Lewis Tan’s Cole Young may have been the lead character of Mortal Kombat, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many fans that instantly fell in love with the studio-mandated protagonist. He’s more of a cipher than a fully-fledged human being, acting as the audience surrogate and tying all of the various plot threads together through the standard ‘chosen one initially turns their back on destiny before eventually embracing it’ arc.
Of course, almost everyone to appear in the movie is one-dimensional at best with the notable exceptions of Josh Lawson’s scene-stealing Kano and Joe Taslim’s quietly terrifying Sub-Zero, while Hiroyuki Sanada lends gravitas and grace to his brief handful of minutes as Scorpion, but audiences were hardly going into Mortal Kombat expecting richly drawn characters with well-rounded personalities.
We’ve now heard from our sources, though – the same ones who told us Captain America 4 was in development with Anthony Mackie before it was announced – that with the worldbuilding and introduction to the mythology out of the way, Cole Young will be shuffled to the sidelines somewhat so that the Mortal Kombat sequel can act as more of an ensemble piece
Of course, the first movie was nothing but setup for a tournament that didn’t happen, hammered home by the visual cue that the majority of the deceased bad guys are poised to return, and with a bigger canvas to play on, it would make sense to widen the focus away from a hero that doesn’t really add anything to the franchise in the grand scheme of things. Mortal Kombat has never been a one-man story, and Cole Young isn’t going to change any minds about that, so it would certainly be a natural progression for the screen time to be distributed evenly among the roster going forward.