One of the major talking points coming out of the Mortal Kombat reboot was the impending arrival of Johnny Cage, with the very last shot of the movie making it perfectly clear that the franchise’s resident Hollywood action hero is set for a significant role in the inevitable sequel.
Several names have already been making the rounds in regards to getting cast in the role, with Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon backing WWE wrestler The Miz, and Kano actor Josh Lawson nominating James Marsden. Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds leveraged the rumor mill to winning effect by creating a viral ad for his Mint Mobile service, but the door is wide open for anyone deemed handsome or charismatic enough to embody the character staking their claim.
It was a bold strategy to end the film on such a blatantly sequel-baiting note, but Mortal Kombat has already recouped its $55 million budget at the box office and drawn in more HBO Max viewers in its first three days than Godzilla vs. Kong managed in five, so it’s definitely a creative decision that’s paid off.
In a new interview, though, director Simon McQuoid revealed that the Citizen Cage poster wasn’t his first idea for teasing the fan favorite, but the Coronavirus pandemic wound up playing a part in the one-sheet being reduced to a simple visual cue right before the credits rolled.
“Johnny’s tease at the end, the button, it changed different ways. I remember there were different versions of it. That poster was something that the design team did, which I love. I picked Citizen Cage because I just thought that was hilarious. ‘Fight For Your Rights.’ So I picked that and put it in the script and then they designed an amazing poster. And then it had lived in other places, so it actually wasn’t the button for awhile, it was earlier in the story, like they were walking and you just see it in the background. And we felt like that just wasn’t enough, because you wanted to really hit on it.
I remember there was a version for the end where they actually went to the lot. So Cole and Sonya went to the studio lot. I forget what it even was, they pulled up, and they were going to the meeting. It was gonna be shot at Warner Brothers. But it just felt like, with the pandemic and everything, it got to a point where it was hard to do a lot of that. I love the way that it buttons and it’s simple. And yeah, hopefully, we can tell more of those stories.”
Very few blockbusters in recent memory have binged as hard on fan service as Mortal Kombat, so it’s not surprising that longtime aficionados called it the best video game adaptation ever made. The real challenge now, though, is to maintain interest over a multi-film series, because that’s definitely what we’re getting in the coming years.