pose challenges to the "Primal" creative team.

Rethinking the world of Primal

In the same interview, Tartakovsky revealed that his initial plans for season 2 were derailed by the limitations of the world he created. He spoke of his wish to respect the integrity of the story he made rather than subject it to cliches:

"I had a whole arc planned for the second season that initially was going to be part of the first season. But I realized there was so much more we could do in the first season, so we didn't need to bring in this new element. We pushed it to the second season, and then once we started to break it down, I realized we're kind of breaking what we've established, to a degree, and we're heading into the world of cliches. As soon as you introduce some kind of primitive early civilizations, you're instantly in 10,000 B.C. or Stargate, and all that stuff. It didn't feel right for Primal, so I had to rethink it."

"Primal" took on a life of its own, with Tartakovsky rethinking how to approach Spear and Fang's journey up to that point. The show's season 1 finale teased the introduction of more evolved types of people, specifically Spear and Fang's encounter with Mira, a woman from a different kind of civilization never seen in the show up to that point. As fantastical as "Primal" is, Tartakovsky wanted to ground some of the story in history, which is when "Primal" began to differ from the initial plans for the show.

An exciting new civilization

Tartakovsky's crossroads came after the introduction of Mira, a woman whose rational thinking, communication, and ingenuity implied the existence of an intelligent and more evolved civilization. That was always the plan for "Primal," but once Mira appeared, changes needed to be made immediately:

"After that [Mira], that's where we got into a pause for a bit to figure out where we're going to go. Originally, of course, you have to do Egypt, right? Because that's one of the first civilizations with the overlord Pharaoh and slaves, but that's where it really broke for me. It just did not feel right at all. We restarted, and as I was digging through history, I came upon something that I never encountered before in early civilization. I got so excited for it, and it was the perfect vehicle for us for the second half of the season."

Tartakovsky's original idea of incorporating Egyptian civilization in "Primal" sounds enticing. Still, his discovery of something more intriguing to him in an entirely different society is just the kind of ingenuity that made "Primal" successful in the first place. Tartakovsky's excitement should get us excited, as I personally can't wait to see what exquisitely animated and hyper-violent adventure Spear and Fang go on to next, knowing that the upcoming episodes will feature that new historical discovery.