So, we’ve finally scored a director for the next Mortal Kombat movie, which will be a re-start to contend with all the Marvel and DC movies filling our screens for the next five years. Mortal Kombat has a huge following, despite the gaming versions going slightly stale in the past decade. The mid-nineties movie was a strong representation of the game, but the follow-up tried to cram in every character ever created in the realm up until that point. As we’ve seen, dropping too many characters can cause problems, so with this new version, we want no more than 15 in the first installment. The following 15 will be our chosen ones.
Now, this list I’ve compiled can be debated. But please, rather than gloss over each nomination, read my rationale; I’ve been a fan since I played the game on the SNES, and nobody wants to see a successful MK entry more than me. The storyline can start off simple enough, by utilizing the tournament to draw in the Earth fighters. But rather than allowing the tournament to be the main story, add the infiltration of Shao Kahn and the ensuing war which can end in a struggle to leave the door open for a sequel. To draw the crowds unfamiliar with MK, you need actors who can make the character their own. Here we go, 15 actors who should be in the next Mortal Kombat installment:
15. Ryan Reynolds – Johnny Cage
This is almost too obvious; Ryan is a smart ass, he’s got the Cage looks, he can use the fighting style and he knows how to be a movie star. His turn as Deadpool proved all those traits, and he’s an attractive proposition to play one of the lead roles in our MK reboot. Cage isn’t just a wisecracking A-lister, but also a human white guy amongst monsters, babes, Chinese leads and brutality; he stands out, and his observations need to bring justice to that fact. Ryan has proven himself in comedy and in action, learning from mistakes in Green Lantern and a Wolverine title. The criticism hurt, so he’d give this everything; plus, as we know, Johnny Cage needs to sizzle alongside Sonya Blade, and the perfect Sonya is already available.
14. Margot Robbie – Sonya Blade
Don’t sigh; yes, she’s Harley Quinn, and you want another girl stealing this role, but Margot is the blonde bombshell with the moves that can make Sonya Blade a household name alongside Catwoman, Wonder Woman and Quinn herself. Margot and Ryan as the haters-turned-lovers works, and she’s feisty enough to stand alone against the horrors that the Mortal Kombat world offers. Robbie won’t want to be typecast as a crazy broad, which may make this role all the more appealing.
Sonya Blade is a character with many levels, as while she may come off as a hard-ass cop, she’s caring her people (Jax in particular) and continually seeks the safety of her world. Emma Watson is another who could fill this void, but Margot has the runs on the board and has more fight in her than any other actress under 30 in the world at the moment.
13. Jai Courtney – Kano
Yes, yes, another one from the struggling Suicide Squad, I know. But Kano and Jai share a similar build, that accent, that anger…it’s a great match. Jai isn’t always well received, but Kano is a pure bastard and that’s Jai’s best bet. You don’t need a brilliant actor for Kano, just a bald guy who throws a fair punch and consistently serves to piss off Sonya. Jai doesn’t work as the hero, as seen in Terminator, so there is no worry here as Kano has no redeeming qualities, but his role as an early antagonist to Sonya makes him important to the overall arc of the story. He’d likely be killed off before a sequel, especially when the true villains begin showing up, but Jai works well as expendable. Kano needs to be explored, and he can’t really be brought into future movies so at least with Jai, we have the perfect candidate.
12. Tom Hardy – Scorpion
Tom is one of the finest actors in Hollywood and was well deserving of his oscar nomination alongside DiCaprio in The Revenant. He’s played gangsters, he’s played Mad Max, and he’s played a villain with a mask; as Scorpion, it won’t be about his muscles, but about that distinct voice and his brutal fighting techniques. Put him in the suit, have him say ‘GET OVER HERE’, star him alongside Sub-Zero in a brilliant opening sequence and utilize the talents at disposal. Many may believe that the director could get away with using a lesser known actor for someone covered by ninja clothing and with little to say, but Scorpion is one of, if not the most iconic character in MK folklore. The old movie stuffed him up by assuming this could happen; it can’t be repeated. The battle of the clans is a story arc waiting to be put on the big screen and Hardy could lead that charge.
11. Olivia Wilde – Kitana
Oh, Kitana. The woman who lures in our hero, as well as being the daughter of the big bad wolf. Kitana is a huge member in the Mortal Kombat universe and can’t be underestimated. She doesn’t need to be made Asian, so let’s get this straight; adhering to race is a mistake. If you try to fit everyone into a demographic, you’ll please people who care little for the movie. Kitana’s traits are seductiveness, her bond with the main hero and the ability to draw viewers in. Secondary are her fighting scenes with sharp fan-blades, as she’s more about peace unless provoked.
As with most love stories, Hollywood would likely rush this and try to make it one of the main arcs, but that can’t work. Have Olivia look over the heroes and build the romance for the sequel. See Olivia in TRON: Legacy in what is a very similar role to what Kitana would demand.
10. Michael B Jordan – Jax
Jax, is a crime-fighting partner with Sonya and is another essential character in a reboot. Exploring the way in which he gets his bionic arms can be an enjoyable arc, and Michael B Jordan (fresh from his turn as Creed) is perfect for the role. He can punch…boy can he punch, and he’s at a great age to have Jax grow from cop to an intimidating force. There were claims made for Michael to receive an Oscar nomination, so he’s no slouch and is proven in action. Sure, he failed in Fantastic 4, but so did the whole film and franchise. MK needs an influx of up-and-comers alongside established stars, and Michael fits the bill. In the director’s seat, I’d add a level of care towards Sonya that borders on love, meaning a rivalry with Reynolds’ Cage. The wisecracking between these two over Margot Robbie would be priceless.
9. Benicio Del Toro – Raiden
If there was one actor we’d like to come back for a role, it’s probably Christopher Lambert as Raiden. But seeing as though that can’t happen, Benicio is the next best thing. This was the hardest one to decide on because Liam Neeson would love to add this alongside his resume of training Batman and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Del Toro is a veteran deserving of the role. Despite his career, it is arguable to say that Del Toro isn’t a household name for many. He has chosen roles over hype, which is respected, but Raiden must be played by a man who has been around forever, with a wealth of knowledge and enough fight to still be of value in a wide-scaling battle. Once again, ignore the expected race, for it only causes drama. For those who are still wanting Liam Neeson, remember that he trains everyone and it’s someone else’s turn.
8. Andy Serkis – Goro
Goro in the last franchise looked like a Kardashian, so we can’t have another one of those. Serkis is the master of these characters, proving so as Gollum, Cesar, and Kong, and wouldn’t put a fist wrong as the four armed General of armies. His movement in motion capture is better than anyone else on the market, and his research to perfect a character is worthy of an Oscar alone. Let him play with the voice, the fighting style, the fine details of his appearance, and watch the realism flow through. We can’t have another Doomsday destroying the film, for people just don’t connect to enormous CGI villains (I’m also looking at you, Suicide Squad). Goro has a level of dominant brutality that Shang Tsung lacks, and works as a way to introduce viewers to the supernatural aspects of the MK world. A scene of him leading his army through Earth, destroying everything in his path, would be a fantastic introduction to his character.
7. Michelle Pfeiffer – Sindel
Why Sindel, you ask? Because she’s the mother of Kitana and the main antagonist’s woman. There needs to be someone who works as an immoral compass to the females of the franchise, and Sindel is perfect especially if played by Pfeiffer. I can already see her with that wild hair and witch-like approach. Once Catwoman and the bride of Scarface, Michelle has the bile and anger to adapt to a role that is underestimated in the franchise. She doesn’t need to hang around for the sequel, but having Michelle lead Kitana to Earth and constantly trying to mold her in her image before Kitana eventually kills her own mother is an arc in itself. Perhaps more of a cameo, this works. Marvel lacks strong female characters in its movie universe; MK can’t make this mistake by relying on the sex sells format. If they could make effectively utilize Sindel’s character it could be one of the best elements.
6. Megan Fox – Sheeva
Yes, we know you don’t overly rate her, which is why she isn’t Kitana, who she has expressed interest in playing. Have Megan as a tall, four-breasted beast capable of attracting Goro and kicking ass and you may have a new memorable big screen character. Sheeva isn’t known for looks, but she needs to have an effect on Serkis’ Goro to make the General realistic rather than one-dimensional boss (cough, Doomsday, cough). Megan has featured in many iconic roles, and you can’t say she made Transformers or TMNT any worse than they would’ve been had she not taken part. If you desire the success and growth of this franchise, you need wise choices that grab more than the fans. Think of Megan in Jennifer’s Body; seductive yet a monster. Boom, that had everyone talking.
5. Jackie Chan – Shang Tsung
I’m sick of Chan playing the goofy good guy, and while Shang Tsung held up well as the main antagonist in the original film, he’s not enough to do the same again. For Shang Tsung, I see him as rather sneaky, especially with the ability to turn into anyone else on the roster. Have Shang, played by Jackie, as a man who works as a pawn for Shao Kahn yet has his own ambitions, and you have a complex character that nobody knows how to read. Jackie Chan can pull off the cheerful, but can he do the evil? Time will tell, but Shang remains an essential member of the original MK fighters. In a fight, he’ll adapt to the Mortal Kombat style with ease. This franchise needs veterans more so than people who merely LOOK identical to the character. Jackie in such a role is worth the risk.
4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Sub-Zero
He made his fame through Game of Thrones, and now he needs to attack the big screen. After a failed attempt, Nik could steal the show as Sub-Zero constantly up against Hardy’s Scorpion. Make him more than a ninja, have him regularly removing the mask and perhaps joining the Earth Realm fighters. And after his lengthy battle with Scorpion, realize they are worth protecting and fighting alongside. The old franchise really stuffed up the rivalry between Scorpion and Sub, as this is what gets most fans excited. Make them two great actors continually facing off with differing motives in victory. I really see Nik as one of the best choices on this list, because he’s proven as a smart ass yet someone who is so likable after performing horrible deeds.
3. Ben Affleck – Shao Kahn
He’s a respected actor now…never thought I’d see the day. Shao Kahn needs to be someone with incredible size, power, and intimidation, even when standing alongside the supernatural beings of the MK universe. Shave Ben down, place the skull helmet over his face and have him boom orders to his minions. Having only the jaw on show may seem too close to his Batman role, but I can think of few others with the sheer size and ability to annoy audiences. We’re getting to see him as an action hero of late, but it’s best to flip that around before he gets typecast. Other possibilities? Probably his Justice League friend Momoa, who is also capable as a villain (as seen in GoT) and boasts size. This is an important spot to fill because Kahn is the main antagonist in our opening MK film despite being surrounded by Shang Tsung, Goro and the cameo of the next character.
2. Mark Strong – Quan Chi
This would be a cameo but lead to the main story of the sequel. Quan Chi would appear at the end of the movie, potentially in a fight with Raiden or killing one of the main characters (who is rather disposable). Mark Strong has played a range of villains and is known for his rough and ready intimidation. Is it too much to have Kahn, Tsung, and Goro already playing key roles? Likely, but you could even move Quan Chi to a vital mid-credits scene. Many fans have called for this, and it is the only call I’ve truly listened to because it makes so much sense. Villains are so important in the set-up of a franchise; there has to constantly be another threat that truly challenges the heroes. Strong in this role adds something to MK that few others can bring, and he’ll be one choice that should earn universal acclaim.
1. Steven Yeun – Liu Kang
The biggest role of all goes to the man who became famous through his role as Glen on The Walking Dead. Now that this role is complete, Yeun will look to graduate onto the big screen. He’s been contemplated as Robin/Nightwing in the DC universe, but landing the starring role in the MK universe would be better not only for his career but for us as viewers and fans. Bulk him up, have the movie follow his growth from student to master, and let the rest develop from there. Alongside the likes of Affleck, he’ll look small; perfect. Paired with Chan in some scenes, and Del Toro in others will lead to great chemistry. And having him alongside other heroes Reynolds and Robbie and you have a great triple threat. Yeun has proven himself, especially in the past few seasons of The Walking Dead, so rest assured you can expect him to lead this franchise to the top.