Mortal Kombat Co-Creator Reveals Why Johnny Cage Was Cut From The Sequels

Johnny Cage

Believe it or not, Warner Bros.’ upcoming live-action reboot isn’t the only Mortal Kombat product that Earthrealm warrior Johnny Cage has been cut from.

The character has been confirmed by the director of this year’s movie, Simon McQuoid, to be on the bench for reasons explained previously. The revelation left many fans disappointed that Cage, a member of the very first game’s roster, was omitted, but it’s a decision that series creators Ed Boon and John Tobias have had to make themselves on numerous occasions. In a string of fascinating posts over on Twitter, Tobias recalls how, back in the 90s, memory limits and popularity both played an integral role in who did (and didn’t) get picked to appear in each new release, with the pair’s desire to add as many newcomers as possible inevitably leading to already established participants in the tournament being held back.

In order to help them make those tough decisions, Boon installed an audit that would allow him to discern which characters were most frequently selected in coin-op arcade cabinets, with those rarely chosen naturally the first to go.

Alongside Raiden and Baraka, Tobias notes that Cage’s undesirability is what ultimately led to his MIA status in Mortal Kombat 3, which was explained away by an off-screen death at the hands of Shao Kahn’s four-legged servant, Motaro. This grisly ending would eventually be retconned, with the movie star subsequently returning in 1997’s fourth entry. The cocky martial artist has remained a mainstay of the franchise ever since, of course, and while he won’t be present on the big screen anytime soon, McQuoid says potential future sequels have a good chance of changing that.

Mortal Kombat arrives in theaters and on HBO Max next week, April 23rd.