Mortal Kombat‘s roster of ninjas, special forces soldiers, movie stars, martial artists and interdimensional freaks have been tearing chunks out of each other for thirty years, becoming one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time. Recently, the series has been on a serious hot streak, causing a boom in popularity that’s culminated in a hotly anticipated movie that lands this week in theaters and on HBO Max.
It’s already out in international territories and so far, fans are loving it, with the general consensus being that it’s captured that precise mix of sincerity, cheesiness and outrageous gore that’s made the games’ story modes so fun to play through. But if Mortal Kombat is as big a hit as it should be, what’s next?
Well, we spoke to the film’s writer Greg Russo about what he couldn’t fit into the first movie and how he’d approach a sequel. He explained that to do the most famous characters justice, they need an appropriate amount of screen time, so it’s smart to keep at least some fighters in reserve.
“I love Kitana, I love Edenia, I love that whole realm and that whole storyline, and if you’re a fan you probably know it very well. But again, when you’re on movie one and you’re trying to tell people what Outworld is and what Earthrealm is, and you’re trying to introduce already a dozen characters, so it gets to a point where you just can’t fit everything in. And if I tried to jam stuff in it would actually be doing the characters a disservice, and I would rather save a character for hopefully a future installment and to do them the right way.”
And as for a specific plot line? Here’s what he said:
“There’s a lot of places we could explore. I mean, I would love to dig deeper into the Shaolin Monks, I would love to dig deeper into Special Forces, you know? There are characters that we set up in this, that we tease in this without getting into spoilers, that we have plans for. It’s just a matter of putting your ducks in a row, and by that I mean stories, right? I know where we can go, and then try and get that first one right. And if we can get that first one right then we get to have fun and bring in those other things that we just couldn’t fit in.”
As long as they don’t follow the pattern of the previous Mortal Kombat movies, they should be fine. After the surprisingly watchable 1995 live-action adaptation, we got 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which was universally panned by both critics and audiences for its terrible acting, embarrassing CGI and bargain basement costumes. Let’s just hope they don’t make the same mistake twice.
Mortal Kombat is coming to theaters and HBO Max on Friday, April 23rd. I’ve already set a night aside, got some popcorn to pop, and am more than ready to watch an ice-powered ninja tear a bunch of spines out. Bring it on.