Alternative endings for Samurai Jack that would still have been bittersweet without wiping Ashi out of existence
Genndy Tartakovsky wanted to make the ending of Samurai Jack bittersweet. Okay, fine I can respect that. However, he didn’t need to wipe Ashi from existence to do that.
In fact, making Ashi fade away created so many plot holes. How did Jack travel back in time if Ashi didn’t exist? Why does Jack and everyone who met her remember Ashi? Why didn’t she disappear straight away? Why did she lose her powers when Aku died but then stay around only to fade away on her wedding day?
Here are some different ways Samurai Jack could have ended.
1. Once she’d broken free on his control, Ashi no longer had Aku’s powers. She helped Jack kill Aku but Jack had to live the rest of his life in the future.
Jack could never go home and still felt guilty about being unable to save the people of his own time. However, with Ashi by his side and an army of friends, he slowly learned to be okay with that.
2. Ashi died fighting Aku and her sacrifice gave Jack enough time to kill him.
3. Jack killed Aku in the future but was mortally wounded in the process.
Ashi held Jack’s hand as he bled out. He was surrounded by the people he’d saved over the years and who had come to his aid in his hour of need. He died an honourable death, knowing how much of a difference he’d made.
4. Under Aku’s control, Ashi killed Jack.
Aku then let Ashi’s true personality surface again so that he could taunt her. She was horrified by what he’d made her do.
Through her tears, Ashi picked up Jack’s sword and pointed it at Aku. He laughed, telling her that she is his daughter through and through and the sword won’t work of her. It can never be used by evil.
Aku didn’t even move out of the way when Ashi struck him. He only had a moment to feel surprised as the sword cut him before Ashi struck again, this time a killing blow.
Carrying Jack’s sword, Ashi walked away. No one would ever control her again. She repeated what Jack had told her, “I am not my mother. I am not my father. I am my own person.”
5. Ashi took Jack back in time. Together they killed Aku. She kept her powers and didn’t fade away.
Jack and Ashi stay together. Jack still doesn’t get older and, due to her powers, neither does Ashi. Eventually, they live long enough to see the time period Aku sent Jack to. It’s a very different place without Aku in control.
Jack runs into the Scotsman, who doesn’t recognise him.
6A. Ashi broke free of Aku’s control but didn’t have instant mastery of her powers. She and Jack killed Aku in the future and Jack was stuck there while Ashi learned to control her powers.
They helped the world heal and undid the evil that was Aku. Ashi kept practising and experimenting with her powers. One day, she told Jack that she could send him back to the past. However, there was no rush and they talk about it.
If Jack went back and killed Aku in the past, he’d create a new timeline where Aku never took over. That didn’t mean that the current timeline would stop existing but it would be in a different universe and Jack would never be able to come back to this one again.
The future they were in at the time was better than when Aku was still alive but it was still healing. Ashi decided to stay in the future and continue to help that timeline. Jack chose to go back and save the people of his timeline from ever living the one where Aku won.
They end up living in separate universes and can never see each other again.
6B. The same as 6A but with an added ambiguous ending.
After defeated Aku in the past, Jack helped his people rebuild and recover. However, he still didn’t age. He no longer felt at home among his own people and eventually left to wonder the world.
One day, Jack found the portal that the Guardian protects. However, Jack had no desire to time travel again. He knows the future is different now and it won’t be the one he left. Besides, if he waits long enough, he’ll live to see it.
Instead of trying to reach the portal, Jack talked to the Guardian. The Guardian told Jack that the portal can do more than move you in time. It can take you where you want/need to be, even if that place is in a different universe. Then the Guardian repeated what we already know; the portal is only to be used by one person and that person must defeat the Guardian.
The story ends with Jack raising his sword.