Samukai was a fearsome Skulkin general with four arms. At some point, he died and was reborn as a Skulkin in the Underworld where he united the army of the undead and became their king. Upon Garmadon's banishment, Garmadon took over the Underworld and became the realm's new ruler. Nonetheless, Samukai retained a position high on the Underworld hierarchy as Garmadon's second-in-command and the retaining the title of "King of the Underworld" while carrying out his superior's will.
Samukai and the Skulkin fought against the ninja and claimed the Golden Weapons. When Samukai confronted Wu, he took hold of all four weapons, but their immense powers vaporized him and created a portal. Garmadon then escaped the Underworld and wreaked havoc in Ninjago.
A statue of Samukai was later placed in the Ninjago Museum of History. When Cole accidentally opened the Departed Realm, Samukai's spirit escaped and possessed the statue in the museum. Samukai set off to exact vengeance, in his case going after Jay with help from Krazi and Frakjaw. Samukai fought Jay at his parents' junkyard before his statue was shattered to pieces by Jay's nunchucks. As a result, his spirit was sent back to the Departed Realm.
As a human, Samukai was a powerful warlord with a loyal following, though his desire for more land, power, and riches quickly got the best of him. Despite the countless ruthless acts committed by him and his armies, there were no known desertions or insurrections from Samukai's followers.
Long before the Serpentine War, Samukai departed from Ninjago after having disgraced himself as a warrior in battle. As a result, he was reborn into the Underworld, of which he proceeded to become the king. At some point after this, he came into conflict with Wu and Garmadon, only to be defeated by the two brothers.
An Underworldly Takeover (flashback)
After Garmadon was banished to the Underworld, Samukai promptly proceeded to confront his nemesis alongside several Skulkin, gloating over his predictions of the former's banishment turning true. Declaring revenge on Garmadon through plans to subject him to an afterlife of pain and suffering, Samukai clashed with his old foe. However, he was ultimately defeated when Garmadon used Spinjitzu and watched in humiliation as his victorious opponent donned the helmet that had once signified his own authority. As a result, Samukai was demoted to only a Skulkin general, while Garmadon became the new King of the Underworld.
The Last Voyage (flashback)
In order to prepare for the upcoming hunt for the Golden Weapons, Garmadon had Samukai track down Dr. Julien alongside his lieutenants Nuckal and Kruncha to his workshop in Birchwood Forest. Resurrecting the inventor with his elixir (possibly stolen from Mystake's Tea Shop), Samukai forced Julien to build war machines for him, telling he could see his Nindroid son Zane again if he complied. Samukai imprisoned Julien at Lighthouse Island and chained a Leviathan to the island as a guard.
Mother Earth (flashback)
Though kidnapping the inventor was Samukai's idea, Garmadon took credit for it, which Samukai accepted after a moment of hesitation. Unbeknownst to the two, Lilly overheard on the conversation, which let her know of Dr. Julien's fate.
Around a decade after his loss to Garmadon, Samukai used the vehicles to lead an attack on Ignacia Village alongside several Skulkin in search of the Map of the Golden Weapons. In response to Kai and Nya managing to defend themselves, he personally confronted the former and easily defeated Kai within seconds. Before Samukai could finish Kai off, however, Master Wu knocked him aside with a Spinjitzu vortex. Casually conversing with his old nemesis, Samukai, realizing his lieutenants had already found the map and that Nya was vulnerable, proceeded to throw his daggers at a nearby water tower, causing it to collapse and forcing Wu to save Kai. Taking advantage of the distraction, Samukai ordered Kruncha to capture Nya, and with her hostage, the Skulkin fled the village to return to the Underworld.
Arriving at the Caves of Despair, the ninja found their nemesis to have already set up camp there in search of the Scythe of Quakes. Sneaking into his watchtower, the ninja stole the Map of the Golden Weapons and proceeded from there, unbeknownst to him. However, when Jay accidentally revealed their location, Samukai promptly led his forces to ambush the ninja while they retrieved the Golden Weapon for him. Upon their arrival, Samukai attacked the group, only for the ninja to learn Spinjitzu and fight back long enough for the Earth Dragon to arrive, forcing him to call a retreat. Later on, he reported to Lord Garmadon under a fearful guise, only to finally be informed of the latter's plan.
While the ninja went to get the Nunchucks of Lightning, Samukai attempted to ambush them from behind, only for Zane to alert his fellow teammates of the latter's presence. Even as the ninja proceeded to escape with the Golden Weapon in hand, Samukai secretly gloated to himself over the plan's approaching success.
Later, with Kai and Master Wu at the Fire Temple to confront Garmadon, Samukai confronted the sleeping Zane, Jay, and Cole alongside his army and tied the three of them up. Gloating over his success, he promptly claimed the three Golden Weapons they had been guarding and declared their ascent to the Fire Temple, only for Garmadon to warn him that Wu had taken the Sword of Fire to the Underworld. Changing plans, Samukai led his forces on their vehicles to an entrance to their home realm, only to be pursued by Jay, Cole, and Zane. However, after witnessing them hold off his minions, Samukai proceeded to take command of the Skull Truck, throwing the ninja off and finally making his trip to the Underworld.
As Master Wu confronted his brother within the Dark Fortress, Samukai, on the latter's behest, challenged his old foe to a final rematch, with Master Wu armed with the Sword of Fire while he himself wielded the remaining Golden Weapons. Despite Wu's best efforts, he was ultimately reigned victorious and proceeded to claim the Sword of Fire, even as the ninja arrived to witness Garmadon's triumph.
However, upon Garmadon's order to be given the Golden Weapons, Samukai revealed his own plans to betray the Dark Lord, intending to use the Weapons to overthrow Garmadon and reclaim his role as King of the Underworld. Before he could exact his long-awaited revenge, however, the Golden Weapons began to overload Samukai with their power, with Wu warning Samukai that no one could handle all of the weapons' power at once. Garmadon confirmed Wu's statement by saying that he himself couldn't handle all of that power and that he had planned for Samukai to use the powers to create a vortex through space and time. Realizing this too late, Samukai screamed and the resulting explosion created a tear through space and time, vaporizing him to death in the process. Upon his disintegration, a portal to the Realm of Madness was all that remained, allowing Garmadon to escape the Underworld after a decade of imprisonment. As Samukai had now been destroyed in a realm of the undead, his soul was sent to the Departed Realm instead, finding its new and ultimate resting place.
After the ninja and Garmadon went back in time, the latter proceeded to infiltrate Samukai's army under the disguise of a generic Skulkin. Samukai continued his attack on Ignacia Village as normal, only for the timeline to be altered when his command for Nya's kidnapping was sabotaged by Garmadon. Consequently, he called a retreat and with his army intact and the Map of the Golden Weapons fled.
During their journey to a portal to the Underworld, Samukai angrily yelled at his subordinates over their failure, in the process prompting Nuckal to unknowingly reveal the presence of the future ninja to an eavesdropping Garmadon. Afterward, he again lectured his minions at a campfire, only for Kruncha to return with a kidnapped Nya in tow. After gloating to the past Garmadon over their success, Samukai left.
As a result of the destruction of the Mega Weapon, the events of the alternate timeline were erased.
On the Day of the Departed, Wu and the ninja went to the Ninjago Museum of History, where Dr. Saunders introduced them to the Hall of Villainy. While viewing the statues of the villains, Jay looked at Samukai's statue and believed he was looking at him.
After Cole accidentally opened the Departed Realm using the Yin Blade, the spirits of the ninja's old adversaries were released, traveling from the Temple of Airjitzu to the Ninjago Museum of History. There, the spirits possessed the statues in the Hall of Villainy, with Samukai being revived through along with Kozu, Cryptor, Chen, and Morro - none of whom he had met before. Samukai was the first to speak, confronting Morro and asking who he is, to which Morro asked him the same question. As Chen tested out his new chair, Samukai wondered how they were alive once more, to which Morro pointed at the painting of Master Yang, believing he could explain what was happening.
Samukai and the revived villains gathered around the painting, which Yang used to send them a message. He explained how he brought the villains back from the Departed Realm, but that they would only remain in Ninjago for the duration of the rare lunar eclipse unless they exact vengeance on the adversary who destroyed them. The villains cheer, eager to have revenge, but they start to fight when faced with the decision of who to go after. Samukai wants to go after Zane, but Cryptor argues that he's his clone, and he wants to go after him. Yang orders the villains to work it out amongst themselves. All the villains choose who to go after, with Samukai and Kozu having to choose over Jay. Samukai does rock-paper-scissors with Kozu to determine who will go after Jay, but Kozu intends to pursue Dareth instead, leaving Samukai to face Jay. Pythor, who arrived in the middle of the scene, proposes they gather reinforcements from the Hall of Sidekicks. While there, Samukai allies with Krazi and Frakjaw. As they set off to find Jay in the Junk Yard, the other villains go and confront their enemies.
Samukai arrives at Ed & Edna's Scrap N Junk, where Jay is spending time with his mom and dad. Samukai threatens Jay's mom while Jay takes out the two Skulkin mechs used by Krazi and Frakjaw. As Ed goes to help Edna, Samukai begins fighting Jay, while Krazi and Frakjaw apprehend Jay's parents. Samukai manages to overwhelm Jay, beating him in the fight and preparing to kill him so that he can be fully resurrected. At that moment, Ronin arrives in his Salvage M.E.C., saving Jay's parents and kicking Samukai with the mech's foot. Jay and Ronin confronted the Skulkin; with Samukai briefly confronting the mech before Jay crushed Krazi and Frakjaw with a magnetic crane. Afterward, Jay threw his lightning nunchucks at Samukai, shattering the Skulkin general to pieces and sending his spirit back to the Departed Realm.
Though departed, Samukai remained a well-known former adversary of the ninja.
Long after his demise, a statue of Samukai was placed in the Ninjago Museum of History's Hall of Villainy exhibit. Jay later held the mannequin's head, trying to use it to entertain himself while helping clean up the damage caused during their battles on the Day of the Departed.
Pilot (2017 Museum gallery)
The four-armed leader of the Skeleton Army, Samukai was the ruler of the Underworld prior to Garmadon’s arrival there. He formed an uneasy alliance with Garmadon to conquer NINJAGO and obtain the four Golden Weapons of Spinjitzu. Samukai led the Skeleton Army to the surface, but he was often frustrated by just how dense many of his troops were. When he attempted to use all four Golden Weapons at once, he was destroyed by the energy discharge.
Day of the Departed
Samukai’s four arms made him not only a fearsome warrior, but also a mean table tennis player. When asked why he had four arms, he usually answered, “Because I don’t want six.” He was very grateful to be a Skulkin and only have to wear armor, because he knew the extra arms would make it really hard to find shirts that fit.
Samukai came into conflict with Garmadon and his brother Master Wu, only to be defeated by the two brothers. When Garmadon was banished to the Underworld, Samukai eagerly confronted his nemesis, gloating over his predictions of the former's banishment turning true. Seeking revenge on Garmadon through plans to subject him to an afterlife of pain and suffering, Samukai clashed with his old foe. However, he was ultimately defeated when Garmadon used Spinjitzu, and Samukai watched in humiliation as his victorious opponent donned the helmet that had once signified his own authority. As a result, he was demoted back to only the Skulkin General of Fire.
Samukai came into conflict with Master Wu and Garmadon, only to be defeated by the two brothers.
Samukai met Wu again in "Weapons of Destiny", where he challenged his old foe to a final rematch, with Master Wu armed with the Sword of Fire while he himself wielded the remaining Golden Weapons. Despite Wu's best efforts, Samukai ultimately reigned victorious and proceeded to claim the Sword of Fire, even as the ninja arrived to witness Garmadon's triumph.
In "Day of the Departed," Samukai was eager to get revenge on the ninja after Yang freed him. However, he was disappointed that all the other ninja were taken by his undead allies and settled for Jay. When he was about to strike Jay down with his Departed Blade, he told him it wasn't personal.
“It kind of feels like it is, Samukai.”
“It's only so I can return. I promise that as soon as this is over, I'll release your parents.”
In "Day of the Departed", he chose to go after him once the other ninja were taken. Samukai had his men hold Jay's parents captive and battled him, nearly winning. As he prepared to finish Jay, he also stated that their fight isn't personal, Ronin stepped in to rescue Jay's family and allow the Lightning Ninja to redeem himself and Samukai was ultimately sent back to the Departed Realm.
As the King of the Underworld, Samukai was a completely merciless sociopath, incapable of feeling several human emotions such as empathy, compassion, mercy, etc. Described as a brilliant military leader, he resorts to fear in order to keep his army in line and holds deep grudges towards several of his enemies, as well as an instinctive hatred towards all living things. Despite this, he also knew when to not make things personal and not form grudges needlessly.
Ruthless and unwilling to give up in his pursuit of power, he managed to keep the guise of a meek subordinate around his nemesis Garmadon, only to reveal his true colors upon claiming the Golden Weapons. Additionally, Samukai is willing to resort to taking hostages, taking advantage of unsuspecting beings such as the Leviathan and Dr. Julien to achieve his goals.
Samukai is able to accept undesirable situations as long as he will eventually get what he wants, as seen in his subordination to Garmadon for nearly a decade and his acquiescence on the Day of the Departed to go after Jay, a ninja he had no specific vendetta against, as long as it meant he was ultimately revived.
However, despite his merciless, unfeeling determination and lack of morality, Samukai's greatest weakness lies in his lack of empathy and understanding of human emotion; This ultimately shone when, upon discovering Zane's planned visit to his home village, he was unable to comprehend the sentimentality of the former's visit and instead decided that Zane must've been seeking to acquire some material, such as treasure, thus leading him to perform a wholly pointless scheme that resulted in the loss of weapons, a few vehicles, and the wasting of precious time that could've been used to get a head start on the ninja.
Weapons and abilities
- Endurance: Being a Skulkin, Samukai had a near-indestructibility granted to him due to his undead status, though this was unable to protect him from the Golden Weapons.
- Combat: Samukai wielded great strength and battle prowess, especially thanks to his additional set of arms, and was reputed for his skill in wielding daggers or a double-bladed axe.
- Realm travel: Samukai could travel through entrances to the Underworld without the assistance of a Skulkin vehicle, though when carrying cargo such as the Golden Weapons, he had to rely on the help of his army's transportation.
- Tactical genius: At the same time, he was also described as being a brilliant leader and tactical genius in the eyes of Master Wu, who had countless years of experience.
- Bone Daggers: In battle, Samukai generally wielded four daggers with small skulls on the hilts. Apart from general melee combat, he could also twirl the blades in his hands, enhancing their cutting power, or throw them with impressive accuracy at enemies or objects.
- Golden Weapons (formerly): After attacking the ninja in the Forest of Tranquility, Samukai gained three of the four Golden Weapons; the Scythe of Quakes, the Shurikens of Ice, and the Nunchucks of Lightning. He used them all to great effect against Master Wu, overwhelming him with the combined elements of Ice, Lightning, and Earth. However, when he picked up the Sword of Fire and attempted to use all four Golden Weapons against Lord Garmadon, he was destroyed, as their combined power would overwhelm anyone apart from the First Spinjitzu Master.
- Departed Blade: During his return in "Day of the Departed," Samukai wielded a Departed Blade styled to resemble his old double-bladed bone axe.
Samukai had four arms and a large head. He also had two scars above his eyes and a big brown backbone. He wore the standard chest plate of a fire-based General of the Skeleton Army. He also once wore the helmet Lord Garmadon wore in the pilot episodes up to "The Day Ninjago Stood Still", as it seems this helmet goes to the ruler of the Underworld, symbolizing/ensuring their control over the skeleton army.
The Trivia on Samukai needs to be organized.
- He is considered the general of Fire in promotional material, but this is non-canon, as the Skulkin do not have Elemental Powers in the TV series.
- Of all the Skulkin minifigures, Samukai appears the least in the sets, only being released in 2505 Garmadon's Dark Fortress and 2507 Fire Temple. Because of this, he is the most desired Skulkin minifigure and the most valuable.
- Despite returning for "Day of the Departed" in 2016, like Morro he wasn't re-released for any of the new sets. This is why he and Morro weren't given updated designs like most of the others, as the new designs were a product design choice.
- He has not appeared in a Ninjago: Legacy set because the parts that were created for him have since been retired. This is presumably also why he was not included in the "Day of the Departed" wave.
- Samukai's name is likely based on the word, "Samurai," and possibly "Kai" as well, hinting that he is the Fire general.
- His original name was "Grim" as a reference to the Grim Reaper. Fitting, as he used to be the ruler of the Underworld before Garmadon took over.
- Samukai is the only Skulkin that doesn't have a spinner or a Character Card. This was due to his unique minifigure design making the spinner less stable (a problem that would later prevent the Serpentine generals from appearing in spinner sets), or because his four arms would give players more options on weapon placement, making Samukai a potential game-breaker against other "normal" characters. However, he was featured on a spinner in an image from a LEGO Club Magazine (see image below).
- In the sets, Samukai's armor is black and his spine is white, yet in the pilot episodes, both have a brown coloration. This was later fixed in the mini-movie "An Underworldly Takeover," and later in "Wrong Place, Wrong Time," where all scenes he appeared in, even repeats, had his armor recolored to black and his spine to white. In "Day of the Departed," they're both black.
- His appearance and role in the series are reminiscent of General Grievous (from Star Wars). Notably, both Samukai and Grievous are four-armed generals who are predominantly white in coloration and who act as the second-in-command of the evil forces. In "Way of the Ninja," Samukai even used a similar technique to General Grievous, rapidly spinning his weapons in his hands to act as shields and saws. Both were also deceived by their "masters" as part of a larger plot and were unaware that they were mere pawns. However, Samukai differs from Grievous in rebelling against his master, and in being made aware of his master's intent to betray him before meeting his demise.
- The Ninjago website indicated that the skull on the table holding Clouse's Book of Spells was that of Samukai.
- Samukai is a playable character in LEGO Ninjago: Tournament.
- He was mentioned in Shadow of Ronin despite being one of the few characters, alongside Clouse, to not be playable.
- He was the first Ninjago character to have four arms. However, chronologically Kozu was the first character to have four arms.
- Samukai's LEGO.com description stated that his four arms made him a "mean tennis player". He was also stated to be somewhat sensitive about his deformity of four arms, often avoiding answering the reason for his additional limbs by claiming his refusal to have six arms and likewise finding it convenient that he no longer needed to find shirts that could accommodate his limbs upon becoming a Skulkin.
- There was most likely no King of the Underworld before Samukai arrived.
- It's possible that his four arms were a result of having added extra bones to his body. However, this would not explain how his spine seems to be naturally larger than the other Skulkins'.
- Samukai is the only Skulkin known to have died twice, first as a human and again as a Skulkin.
- Samukai claims to be a "fearsome master of the axe" in "Day of the Departed" even though he was never shown wielding an axe before the special.
- One of the members of The Fold wears a shirt picturing Samukai.
- Samukai's loincloth is incorrectly colored blue in his CGI image and in his appearance on a sticker in 40429 Ninjago World.
- Samukai may be Tommy Andreasen's least favorite villain because he's "one of the lighter ones" and "We hardly got to know him."
- According to Tommy Andreasen, Samukai's spirit in the Departed Realm would hardly appear human.
- In 2022, when Andreasen was asked whether Samukai could return, Andreasen stated that, "[w]hat I think at this point doesn't really matter. And I wouldn't share if there were plans."
In other media
- "Way of the Ninja"
- Way of the Departed Chapter 11
- "An Underworldly Takeover"
- "Day of the Departed"
- "Day of the Departed"
- "The Hands of Time"
- Tales from the Monastery of Spinjitzu
- Virtual Tour
- https://youtube.com/watch?v=aeywvIyBQwI (video unavailable)