The Mortal Kombat franchise has, at this point, been around for decades, and so it shouldn't really be all that surprising that any movie adaptation comes with a built-in audience, but something as big as a blockbuster film also needs to appeal to new audiences in order to really reach beyond just the core fans. Starting from scratch on the new film means that director Simon McQuoid really has the opportunity to offer another version of that balance. As ComicBook.com found out during a set visit to Australia during filming, it's something he takes quite seriously.
"It was really about taking the qualities, the properties from within the frame of the game that then became sort of universal themes and storylines that really anyone can get," McQuoid said when asked about managing the balance between fan expectations and new audiences. For him, there are universal themes beyond the specifics that are easily tapped into with the Mortal Kombat franchise like, for example, good vs. evil.
"I thought a lot about when I know a fan is going to love this moment, I also have to go, 'all right it can't be two view side all the time,'" he added. "I wanted every character to have their big introduction and what is their spirit and where they come from and what's right for them as a character. And what that does, it is allowing the fans to love that because of their character but also for an audience to understand, 'oh, that character is borne out via story,' or you get a good sense of that character by how they're introduced."
If for whatever reason you haven't seen it yet, here is the official synopsis for the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie:
"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 late last year. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the film right here.
What do you make of what the director had to say about balancing expectations? Are you excited to see the film when it releases? 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!