Phil LaMarr on 'Samurai Jack': "I Consider It a Work of Art"

Phil LaMarr - Getty - H 2017
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"There was a need for this comeback. I mean, it's in the theme song: 'Gotta get back.'"

Phil LaMarr is having a very busy 2017.

In addition to wrapping up the final season of Samurai Jack, the fan-favorite animated epic 16 years in the making, the prolific voice actor also turned in a starring role as Aquaman and Green Lantern in the best-selling DC fighting game Injustice 2. If that weren't enough, LaMarr is also set to voice-star in Tyler, the Creator's upcoming Adult Swim animated comedy The Jellies.

LaMarr, in a recent interview on the Namek vs. Saiyan podcast, hosted by The Hollywood Reporter's Patrick Shanley, opened up about his many roles and ruminated on the emotional finale to Samurai Jack, which returned to Adult Swim this year after a 13-year hiatus.

"It’s lovely to come back and work with your friends again, but there was something really special about this show," LaMarr said of the return. "For me, even originally, it was a show that I loved. I consider it a work of art. There was a need for this comeback. I mean, it’s in the theme song: ‘Gotta get back.’ [Samurai Jack creator] Genndy Tartakovsky and I had been talking on and off for nearly a decade about finishing, because it needed an ending."

As for the ending itself, LaMarr believes it speaks for itself and fans need to accept Tartakovsky's vision. "Last time I checked, you didn’t write it or create or draw it, so I don’t know why it would be exactly what you wanted," he said of critics of the finale's bittersweet conclusion. "It’s what Genndy wanted. You wouldn't say, 'I think the Mona Lisa would be better if she just smiled. Come on, Da Vinci, lighten up. Go in and redo it.'"

As for his work on Injustice 2, the actor credits his past efforts on the animated series Young Justice for landing him the role. "I think the reason they used me on Injustice was because their concept for Aquaman was pretty similar to the Young Justice Aquaman — the regal, 'I am the king of the seven seas,'" LaMarr said. "He’s really, almost, a less schmucky Namor."

Due to the current video game actors strike, however, LaMarr was worried about his work in the game reaching fans. "Thankfully, we’d done all the Injustice work before we went on strike. I wasn’t sure when the game came out if I would be in it," he said. "I’m a DC comics guy from way back, so these characters are very dear to me. Plus, as a performer, I’ve been in this world since 2000. I love this work. It’s a real bummer to think that until we get this settled, I won’t be able to play these guys anymore."

The current strike is ongoing.