Meet the Mortal Kombat cast and their video game characters
Mortal Kombat, the upcoming movie reboot directed by Simon McQuoid and produced by James Wan, is preparing to pit the champions of earth against threats from Outworld. After sorcerer Shang Tsung sends Sub-Zero after a washed up MMA fighter, Cole Young, the unsuspecting hero goes in search of answers. That's when he finds himself at the temple of the Elder God Raiden, who's welcoming fighters bearing the same mysterious mark to train for a deadly tournament against Outworld.
With the film set for release this April 16 both in theaters and on HBO Max, here's a look at who's playing who in this latest adaptation of the blockbuster video game series.
Ludi Lin as Liu Kang
Ludi Lin from Power Rangers, Aquaman, and Netflix's Marco Polo stars as fan favorite Liu Kang, one of the original characters from the first 1992 Mortal Kombat game. An orphan raised by the Shaolin order, he's often a protagonist.
Mortal Kombat is a fighting tournament between representatives from various realms set up by the Elder Gods. If champions from one realm defeat another realm's champions enough times, that winning realm can then invade. Liu became a champion of Mortal Kombat when he saved Earthrealm (that would be us) from invasion. In the reboot, he can be found training for the Mortal Kombat at Raiden's temple along with some off familiar faces.
Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero
McQuoid and the producers are committed to assembling an international cast for Mortal Kombat, and so far they're succeeding.
Joe Taslim, a martial artist and actor from Netflix's The Night Comes for Us film and Cinemax's Warrior series, was first cast as Sub-Zero. With a mastery over ice, the Lin Kueiclan grandmaster can freeze opponents in a block of ice or conjure an ice axe to hack them away.
The film opens in feudal Japan before Sub-Zero was known as Bi-Han. The beginning sequence sets up the long-lasting blood feud between the clans of Bi-Han and Hanzo (a.k.a. Scorpion). In the present, he's the best warrior of Shang Tsung who's sent to earth to hunt down a man named Cole Young.
Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion
If there's Sub-Zero, Scorpion usually isn't far behind.
Hiroyuki Sanada has too many credits to count, but mainstream audiences will recognize him more recently in Westworld, Avengers: Endgame, and The Wolverine.
The character gets his name from the sharp, metallic chain whip tipped with a kunai blade that is his signature weapon. Scorpion's role beyond the opening minutes of Mortal Kombat are still a mystery, but Sanada describes the movie to EW as "a family drama with excitingly brutal fighting."
Jessica MacNamee as Sonya Blade
As Sonya Blade, The Meg star Jessica McNamee steps into the military boots of this decorated Earthrealm Special Forces officer. In the games, her squadron is one of this realm's many defenses against otherwordly threats, and now she runs the show.
Josh Lawson as Kano
Sonya has lots of friends. Kano is not one of them. The leader of the Black Dragon clan, this black-market arms dealer has an underground network that spans continents and realms. His defining feature is a cybernetic eye that, in this year's Mortal Kombat 11 game, fires off laser beams.
McQuoid says "Kano provides an enormous amount of comedic joy" in the movie. "Josh Lawson did a phenomenal job. He is a very gifted, funny man, and Kano is a super fun character. I think people’ll really, really enjoy the ride with him."
Mehcad Brooks as Jax Briggs
Mehcad Brooks stepped away from the CW's Supergirl to pursue other roles. He can finally tell us one of them. Jax Briggs has literal muscles of steel as a cybernetically enhanced member of Earthrealm Special Forces. He lost both his arms in the line of duty, but returned with an upgrade: two metallic arms.
Tadanobu Asano as Raiden
Tadanobu Asano played an Asgardian in the Marvel movies as Hogun of Lady Sif and the Warriors Three. Now he takes on Raiden, God of Thunder and protector of Earthrealm. He has saved earth too many times to count over the years by assembling the finest fighters to do combat against enemies.
Asano's Raiden welcomes all warriors who bear the mysterious dragon birthmark into his temple for training against the forces of Outworld.
Chin Han as Shang Tsung
Meet the host of the Mortal Kombat. Shang Tsung was born on Earthrealm but became a sorcerer when he traversed to the realm known as Outworld and pledged his allegiance to Shao Kahn, the embodiment of evil and the prime antagonist in many of the Mortal Kombat games. Shang must take souls to replenish his life force, granting him the ability to shapeshift and take on the abilities of the souls he absorbs. Chin Han of Skyscraper and The Dark Knight will portray Shang in the movie.
The movie seems to take a different approach. According to the official plot synopsis, Tsung is depicted as the emperor of Outworld who sends Sub-Zero to track down a man named Cole.
Sisi Stringer as Mileena
Newcomer Sisi Stringer takes on Mileena, which we assume means she's also playing Kitana, given the character's whole history. Shang Tsu, having conquered the realm of Edenia, raised its princess, the fan-wielding Kitana, as his own. He later makes an evil twin version of her called Mileena, a lot more evil, viscious, and thirsty for the throne.
Max Huang as Kung Lao
A former Shaolin monk, Kung Lao's most dangerous weapon is also his favorite fashion accessory: his hat. The rim comes packed with a razor-sharp edge that he typically uses to decapitate enemies in the games. Max Huang, an actor and stunt performer, portrays Kung Lao in the film, which sees him training at Raiden's temple with Liu Kang.
Lewis Tan as Cole Young
Lewis Tan will portray Cole Young, a wholly new character to the Mortal Kombat world with a mysterious heritage. The actor and martial artist is someone who prides himself on performing his own stunts despite the aches and pains that come along the way from training. Tan previously played Shatterstar in Deadpool 2, and featured in Netflix’s Iron Fist and Wu Assassins. He also played Kung Jin in the web series Mortal Kombat X: Generations.
"When we first meet Cole, he's in a really bad spot," Tan says. "He's down on his luck. He's kind of a washed-up MMA fighter who used to be a champion, who used to believe in himself, who used to have a lot of hope in his career. And it's all gone down the drain. It's a very interesting place for a hero to start, and I think that, along the journey of Mortal Kombat and Cole discovering where he comes from, you're introduced to all these other iconic characters and elements that everybody loves so dearly."
Mortal Kombat is scheduled for a simultaneous release in theaters and on HBO Max on April 16.