Mortal Kombat Writer Says Cole Young’s Inclusion Was Studio-Mandated

Mortal Kombat

The inclusion of Cole Young in the cast of Mortal Kombat has caused quite a stir among fans.

A brand new character created specifically for Simon McQuoid’s upcoming movie reboot, Young is played by British Chinese actor Lewis Tan and serves an important role as not only an extension of NetherRealm’s lore-dense IP, but an audience surrogate for film buffs who may not be familiar with the source material. The blank slate, so to speak, gave screenwriter Greg Russo the opportunity to introduce the franchise’s core themes and narrative through a vessel not overburdened with more than two decades of development. After all, had Liu Kang or Sonya Blade been repurposed as an exposition dispenser, the team would’ve run the risk of having established entities behave in uncharacteristic ways.

A smart approach to unraveling a universe that producer Todd Garner describes to Inverse as “goddamn complicated,” then, but a choice that Russo says wasn’t his to make.

Speaking to the site in a recent interview, he recalls how Young’s insertion was “something the studio wanted” and that the protagonist “was an idea loaded in” prior to his involvement. With that said, however, Russo says he was largely free to shape this addition to the existing ranks of Earthrealm’s finest warriors and made sure to have him “fit into the mythology in an organic way.”

While a final verdict on whether those aims have been achieved will have to wait until Mortal Kombat opens in theaters next week (it’ll also be available to stream on HBO Max), glimpses of this can already be seen in initial trailers. Cole’s mysterious dragon tattoo, for example, which is identical to that of the titular tournament’s logo, clearly holds some significance, but what? You’ll just have to wait until April 23rd to find out.

Satisfied with this small amendment to the all-star cast, or would you have preferred that Warner Bros. hadn’t meddled with the script? Sound off in the usual place below!