The first trailer for the Mortal Kombat reboot made it obvious that fan service is very high on the agenda, but it’s also a wise move on the creative team’s part to introduce a brand new character to act as the audience surrogate.
Lewis Tan’s Cole Young enters the mysterious world of the titular tournament with no knowledge of the interdimensional story behind it, with each exposition dump filling in both the protagonist and the viewers unaware of the labyrinthine mythology associated with the video game series.
We’ve all seen the ‘chosen one’ narrative play out hundreds of times before, and there’s no doubt going to be a hidden connection that ties Cole to the wider Mortal Kombat universe that extends much further than just a dragon-shaped birthmark that marks him out as a contender. After all, the synopsis tells us he’s a failed MMA fighter, which doesn’t sound like the credentials required to go toe to toe with the roster of favorites confirmed for the movie.
However, a new theory puts forward the idea that Cole has much more in common with Hiroyuki Sanada’s Scorpion than initially meets the eye, based on the brief shot seen in the trailer of the two staring opposite each other in what looks like a vision of some sort. As per the theory, the footage could point to Cole being Scorpion’s descendant and/or successor, based on the fact that Sub-Zero has been sent to kill him before he can even make it to Outworld.
As ScreenRant explains:
The brief shot in the trailer shows Scorpion appearing to Cole in a mirror, not only leaning into the symbolism tying Young to his possible ancestor – in that he literally “sees himself” in the vision – but also leaning into an indicator of familiarity. After all, Scorpion is not wearing a mask in the vision, which suggests he is not seeking to scare Cole or to kill him. This feels more like an appeal, and there is compelling logic to the idea that Scorpion is appearing to his bloodline, confirming the true mystery of Cole’s lineage. Not only was he chosen for the Mortal Kombat tournament, but he could be chosen as Scorpion’s means to continue his bloodline.
Going a little further, Scorpion’s backstory could reveal that he was one of the chosen Earthrealm champions for an earlier tournament and Sub-Zero’s human forebear was sent by Shang Tsung to kill him to try and ensure Outworld’s victory. If Cole is the heir to his bloodline and the next Scorpion, that would explain why he was born marked for combat in the tournament. And while he may not pull on the mask in Mortal Kombat, there could even be an exciting set-up at the end that establishes him as Scorpion’s replacement in possible sequels. That would certainly be a better pay-off than him being the new version of Johnny Cage.
This also ties into the long-running blood feud between Sub-Zero and Scorpion that could see Cole caught right in the middle, with Mortal Kombat potentially revealing him to be a descendant of the latter and the only one capable of stopping Joe Taslim’s frosty villain.