Primal Clip

Legendary animator Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, the 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars) comes to Comic Con New York to introduce his latest–and perhaps most audacious–work: Primal.

At the dawn of evolution, a stout Neanderthal caveman and a dinosaur forge an unlikely friendship to survive a bloodcurdling eon in the beast-ridden prehistoric landscape. Imagine Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur but hand-drawn, adult, gorier, more T-Rexes, and with the Tartakovsky Touch.

The First Episode

Fans were treated to a screening of the first episode before the Q& A. It yields the unsurprising Tartakovsky hallmarks: no dialogue, harsh outlines on a flat aesthetic, decisions and introspections told by physical performance rather than spoken words, and outright visual brutality. T-rexes with horn-tipped snouts chomp away at life, blood gushing from its jaw. Even when the caveman (nicknamed “Spear” by the production team) finishes battles, he slumps down with downcast eyes, deriving no satisfaction out of the killing since it cannot reverse what the beasts have stolen from him. In this world, anyone who is alive after the battle is no victor, only the survivor and always battered.

The first episode ends with dino and caveman coming together to go off on adventures.

From Samurai Jack to Primal

Tartakovsky always had the idea of an animated caveman in mind, sketching the likeness of his Spear character in the past eight years, during the production of Samurai Jack’s final season. Since cavemen do not talk, it was the perfect attribute of silence for him to work with

Plenty of fans asked about his transition from Samurai Jack to Primal. He answered, “So instead of Jack doing choreographed martial arts fighting, Primal is almost ape-ish, brutal, and that’s it. There’s no rules, no choreography. It’s just as raw as we can do it.”

The State of Adult Animation

Tartakovsky hopes more could be done for the adult animation industry for the theatre, to show that animation is not in the “it’s just for kids” territory. Interestingly, he saw Primal’s first four episodes combined for its Los Angeles theatrical run, possibly qualifying it for an Oscar nod.

He Promises It Get Wilder from There

Tartakovsky promises that the series will get wilder from there. Of course, he doesn’t say how but drops a few hints. He says the caveman will encounter other “caveman,” doing an air quote gesture, suggesting said other cavemen may not be anything we expect.

Other Works

Tartakovsky talked about his previous work on Dexter’s Laboratory, his attempt to adapt Popeye as a CGI film until the Sony hackings, Hotel Transylvania, Samurai Jack. One fan asked if there are any plans to revive Sym-Bionic Titan, which provoked the audience to shriek with delight. “You’re killing me!” he joked. As of now, there are no plans to continue, but Tartakovsky said, “Never say never.”

Primal will air as a 5-night special event, starting Monday, October 7 at midnight (ET/PT) on Adult Swim.

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