The upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot movie features a number of iconic characters from the franchise like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Raiden, and more. But of the characters introduced in the original video game back in the early '90s, one missing character that has been noted time and time again is Johnny Cage, the larger-than-life Hollywood actor and martial artist. According to producer Todd Garner, the reason why Cage is missing is simple: he's a very big personality that really needs his own space, and now there's something big left for a potential sequel.
"I want to make a sequel, and I've now got Johnny Cage, which hasn't been used in the first one," Garner said during a recent press event attended by ComicBook.com. "So I have a big stick and carrot that maybe they'll let me have a Johnny Cage real presence in the second one. And secondarily, when you think about Mortal Kombat, if you just think about the patina of the movie, it has a very Asian feel to it. And I early on felt uncomfortable having a white male lead kind of lead that charge in the first movie. It just felt Hollywoodish to me, which is weird because he's an actor, which also is weird. And probably my bias of... it just feels weird if I'm trying to do, and I was, do something different and diverse and true. Is it a cop-out to all of a sudden have Ryan Reynolds, not him, but... As the lead felt a little disingenuous to me and super easy to bring him in, in a big bombastic fun way in the second. And he deserves that as a character. And I love these characters, so we thought hard about it."
The original Mortal Kombat films famously had Linden Ashby as Cage. Given what we know of the upcoming reboot, it seems unlikely that he would reprise the role and all the other roles that have appeared in both have new actors. Garner describes the new movie as "a more gentle, slow, thoughtful character experience," and Cage just didn't necessarily fit that movie right off the bat compared to others -- especially with Josh Lawson's Kano in the mix.
Here is the official synopsis for the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie, in case you missed it:
"MMA fighter Cole Young, accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage—or why Outworld's Emperor Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero, an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt Cole down. Fearing for his family's safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with. Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark. Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang, Kung Lao and rogue mercenary Kano, as he prepares to stand with Earth's greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe. But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcana—the immense power from within his soul—in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?"
The Mortal Kombat reboot film is currently scheduled to release on April 16th on both HBO Max and in theaters. The cast includes Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Mehcad Brooks as Jax, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion, Josh Lawson as Kano, Tadanobu Asano as Raiden, Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, Sisi Stringer as Mileena, and Lewis Tan as new character Cole Young. It wrapped filming in late 2019. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the film right here.
What do you think about Johnny Cage not being in the new film? Are you excited to see the full movie in April? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to reach out and hit me up directly over on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk about all things gaming!