MORTAL KOMBAT: Who’s who? (Round 4)

With the release of MORTAL KOMBAT” (2021) – now in theaters and on HBO Max, we figured what better way to prep than to do a deep dive into the rich mythology and ever-evolving backstories of this epic video game franchise? (Check out Rounds One, Two, and Three here!)

In 2011, the 9th game in the series, simply titled “Mortal Kombat” was a soft-reboot to the franchise, involving an alternate timeline created by Raiden to avert catastrophe. It’s sequel, “Mortal Kombat X” jumped ahead 20 years and introduced a whole new generation of fighters, while “Mortal Kombat 11” brought back some fan favorites from the franchise’s history with an epic time bending story.

ROUND FOUR

The modern MK trilogy: MK9, Mortal Kombat X, and MK11

SHINNOK

Affiliation: Netherrealm / Fallen Elder God
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997), Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)
Fighting Styles: All
Special Abilities: God of Death, dark magik, necromancy, shape-shifting, mimicry, deception, mind control, etc

Shinnok is a renegade Elder God of Death. He is the ruler of the Netherrealm, the son of Kronika and the brother of the Earth goddess, Cetrion. Throughout the series, he has often manipulated events from afar through his acolyte, Quan Chi. It was Shinnok’s deception that brought about the events of Shao Kahn’s attempted merger between Outworld and Earthrealm, in an attempt to weaken both.

As God of the Netherrealm, Shinnok can raise armies of the dead to fight for him and is strengthened by his loyal followers. Although his powers are practically immeasurable, they are tied to his amulet, which can also be used to entrap him. During the events of “Mortal Kombat X”, Shinnok resurrected several characters as revenants to fight for him, but was ultimately defeated by Raiden who claimed his amulet for himself.

Unfortunately, Shinnok’s amulet possessed and corrupted Raiden, which set the events of “Mortal Kombat 11” into motion…

NITARA

Affiliation: Outworld / Vaeternus (Moroi species)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)
Fighting Styles: Fu Jow Pai, Leopard
Special Abilities: vampire / bat wings

Nitara is a vampire from the realm of Vaeternus, who first appeared in “Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance”. Ever since her realm was conquered by Outworld, she’s been on a personal quest to reclaim it for her people. As a vampiress, she is forced to survive off the blood of the living, but chooses her victims carefully. Her species, the Moroi, have bat-like wings, fangs, and are vulnerable to Earth’s sunlight.

With the help of Reptile and Cyrax, Nitara was able to free her realm from the clutches of Shao Khan, but when her people were once again besieged, she sought out the Pyramid of Argus, where it was foretold one could obtain the power of a god.

BO’ RAI CHO

Affiliation: Earthrealm (originally from Outworld)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)
Fighting Styles: Drunken Boxing, Sumo Wrestling
Special Abilities: Can drink anyone under the table.

Believe it or not, this fat, drunk slob actually trained Liu Kang! A master of the drunken fist style of martial arts, Master Bo’ Rai Cho flops, pukes and farts his way to victory (seriously). While there is some charm to the eternally cheerful, drunk old fat guy that can still kick ass, he often comes across as just silly. Despite his appearance and seemingly nonchalant demeanor, those who underestimate him are often taught a harsh lesson.

Although he was born in Outworld, Bo’ Rai Cho refused to fight for Shao Kahn and instead opted to train the next generation of Earthrealm warriors to stand up to the Emperor’s rule. He first appeared in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance as a playable kharacter. He was also playable in Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, and as a DLC kharacter in Mortal Kombat X.

SKARLET

Affiliation: Outworld / Shao Kahn
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat (2011) – DLC Character
Fighting Styles: Blood Magik?
Special Abilities: Blood Magik.

Once an orphaned girl from Edenia, starving in the streets, she was taken under Shao Kahn’s wing, raised and trained as an apprentice in the dark arts of Blood Magik, and would become one of Outworld’s deadliest assassins and personal protector of the Emperor, replacing Kitana after her betrayal.

Skarlet has the ability to use one’s own blood against them, and can even go so far as to leech blood from her opponent and then wield it as any number of weaponized constructs, including a spear, scythe, and daggers! Skarlet started life as a fan-made rumor from the original games (like Ermac) that was eventually brought to life as a DLC character. She also has some of the most disturbing fatalities in the franchises history.

CASSIE CAGE

Affiliation: Earthrealm (Special Forces)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat X (2015)
Fighting Styles: Self defense, special forces training
Special Abilities: Drone attack, dual pistols

Take all of the badass-ness of Sonya Blade, add in the pure natural skill of Johnny Cage, and add in a ton of Cage brand attitude, and you get Cassie Cage: All-Around Badass. The daughter of Sonya and Johnny, Cassie was first introduced in Mortal Kombat X as one of the main protagonists of the story mode and was also heavily featured in MK11. A sergeant in the special forces, Cassie is fiercely loyal to her friends and family, but will do whatever needs to be done to get the job done. She was the one that defeated the elder god Shinnok (even in his full demon transformation, or whatever- that guy’s a dick) and has already, in a very short time, cemented herself as a fixture of the franchise.

JACQUI BRIGGS

Affiliation: Earthrealm (Special Forces)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat X (2015)
Fighting Styles: Kickboxing, special forces training
Special Abilities: Electronic gauntlets

Another legacy character, Jacqui Briggs is the daughter of one Jackson “Jax” Briggs, just without the horrible physical and emotional traumas (at least so far). Also introduced in MKX, she was a key figure in the defeat of Shinnok, and by MK11 has been promoted to sergeant in the Special Forces. She is romantically tied to Takeda Takahashi (the son of the blind swordsman Kenshi turned apprentice to Hanzo Hasashi aka Scorpion – see below), and it’s even revealed in intro dialogues that they are now engaged. Jacqui is very protective of her friends and is overly sensitive to anyone saying anything at all about her father.

D’VORAH

Affiliation: Outworld (Kytinn species)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat X (2015)
Fighting Styles: Kytinn
Special Abilities: Spider legs, insect wings, acid spray, fangs, venemous claws, regeneration, control over bug swarms, etc

God, just… she’s so gross! If you’ve got any kind of negative reaction to insects or things that in general would fall under the category (sorry, kategory) of ‘Kreepy Krawlies’ then you’ll absolutely hate D’vorah. A resident of Outworld (because of course), D’Vorah is a member of a race called the Kytinn, and they are freaking disgusting. They’re a species of colony insects that bond together to form a humanoid body. So, yeah, basically she’s a giant bug made up of thousands of other bugs. When her home was konquered by Emperor Shao Kahn she elected to serve rather than be a slave. She was actually an advisor of Shao Kahn’s successor (seen below), Kotal Kahn, until she betrayed him to Kronika. The survival and growth of the hive is the only thing that matters to D’Vorah.

That, and being repulsive, apparently.

KOTAL KAHN

Affiliation: Outworld Emperor (Osh-Tek species)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat X (2015)
Fighting Styles: Aztec warrior?
Special Abilities: superhuman strength, healing factor, powered by solar energy, telekinetic, Blood Magik, can transform into a jaguar, etc

First appearing in Mortal Kombat X, Kotal Kahn is the reigning emperor of Outworld after the defeat of Shao Kahn (he defeated Mileena in a civil war of sorts for the throne). Kotal, however, is not like Shao Kahn. He’s not interested in konquest, or konquering other realms, or wearing super metal monster skulls on his face. A former general of Shao Kahn, Kotal is romantically tied to Jade.

Want to hear something nuts? In canon (sorry, kanon) Kotal journeyed to Earthrealm a long time ago, and was worshipped as a god of war by the Mayans. They began consuming the blood of their enemies in emulation of him, but because they’re just puny mortal humans they started getting blood diseases and dying off by the boat load, which horrified Kotal so much that he bounced back to Outworld.

What the…?!

ERRON BLACK

Affiliation: Outworld (Mercenary from Earthrealm)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat X (2015)
Fighting Styles: Gunslinger
Special Abilities: Total Badass, revolvers

A 19th century outlaw from Texas, who was first hired by Shang Tsung in exchange for longevity, Erron Black has since become one of Outworld’s deadliest mercenaries. Not much else is known about him…

TAKEDA TAKAHASHI

Affiliation: Shirai Ryu (Earthrealm)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat X (2015)
Fighting Styles: Hapkido, Tai Chi, Pi Gua, San Shou, Moi Fah, Judo
Special Abilities: Psychic, teleportation, force field aura, and armed with high tech whips.

The estranged son of Kenshi, trained by Grandmaster Hasashi (Scorpion himself), and armed by Earth’s Special Forces, Takeda is a powerhouse. He is one of the last surviving members of the Shirai Ryu and considers the clan his family.

Takeda Takahashi joined forces with Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, and the archer, Kung Jin (Kung Lao’s nephew) to stop Shinnok. He later developed a relationship with Jacqui and the two are now engaged.

GERAS

Affiliation: Kronika
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
Fighting Styles: Unknown
Special Abilities: Resurrection, god-like strength and durability, made of stone, teleportation, elemental manipulation, and limited control over the sands of time.

Geras is Kronika’s personal muscle, imbued with a sliver of her time-bending powers and granted immortality, he’s definitely a formidable force. First introduced in MK11, Geras is an unstoppable wrecking ball. As he states himself, “I, Geras, am a fixed point in time. With every death and rebirth, I grow stronger.

Not only is he impossible to kill, he’s made of stone, can phase through objects, teleport, regenerate, and manipulate and shape sand, forging them into a variety of deadly weapons.

KRONIKA

Affiliation: Herself
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
Fighting Styles: Temporal Manipulation
Special Abilities: Titaness, Immortal, time reversal, teleportation, resurrection, defies gravity, can imbue those loyal to her with immense power, can shape the destiny of others, the ability to erase people from existence, can summon other fighters to defend her, etc

Not only is Kronika the final boss of “Mortal Kombat 11”, she’s probably the single most powerful character in the entire series. Kronika is the mother of Shinnok, the God of Death and Cetrion, the Goddess of Life. She’s a Titaness, meaning, she outranks the Elder Gods themselves! If that’s not enough, she’s also the Lord of Time itself and can therefore alter the timeline as she wills it, changing the destinies of those who oppose her with ease.

In fact, it’s revealed that she has done this dozens of times and in every alternate reality, Raiden is manipulated into killing the chosen one, Liu Kang. Upon learning this, Lord Raiden realizes what he must do to break the cycle once and for all: he relinquishes his godhood and embues Liu Kang with his own power, making him a Fire God, giving him the ability to challenge Kronika and put a stop to her chaotic machinations and restore the timeline once and for all!

Ultimately, Fire-God Liu Kang managed to defeat her and became the new Lord of Time in her place…

The Mortal Kombat games have come a long way in recent years!

Which characters do you hope to see in the next Mortal Kombat movie? Did you catch any of the references to any of these characters in the new one? Next time we’ll be doing a quick rundown of all the other lesser known characters that we missed in our breakdown. “Mortal Kombat” (2021) is in theaters and now streaming on HBO Max.

To be koncluded…

Written by Erik Slader and Chris Carroll – check out more of their work on ComicZombie.net and on the latest season of Podcasters Assemble: Mortal Podkast!

Erik Slader

Erik Slader

Erik Slader is an author, podcaster, and full-time nerd. He’s the co-author of the “Epic Fails” book series (The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving Into History, The Age of Exploration: Totally Getting Lost, etc) and the creator of Epik Fails of History, a podcast and blog about the most epic fails… of history. He’s also a co-host on 2 Young 4 This Trek: A Star Trek Podcast, and an editor / frequent contributor on Podcasters Assemble – where this season they’re counting down to “Godzilla vs Kong”!

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