WHY ARE SUB-ZERO AND SCORPION ENEMIES?
By Matthew Byrd
Two of Mortal Kombat's best characters are also two of the game's fiercest rivals. What's the story behind this legendary feud that spans the history of the franchise?
The Sub-Zero/Scorpion rivalry has real-life origins. Series co-creator John Tobias was reading a book about ninjas from China and wanted to base a character on it. That character became Sub-Zero.
In an attempt to address historical inaccuracy concerns surrounding the book, Tobias decided to create a character of Japanese origins. That character became Scorpion.
In the games, Sub-Zero and Scorpion are members of feuding clans. Sub-Zero (real name Bi-Han) belongs to the Lin Kuei clan and Scorpion (Hanzo Hasashi) is part of the Shirai Ryu clan.
The pair first battle after separately taking an assignment from the sorcerer Quan Chi. During this battle, Sub-Zero kills Scorpion with the help of his ice powers.
Scorpion is resurrected by Quan Chi after the sorcerer makes him believe that Sub-Zero killed his family. Aided by new supernatural abilities, Scorpion enters the Mortal Kombat tournament.
Scorpion kills Sub-Zero in the tournament seen in the first Mortal Kombat game. However, Bi-Han's brother, Kuai Liang, takes the Sub-Zero name and searches for his brother's killer.
Kuai Liang loses his first battle against Scorpion and is nearly killed by Quan Chi. However, Scorpion turns against Quan Chi when he learns the truth of the sorcerer's lies.
In a later timeline, Raiden tries to prevent Bi-Han's death. Though unsuccessful, Kuai Liang tells Scorpion how his family died and the two form an alliance against Quan Chi.
Now united, Scorpion and Sub-Zero work together to finally kill Quan Chi. In the process, Scorpion regains his humanity and solidifies his turn as a protector of humanity.
For the moment, Sub-Zero and Scorpion are friends. However, recent timeline crossovers suggest that it's possible the two could end up facing off down the road and are perhaps destined to do so.
The 2021 Mortal Kombat movie will revive the earliest days of the feud by pitting Bi-Han and Hanzo Hasashi against each other. What happens next remains to be seen…