Mortal Kombat Movie Gets 2021 Release Date

According to reports from Deadline, Warner Bros. announced that the new Mortal Kombat movie will be released on March 5, 2021. As of right now, this will go directly head-to-head with Sony and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe which was recently pushed back to this date as well.

The film is still slated to be produced by James Wan and will be directed by newcomer Simon McQuoid – a veteran and acclaimed commercial director for various companies such as Playstation, Duracell, and Nissan.

The film has started pre-production in South Australia, with no further details on cast or plot. Time will tell if the March 5th, 2021 date holds firm, but it’s a very positive sign to see James Wan and Warner Bros. still moving forward with a new Mortal Kombat movie.

James Wan

adamDMK’s Thoughts: A quick op-ed piece from yours truly. I’m super excited to finally see some concrete news on the next Mortal Kombat movie. The media aspects of Mortal Kombat, which marries the deep lore and history from the video games to the exciting characters and martial arts action is one of my favorite things about this franchise.

James Wan is a super-talented filmmaker, and I feel he can get his vision across properly. Also, curious to see what Simon McQuoid can offer. Looking through his resume of the commercials he’s filmed, some of them iconic even, I feel the movie is in very good hands. However, as we’ve recently seen with season 8 of GoT, your film can be stylistically and visually amazing, but if the plot is contrived, nonsensical, and cheesy – it won’t matter how great the film looks. James Wan has expressed a desire to do things right – so here’s hoping the previous plot “leaks” were just fan created and we get a proper adaptation of the Mortal Kombat story.

I’m a bit skeptical though – and given how the timelines and storyline in the Mortal Kombat video games are a bit “all over the place” if you will, Warner Bros. might play it safe and combine recent storylines and give in to fan service – which may or may not work well. Keeping in mind Warner Bros. recent track record of handling the Justice League and Suicide Squad franchises in particular, I’m very cautious to see how things will play out. I’m hoping my skepticism turns into a sigh of relief and we get a fun, popcorn movie with all of our favorite Kombatants and a coherent story.

Last thing I’ll say, I still feel strongly that a movie is not the proper medium for Mortal Kombat. Come @ me bro! Telling a story this complex with all of the lore in less than 120 minutes does not do the franchise justice, and we end up with a contrived mess. It CAN be done right, as we’ve seen Threshold and Paul W.S. Anderson having the right idea in 1995 – streamlining the plot and action sequences. It wasn’t rocket science then though either – good guys versus bad guys, fighting in an ancient martial arts tournament to determine the fate of the world. Couple that with awesome fight scenes and (at the time) groundbreaking visuals – and cast it correctly with decent actors, you have the recipe for a fun summer popcorn flick.

With the above being said, the lore and history of Mortal Kombat has grown exceptionally large since the 1995 film, so simplifying the story probably wouldn’t sit right with the current younger generation of fans, who’ve grown up on MK9, MKX, and MK11’s rich stories. I feel these fans will influence Warner Bros. much more than the “weathered” fans who’ve been with the franchise since the early 90s.

What exactly am I getting at? The 2010’s have shown that serial television shows are extremely popular and profitable. With the proper showrunners, some of these become masterpieces even. We’re truly in the golden age of serial television. Mortal Kombat absolutely needs to be a serial show.

I think Kevin Tancharoen had the right idea with Mortal Kombat: Legacy. I just think he was handcuffed by a lower budget and time restraints, but he was able to get the true spirit of Mortal Kombat and a lot of the lore and history down pat in basically 190 minutes of content. He mostly hit on a lot of his casting choices (namely in Season 2) as well. However, imagine 8-10 hours of content per season? With a budget much larger than Legacy’s? See where I’m getting at here?

I think Warner Bros. is missing something here. Why not have a Mortal Kombat serialized show be the crown jewel of their new WarnerMedia streaming service? Or if they were going for a more mature audience – throw it on HBO, one of their subsidiaries. I feel HBO might be a bit more of an adamDMK fantasy, but it’s still a viable option for Warner Bros. Unless it was a complete flop and utter failure, I feel a serialized show would be a more realistic long term money maker and revenue stream since movie adaptations of video games are still so hit or miss. I mean think of all the successful recent serialized shows and how they work so well as shows with hours of content as opposed to 100-minute movies. Cobra Kai? Mr. Robot? Stranger Things even?

This would also help not having to go all in on the movie – as the budget for a movie demands immediate returns to be profitable. With a serialized show, the first season can have a “lower budget” in relative terms, with a more focused plot and cast. Say the first season is just establishing your key characters, giving context to their backstories, and have it be based on the first Mortal Kombat game (or first part of MK9). If successful, the scope of show can increase over the next few seasons and additional characters, worlds, and plot threads can be introduced.

I completely understand this is just me talking out of my butt here, but like I said I have felt strongly about a Mortal Kombat serialized show for awhile now. Either way, cheers to James Wan and company putting together something fun for all of us varying Mortal Kombat fans.

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath’s Story Goes Pretty Much As Expected

One of these guys was voted “Most likely to betray everyone” in high school.
One of these guys was voted “Most likely to betray everyone” in high school.
Screenshot: Netherrealm Studios (Kotaku)

The new single-player story content in Mortal Kombat 11’s Aftermath expansion stars the treacherous sorcerer Shang Tsung. Having that backstabby, soul-stealing bastard front-and-center is a good sign that betrayal is going down at some point. It’s just a matter of when and how much.

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Eventually and bunches.

Out today for PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is a paid expansion that continues the single-player story from the initial release and adds a trio of new playable characters. Japanese wind god Fujin returns to the series, as does the four-armed Queen Sheeva, both playing key roles in the new story chapters. The third new character, Robert “Robocop” Cop, is a new guest character who sadly does not appear in the story. Along with the paid update, Netherrealm Studios also released a free update for all players that adds new items and equipment, brings back classic stage fatalities, and gives characters the means to end a fight on a positive note with warm-hearted Friendship fatalities.

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Illustration for article titled iMortal Kombat 11:/i iAftermath/i’s Story Goes Pretty Much As Expected
Screenshot: Netherrealm Studios

As a solo player who’d rather not compete online, I’m all about the new story expansion. Called “Part 2: Aftermath,” it picks up where the first part of the story left off. To set that up, we’re going to need to spoil a few things.

Illustration for article titled iMortal Kombat 11:/i iAftermath/i’s Story Goes Pretty Much As Expected

Mortal Kombat 11’s big boss is Kronika, the keeper of time, who seeks to use her vast power to erase the influence of thunder god Raiden from the timeline. In Klassic Towers mode any character can defeat Kronika and rewrite history as they see fit. In the story mode ending, which is Mortal Kombat canon, Raiden grants his power to Liu Kang, transforming him into the god of lightning and thunder. Fire god Liu Kang defeats Kronika and prepares to use her power to completely reshape history.

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The new chapter picks up where the old one left off, but as Liu Kang starts reshaping, a portal appears, spitting out wind god Fujin, spiritual warrior Nightwolf, and good old Shang Tsung. The trio, who were trapped by Kronika and freed upon her defeat, warn that Liu Kang cannot reshape history without Kronika’s Crown of Souls, which was destroyed during their final battle. If he tries without the crown, time will be destroyed forever. Fortunately, Shang Tsung has a plan.

Mr. Tsung offers to go back in time to steal Kronika’s crown from his own palace, at which point he’ll totally give it to the good guys and let them win. Nothing can go wrong with his plan.

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A few things go wrong with his plan. First off, Liu Kang doesn’t send the trio far back enough in time. Shang Tsung, Fujin, and Nightwolf appear in the middle of one of the original story’s huge set pieces, sneaking through the background of events that have already taken place. It’s very Back to the Future. Or Back to the Future II.

Love that cigar fake.
Gif: Netherrealm Studios (Kotaku)

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Due to Shang Tsung and friends’ meddling, events that occurred in the original story chapters begin to unfold differently. Alliances made in part one crumble apart in part two, leading to a very different version of the final confrontation. Players on both sides of the battle between good and evil get betrayed all to hell.

I don’t want to spoil too much about this entertaining little rewrite of recent Mortal Kombat history. It’s nice to see characters introduced as part of the game’s battle pass downloadable content—Sindel, Shang Tsung, and Nightwolf—getting to participate in the narrative. The story is as predictable as Shang Tsung’s relentless pursuit of personal power at any cost, but it’s still a fun ride.

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Such a sweet couple.
Such a sweet couple.
Screenshot: Netherrealm Studios (Kotaku)

The entire thing only lasts two and a half hours, depending on how good players are with Fujin, Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, and a handful of other characters. It’s the same formula as before. There are five chapters, numbered 13 through 17, each revolving around a character or pair of characters. The story plays out in lengthy cutscenes interspersed with standard Mortal Kombat 11 battles. During some chapters and at certain key moments the player can choose which character to play as. Once the story is over, completionists can use chapter select to go back and play with different choices.

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Heads roll, characters live, and characters die. When the grand prize in the tournament, as it were, is the ability to completely rewrite history, all sorts of gory stuff can happen with ultimately no consequence whatsoever. Mortal Kombat 11 was always going to be the end of the series’ current fiction and the beginning of something new. Aftermath just gives players a couple more hours of betrayal-packed drama to enjoy as we wait for the next reboot.

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Mileena Joins Mortal Kombat 11, Still Isn’t Playable

Gif: NetherRealm Studios

Mortal Kombat 11 features an extensive cast of classic and modern characters, but fan favorite Mileena remains a glaring exception. And while she’s finally set to make a brief appearance in the upcoming Aftermath expansion, something tells me her vocal fanbase won’t be satisfied with this small concession.

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In addition to expanding the Mortal Kombat 11 story and introducing even more playable characters, Aftermath marks the return of the series’ “Friendships,” match-ending celebrations similar to Fatalities but with balloons and hugs instead of blood and guts. Mileena will finally make her Mortal Kombat 11 debut thanks to these finishers, resigned to playing “patty cake” with her sister Kitana despite being a major antagonist in Mortal Kombat X.

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This is truly some monkey’s paw shit from developer NetherRealm Studios. “You asked for Mileena to be in the game,” I can imagine Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon cackling. “You didn’t specify as a playable character!” She’s even wearing her classic Mortal Kombat II outfit, without any of the added bells and whistles from her subsequent appearances. As a stan for the half-Tarkatan queen myself, I can’t help but see this as a subtle dig at Mileena fans being stuck in the past. You wound me, NetherRealm.

Friendships are meant to add some much-needed levity to what is often a very violent part of the game. Sure, it’s weird that Mileena isn’t in the game along with the rest of her family, but it’s always fun when developers take a chance to mess with the fanbase a little bit. And hey, now that a Mileena model exists in Mortal Kombat 11, it won’t be long until modders do their thing and make her playable themselves.

Mortal Kombat 11’s Story Mode Kontinues On May 26, With RoboCop

Featuring the voice of Peter Weller, thank goodness.
Gif: Netherrealm Studios (Kotaku)

Great news for fans of Mortal Kombat 11‘s single-player narrative this morning, as Netherrealm Studios revealed Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, an all-new $40 expansion the continues the game’s story and adds new fighters, including returning favorites Fujin and Sheeva and a certain half-man, half-machine, all cop.

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As Liu Kang prepares to reshape history as his reward for defeating Kronika in Mortal Kombat 11‘s story mode, the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung appears with some familiar faces at his side. It turns out Liu Kang can’t fix history without Kronika’s crown, destroyed during their battle. The only way to retrieve it is to send Shang Tsung back in time. Are we really going to trust this dude? Does it help that RoboCop is coming with?

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath will be available on all digital platforms May 26. All players will gain access to a free update with new arenas (including the return of Dead Pool and Soul Chamber), stage fatalities, and friendships.

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Awwwwww
Gif: Netherrealm Studios (Kotaku)

Awwww.

The Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath expansion costs $40, or $50 bundled with the Kombat Pass DLC. Players who don’t own Mortal Kombat 11 can purchase the Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Kollection, which includes the original game, the expansion, and all DLC, for $60.

The New Animated Mortal Kombat Movie Is Just As Brutal As The Games

Shit is about to get gross.
Shit is about to get gross.
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation (Kotaku)

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, the new film from Warner Bros. Animation, begins with dozens of ninja being torn limb from limb. Hanzo “Scorpion” Hasashi’s young son is viciously slayed while the titular ninja helplessly watches. Fans of the fighting game’s over-the-top violence will be… pleased?

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This might get a little gross, folks.

The first animated Mortal Kombat project since the laughable 1996 cartoon Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm is definitely not for kids. Scorpion’s Revenge, released last week digitally and coming to DVD and Blu-ray April 28, is a retelling of the tournament between Earthrealm and Outworld from the original game, using Scorpion’s tragic origin story as a framing device.

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It’s a tale as old as time. Shirai Ryu Grandmaster Hanzo Hasashi is a good husband and caring father whose entire clan is wiped out by the Lin Kuei, a rival clan led by notoriously blue ninja Sub-Zero. In order to maximize sympathy for Hanzo, this particular retelling begins with a touching scene between father and son, in which he tells young Satoshi how cool scorpions are.

Foreshadow much?
Foreshadow much?
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation (Kotaku)

The pair return from their outing to a village full of fresh corpses and rampaging blue ninja. Hanzo, his son perched on his back, rips and tears his way through the invading Lin Kuei to reach his home, but he’s too late. Young Satoshi discovers his mother’s bloody corpse and Hanzo goes into a berserker rage.

Holy shit.
Gif: Warner Bros. Animation (Kotaku)

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This first major battle sets the tone for the fighting in Mortal Kombat Legends. Limbs fly, faces are stabbed and sliced, innards become outtards. It’s frantic and energetic like the sort of adult animation shorts MTV used to air in the ’90s. Despite the fast action, the battle choreography is easy to follow. It’s beautiful, in a horribly violent sort of way.

The only time the action falters is during x-ray shots. In a nod to the mechanic that’s become a hallmark of the fighting game series, the action pauses now and then for some slow-motion eye-popping and bone-breaking. These made me giggle every time. They’re just so silly.

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As impressive as it is, Hanzo’s decimation of the Lin Kuei forces is all for naught. Rival clan leader Sub-Zero forces Hanzo to surrender by threatening Satoshi’s life. Hanzo submits, and Sub-Zero kills them both anyway.

Dude.
Dude.
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation

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Somehow Hanzo winds up in a fiery corner of Outworld, scheduled for an eternity of torment at the hands of Shinnok’s demonic minions. He breaks free, because he’s the main character, and slaughters his way to Shinnok’s henchman Quan Chi. The sorcerer convinces the resurrected ninja to fight for Outworld in the Mortal Kombat tournament in order to exact his revenge on Sub-Zero. But Hanzo Hasashi is dead. Call him Scorpion.

From this point, Scorpion’s Revenge is pretty much the original Mortal Kombat with a few twists. Raiden recruits his champion, Liu Kang, down-and-out action hero Johnny Cage, and commando Sonya Blade to serve as Earthrealm’s champions. In a fun twist, Sonya’s introduction involves her straight-up murdering a man in a street fighting match in China. I suppose it’s possible he survives, but look at this guy’s face.

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Illustration for article titled The New Animated iMortal Kombat/i Movie Is Just As Brutal As The Games
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation

Once the big three are introduced, Scorpion’s Revenge loses some steam. In attempting to cover familiar beats from the game, it becomes the Johnny Cage, Sonya, and Liu Kang show with special guest star Scorpion. Events from the game’s lore, like Liu Kang winning over Outworld princess Kitana and Cage and Blade’s budding love/hate but eventually all love relationship, are rushed through to get to similarly rushed Scorpion bits.

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The main characters of a movie called “Scorpion’s Revenge”
The main characters of a movie called “Scorpion’s Revenge”
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation (Kotaku)

The movie’s story might be hurried, Scorpion’s Revenge always has time for fighting and gory violence. We see limbs torn from bodies, skulls yanked from heads leaving behind flapping face skin, shattering teeth, crackling bones, and muscles slowly being stretched apart. It’s not just villains doing the slaughtering, either. At one point, the heroic Liu Kang, battling a gaggle of Black Dragon mercenaries, decapitates one and uses his severed head as a weapon.

In other words, it’s Mortal Kombat. It’s the brutality that fans of the series sign up for every time a new game comes out in a convenient two-hour animated form. I expected a light story draped over a lot of egregious violence, and Scorpion’s Revenge delivered.

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Grody to the max.
Grody to the max.
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation

Hooray, but also ew.

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Spawn Is The Best Mortal Kombat Action Figure

They are best friends.
They are best friends.
Photo: Mike Fahey

McFarlane Toys makes Mortal Kombat action figures. Spawn, the comic book character created by McFarlane Toys founder Todd McFarlane, is a fighter in Mortal Kombat 11. So now there’s a Mortal Kombat-branded Spawn action figure. He’s adorable.

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To be fair, I’ve not gotten a chance to play with the other two $20 figures in McFarlane’s Mortal Kombat line, Johnny Cage and Raiden, but I have faith that the company behind Spawn can make a damn fine Spawn action figure. They’ve been doing it for ages now. I’m just tickled that a toy of Spawn from the makers of Spawn is showing up in a non-Spawn toy line.

Mint in box, for now.
Mint in box, for now.
Photo: Mike Fahey

I’ve been collecting Spawn figures since 1994, when the figures weren’t as complex and every now and then one would be painted gold to piss off collectors. There’s something about Spawn’s design that’s so appealing to me as a toy collector. He’s black, white, and red all over. He’s got that awesome living cape. One of his boots is ginormous for no reason whatsoever. He’s the ’90s in action figure form.

Seriously, this boot.
Seriously, this boot.
Photo: Mike Fahey

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This particular version of Spawn is ready to throw down with Mortal Kombat 11’s roster of murderous brawlers, with 20 points of articulation for plenty of posing potential. With the aid of the simple included stand, he can do so many things. He can dance.

Get down on it.
Get down on it.
Photo: Mike Fahey

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He can hug a transforming shark robot.

Illustration for article titled Spawn Is The Best iMortal Kombat/i Action Figure
Photo: Mike Fahey

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Should that shark robot transform into a robot, Spawn has the ability to kick him right in his stupid robot face.

Take that!
Take that!
Photo: Mike Fahey

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What I’m saying is the Mortal Kombat Spawn figure is very accommodating of the whims of a stir-crazy toy lover. Ice cream truck?

Ice cream truck.
Ice cream truck.
Photo: Mike Fahey

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Ice cream truck.

Mortal Kombat tie-in aside, this is a very nice, basic Spawn figure. He’s not Commando Spawn or Nurse Spawn or Telephone Repairman Spawn. He’s just plain Spawn, and a fine one at that. He’s in stores now, looking all ink-washed and grimdark.

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Who could say no to that face?
Who could say no to that face?
Photo: Mike Fahey

Also, he can do this.

And McFarlne never sent me a toy again.
And McFarlne never sent me a toy again.
Photo: Mike Fahey

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