Warner Bros.’ upcoming Mortal Kombat movie will feature various beloved characters from the video game franchise, but fans have been disappointed to see that one hero who goes way back to the original 1992 outing will not be included. We’re talking about Johnny Cage, the Hollywood superstar with the cocky personality who typically provides some comic relief.
Producer Todd Garner has now explained the filmmakers’ thinking behind leaving Cage out of the much-anticipated adaptation, though, and as you’d imagine, it’s partly to do with ensuring multiple sequels by not using all the franchise’s popular names at once. However, Garner also argued that it was right not to feature Cage in this first film as he wanted to keep the focus on MK‘s Asian characters rather than injecting a “white male lead” kind of figure into the plot.
“I want to make a sequel, and I’ve now got Johnny Cage, which hasn’t been used in the first one,” Garner said during a recent press event attended by ComicBook.com. “So I have a big stick and carrot that maybe they’ll let me have a Johnny Cage real presence in the second one. And secondarily, when you think about Mortal Kombat, if you just think about the patina of the movie, it has a very Asian feel to it. And I early on felt uncomfortable having a white male lead kind of lead that charge in the first movie. It just felt Hollywoodish to me, which is weird because he’s an actor, which also is weird. And probably my bias of… it just feels weird if I’m trying to do, and I was, do something different and diverse and true. Is it a cop-out to all of a sudden have Ryan Reynolds, not him, but… As the lead felt a little disingenuous to me and super easy to bring him in, in a big bombastic fun way in the second. And he deserves that as a character. And I love these characters, so we thought hard about it.”
Of course, Ryan Reynolds isn’t a bad suggestion for the part, though Garner may have just been pulling a name out of the air when he said that. Fans have previously pitched Chris Pratt as a possible contender to play Cage in the sequel and it’s easy to imagine either actor in the role, seeing as Cage is meant to be a parody of action movie stars and those two are bonafide Hollywood A-listers who also like to poke fun at themselves.
As for who will be in the movie, though, expect to see the likes of Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), Jax (Mehcad Brooks), Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) and Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada). Lewis Tan, meanwhile, is in the lead as new protagonist Cole Young, who’s sort of filling Cage’s role, and we’ve now got just less than a month until Mortal Kombat is released simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max from April 16th.