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The Mortal Kombat movie reboot sounds a little different

It could feature a teenage Raiden and a brand-new ‘kombatant’

New Line Cinema
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Warner Bros.’ New Line studio has been trying to get a new Mortal Kombat movie off the ground for years now in the form of a reboot of the franchise. The latest effort has a director and a screenwriter attached, and based on some early details about the film, it will take some intriguing departures from the established Mortal Kombat story.

Pop culture site That Hashtag Show reported earlier this week that the Mortal Kombat reboot will feature an original character in the lead role: Cole Turner. He’s described as a “struggling and widowed boxer who cares more about his young daughter than anything” and said to be “incredibly determined” in the face of adversity.

The cast of characters includes the usual Mortal Kombat crew: Kano, Sonya, Raiden, Liu Kang, Shang Tsung. Also listed are some characters deeper in the Mortal Kombat lore, like Drahmin, Nitara and Reiko. Not included are series stalwarts like Sub-Zero, Scorpion and Johnny Cage. Somewhat surprisingly, the casting breakdown for Raiden indicates he’ll be portrayed as a 14-year-old boy named Jin.

Those alterations to Mortal Kombat lore and the addition of Cole Turner as a key character — he fights alongside Sonya and Jax, reportedly — drew confusion from fans of the fighting game series. But according to the movie’s producer and screenwriter, fans shouldn’t consider the cast of characters final.

“Nothing is happening with the movie at this time,” producer Todd Garner said on Twitter, “so all news is premature.”

Greg Russo, who penned the script for the new Mortal Kombat, said on Twitter, “This is NOT the full list of characters.” He explained that the casting breakdown was based on an older version of the script, and hinted that characters Sub-Zero and Scorpion will appear in the film.

“An insane amount of love & care has already gone into the project,” Russo added. “As [a] guy who used to rule the arcade machine (Kitana all day), it’s in VERY good hands. Hopefully we get to make it soon...”

As with many Hollywood projects, particularly adaptations of established properties, things are always in flux. The Mortal Kombat movie hinted at in The Hashtag Show’s casting breakdown will likely be considerably different from the final product, if it ever gets made. Based on what we can glean from the character descriptions, Russo’s take on the Mortal Kombat tournament appears to make a lot of sense for a broader audience. Through Cole Turner, we’d presumably get an outsider’s perspective on the bizarre, interdimensional martial arts tournament known as Mortal Kombat. And though a teenage Raiden may sound strange, given that Turner is the father to a teenage daughter, the Lord of Thunder disguising himself as a friend to get close to Cole makes a lot of sense.

It doesn’t sound like the Mortal Kombat movie is in active production — Russo said in June that the filmmakers are still waiting for the green light to make it — but James Wan (Furious 7, Aquaman) is producing and (as of late 2016) commercial director Simon McQuoid was attached to direct.

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