IT HAS BEGUN!
Or it will. Mortal Kombat came out and did all right for itself. The reboot has its highs and its lows, but one thing I will say it does a better job at is setting up a sequel. The 1995 original had a decent enough cliffhanger with a kaiju-sized Shao Kahn popping in and everyone ready to just kick his ass, but at the time, there weren’t too many promising places to take the sequel.
The first movie was just so front-loaded that the second didn’t have enough to rope us in. That’s why it’s probably for the best that Johnny Cage is currently being treated purely as a sequel hook. He’s the carrot on the stick meant to keep us interested in keeping this franchise going.
Also there’s still a tournament. As someone who has seen every adaptation of Mortal Kombat (outside of the Live Tour, but once I get this time machine finished…), I can understand why they would want to try something new with the narrative. Treating everything as a big prelude to the sequel, which will actually do the tournament, is a fine enough option. Just as long as they deliver. Oh, and try to make the tournament make sense! Both the original and the Scorpion’s Revenge animated film just make up the rules as they go along. I want some goddamn brackets!
So here are some other things we’d like to see in the Mortal Kombat sequel.
A Johnny Cage Who Can Fight
Obviously. Johnny Cage is Warner Brothers’ chance to get a big name actor in there. Since he was so good in the animated movie, I thought about Joel McHale getting jacked up for the role, but he’d be in his 50s by then. I know WWE’s Miz is also campaigning for the role, but while that would be adorable, I simply want a Johnny Cage who not only has charisma, but can do some kind of martial arts.
Linden Ashby was able to pull it off, but the less our new Hollywood egomaniac has to be carried by editing and his opponents, the better. Really, just go with Scott Adkins.
Noob Saibot and Sub-Zero II
I know Cole Young isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the sequel can completely redeem his existence by using the second Sub-Zero as his rival and counterpart. In the games, the Sub-Zero/Scorpion stuff happened in the present day, so Kuai Liang was Bi-Han’s brother and took up the Sub-Zero mantle in-between the first two entries. He ended up being a more honorable warrior and became one of the series’ main heroes.
Considering the new movie’s version of Bi-Han is—for an unexplained reason—borderline immortal, his successor wouldn’t be his brother but likely his descendant. Weirdly, it would be a descendant that he would have coexisted with, but sure. Therefore you get a new Sub-Zero who is to the original what Cole Young is to Scorpion.
Shang Tsung hinted at bringing back some of his dead henchmen, so Bi-Han will likely return as the insidious Noob Saibot. On paper, that’s a tag team match of bloodline vs. bloodline. Except there’s some good drama in there if you have the new Sub-Zero stray from what the original wants him to do.
Kitana and Edenia
Probably one of the stranger choices in Mortal Kombat was to include Mileena as one of the flunkies and kill her off when there hasn’t been a single mention of Kitana. Having Mileena mean nothing is a mistake that both movie continuities have made.
We’re probably another movie away before Shao Kahn becomes a major player in this franchise. He might have as much a role in the sequel as Thanos does in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Kitana can show up though, both as his assassin and/or his betrayer, giving us a better idea of what he’s all about without actually having him appear.
Also, with Kung Lao gone, Liu Kang is in desperate need of connecting to someone. Giving him a Juliet to his Romeo would be welcome.
The Mortal Kombat series is known for so many cool and unique places for the characters to fight. So it was a little disappointing that the new movie featured such locations as a sand pit, the insides of a crappy house, and a frozen-over locker room. Even the use of the Pit meant nothing as nobody got knocked into the spikes.
Give us the Dead Pool or the Living Forest. Or that one stage with the portals in the background while the shadow priests float around. Anything from Mortal Kombat II. Get some of that rad Outworld real estate.
We’re Going to Need a New Heavy
Throwing Goro in for the sake of having Goro was a ballsy move for the movie, and probably a foolish one. Goro is more than just a brick house of an enemy to go through. He’s the heart and soul of the first Mortal Kombat game and its tournament. He stopped mattering after the fact, but in the storyline of the first game and first movie adaptation, he was the gigantic threat. He was the irresistible force that everyone was too afraid to talk about because he might hear you.
The 2021 movie proceeded to use Goro for the sake of scaring Cole into growing his mutant power shirt before Cole brutally murdered him. Sure, he can come back in the sequel, but what’s the point? He’s lost all of his mystique. He’s no longer the scary giant.
There are options for replacements. They could use Kintaro, although he’d be more of the same. Perhaps Motaro? Eh, centaurs are too cumbersome to work. They might have to bring in someone like Moloch or even Blaze in just to give us the necessary moment of, “Whoa, what the HELL is that?!”
Bring Back Kano
Just… bring him back. If Sub-Zero #1 is obviously returning as Noob Saibot, then there’s no reason why Shang Tsung or the Black Dragon, or Quan Chi, or Shinnok can’t just resurrect Kano and put a metal plate where his wound was. The biggest mistake of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was cheating us out of the best performances from the first movie. So please, Warner Bros., give us some more Josh Lawson.
A resurrected Kano would not only bring back the fantastic comic relief, but he’d be the ultimate wild card. Maybe he can find redemption? Maybe he’ll still be a total bastard and work for the villains. Maybe they could play up fellow Black Dragon member Jarek’s in-game storyline where he’s so freaked out by the threat of Shinnok (or whoever) that he knows that there is no monetary gain he can get out of the situation, and no reason to do anything but save his skin by helping save the world.
Or maybe Shang Tsung morphs into Kano and gets hit on the head so hard that he forgets how to turn back to normal and is stuck spending the rest of the movie as a wise-cracking Australian. I’m spit-balling here.