Warner Bros.'s cinematic reboot of the Mortal Kombat franchise has finally premiered on HBO Max and theaters worldwide.
The highly anticipated R-rated fantasy film received mixed critical reception. However, the film has been generally well-received by gamers and longtime fans. Although only time can tell if the numbers add up enough in the eyes of Warner Bros. to warrant a sequel, the consensus seems to be that Mortal Kombat is just the first of many.
Joe Taslim, the actor who portrayed Bi-Han, otherwise known as Sub-Zero, has reportedly already signed up to reprise the role up to four more Mortal Kombat movies, which suggests that the possibility of a Mortal Kombat sequel is why.
With that said, while the Mortal Kombat cinematic reboot is already looking like it will become even more beloved than 1995's original cult classic, there are some things that it could still improve on, things that we wish would make it to the sequel.
Scroll down below to know more about our Mortal Kombat movie sequel wishlist.
Does the Story Allow for a Mortal Kombat Movie Sequel?
Surprisingly enough, Mortal Kombat didn't go the mid-credits or post-credits scene route. Instead, the film went about teasing the sequel near the end. Basically, what happens is that Cole Young, the original character for Mortal Kombat and the protagonist, has successfully defeated Sub-Zero, who is billed as one of the main antagonists of the film, with the help of his ancestor, Hanzo Hasashi, who has since become Scorpion after spending hundreds of years in the bowels of hell.
With evil sorcerer Shang Tsung now in full retreat after his defeat, the Thunder God, Lord Raiden tells Young and the rest of Earthrealm's champions that they'll need to prepare for his eventual return, where he promises to come back with an army. Because of this, Young goes on to talk about how he'll have to go to Hollywood near the end of the film to go and look for someone.
Just the mere fact that the Mortal Kombat film mentioned Hollywood is enough to get any Mortal Kombat fan excited. To further cement who exactly Young is going after in Los Angeles, the film pans to a poster on the wall with a familiar name, Johnny Cage.
For those that don't know, the obnoxious Johnny Cage is one of the most iconic characters in the Mortal Kombat franchise. He was created as a spoof of Jean-Claude Van Damme, going as far as to recreate the real-life Hollywood action star's popular split as one of his moves in the game.
Seeing as Young's journey to Hollywood is all but set in stone, a Mortal Kombat sequel would open with the Earthrealm champions recruiting Cage. Or, for that matter, anyone who has a dragon mark. Of course, seeing as to how Kano, Mortal Kombat's mercenary and comedic relief, isn't exactly a good guy, we all know by now that not all who have the dragon mark prefer to align themselves with the Earth's best interests in mind.
From there, the possibilities of where the Mortal Kombat sequel could go are endless.
For one, we could see Shao Kahn appear. We've already seen a statue appear of him in one of the fights in Mortal Kombat. Other fighters that could make an appearance in a Mortal Kombat sequel include Shinnok and Kitana. Both the former's amulet and the latter's blade fan can be seen at Raiden's Temple in the Mortal Kombat film.
How Successful Does Mortal Kombat Have to Be to Get a Sequel?
Under normal circumstances, all the Mortal Kombat film should have to do is to make a profit at the box office. Then again, that's much easier said than done. The film reportedly cost $95 million to produce. This is still not factoring in the extensive marketing budget to spread the word of the film inside the United States and internationally.
For Mortal Kombat to be considered a success, it will need to recoup more than just the production and marketing costs. It wouldn't be a surprise if this figure ended up somewhere between $200 million. Of course, box office numbers are no longer the only indicator of the success of films these days. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced films to look for other feasible avenues to make money, which, in Mortal Kombat's case, is HBO Max.
Going back to the numbers, 2021's Mortal Kombat, unfortunately, found itself contending for audiences with another fan favorite in Funimation/Aniplex's Demon Slayer - Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train. But, after going back and forth for most of Mortal Kombat's opening weekend, the R-18 film eventually won. Mortal Kombat reportedly made $22.5 million during its opening weekend. Interestingly enough, this is actually close to how much Midway's original film adaptation made in 1995 at $23.2 million, which later led to a less-successful sequel.
As we've already mentioned though, studios are no longer looking at box office numbers alone to gauge the success of a film. Although Warner Bros.'s decision to release all of its movies for 2021 via HBO Max was met with a lot of criticism, it could very well be what decides the future of the Mortal Kombat film.
So far, Warner Bros. has had a lot of success with their HBO Max premieres. 2020's Wonder Woman 1984 became the year's most-watched movie on a streaming platform. Despite the movie's lack of success in the box office after making just $166.3 million on a $200 million budget, a Wonder Woman 3 film was still announced just a week after it premiered on the streaming service and the theaters. On the other hand, Godzilla vs Kong was a lot more successful. The monster movie brawl became the biggest-ever movie launch on HBO Max and made $390.9 million against a $200 million budget.
It was already public knowledge before Mortal Kombat released that there was a huge demand for it after the official trailer became one of the most-watched R-rated teasers in history. If the Mortal Kombat movie can even approach the box office and viewership numbers of Wonder Woman 1984, then it's all but certain that Warner Bros. would greenlight a sequel.
What We Want from a Mortal Kombat Sequel
An Actual Tournament
The upcoming tenth tournament that would have decided the fate of Earthrealm never pushed through. Instead, what audiences got in 2021's Mortal Kombat was more of a twist to the original tournament format. Luckily, there was still plenty of gore and blood with fatalities and classic stages, so the film gets a pass for that.
Unfortunately, we highly doubt fans would appreciate the sequel not having an actual tournament.
We know now that Shang Tsung can no longer simply delay the tenth tournament by killing off Earthrealm's champions. This suggests that the tenth tournament will finally happen. In that case, the tournament will play a central role in the Mortal Kombat movie sequel.
Raise a hand if you thought that Hiroyuki Sanada nailed it with his portrayal of Hanzo Hasashi. Now, raise another hand if you thought that the film could have done a better job of giving audiences more of Scorpion.
The iconic Mortal Kombat character has been one of the most popular fighters in the franchise, so it stood to reason that he would play a central role in the film. As a matter of fact, it is his lineage that ultimately stops Shang Tsung in his tracks and forces him to reconsider his plans. The film's main protagonist, Cole Young, is a direct descendant of the Hasashi bloodline.
Thankfully, that awesome fight sequence at the end of the movie was most likely not the last that we've seen of Scorpion. Screenwriter Greg Russo has already confirmed in an interview with Polygon that future films will bring back Sub-Zero as Noob Saibot. No doubt, this would delight longtime fans of Mortal Kombat. Bi-han has served as the antagonistic Noob Saibot since the fighter first appeared as a secret character in 1992's Mortal Kombat II.
If Noob Saibot returns, then it stands to reason that Bi-han's younger brother, Kuai Liang, will take on the role of Sub-Zero following his death.
With the Mortal Kombat sequel hinting at the possibility of at least two Lin Kuei ninjas making an appearance, Scorpion's return is all but a sure thing at this point.
2021's Mortal Kombat movie had a run time of 110 minutes, which is fairly standard. However, if we're being honest, it was difficult to have any attachment to Earthrealm's champions. Kung Lao's death was tragic. It' just that it failed to carry the weight that it needed. Liu Kang's despair and motivation would have done better had the film taken the time to introduce non-fans as to who the two were and the roles that they played.
It's also worth noting that both Liu Kang and Kung Lao are the main protagonists of the Mortal Kombat games. However, in the Mortal Kombat film, they're treated as less than side characters, which is a huge waste.
Now, we're all for the sequel including more characters. It's just that we would love to see a longer run time.
Zack Snyder's Justice League and Marvel's Avengers: Endgame runtime proves that there is a demand for films that run longer than 2 hours. Although this isn't to say that the Mortal Kombat franchise is as beloved as DC and Marvel's superhero movies, it wouldn't hurt the Mortal Kombat movie sequel to take a bit more time to introduce the guys that audiences are supposed to root for and root against.