Very few fighting franchises can pull people in with their stories the way Mortal Kombat can, and NetherRealm Studios, of course, has an excellent knack for leveraging that. With the upcoming Mortal Kombat 1, in fact, it’s probably doing that better than it ever has, thanks to its promise of a rebooted universe that’ll take everything familiar about this long-running franchise and twist it and present it in completely new ways. It’s no surprise, then, that Mortal Kombat fans have a glut of theories about what Mortal Kombat 1’s story will bring, based on the many excellent trailers we’ve seen of it so far- and we include ourselves in that group. As such, here, we’re going to go over a few of our theories about the upcoming reboot’s story that we feel have a decent chance of proving accurate.
Note: This article may have major story spoilers.
SCORPION, SUB-ZERO, AND… NOOB SAIBOT?
The age-old rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero has been the backbone of the Mortal Kombat franchise since its very inception, so of course, how that’ll be handled in Mortal Kombat 1 has been a big focal point for the fanbase. And the reboot is certainly doing some interesting things here. Bi-Han, who was Sub-Zero in the original Mortal Kombat game, and later returned as Noob Saibot, is once again taking on the mantle in MK1. Meanwhile, his younger brother Kuai Liang, who has been Sub-Zero for the vast, vast majority of the franchise’s lifespan, is instead going to be Scorpion in this universe.
Sub-Zero and Scorpion being brothers by blood is an interesting enough twist as it is- but of course, an even most interesting question that arises here, where the heck is Hanzo Hasashi, who was and always has been Scorpion? Not only will this be the first time that we’ll be seeing a different character taking on the Scorpion persona, so far, there’s also no word whatsoever of what role he will play in the story. In a recent interview with IGN, narrative director Dominic Cianciolo was unwilling to comment on the same, and said nothing beyond the fact that saying anything would be a “spoiler”, which means we can safely assume Hanzo does exist in this universe.
But where is he? Could it be, perhaps, that he will take on the mantle of Noob Saibot in this universe? After all, this new timeline already has a Scorpion. So if Hanzo does indeed have a role to play in the story, could it be as Noob Saibot? Oh, and speaking of Hanzo, does the Shirai Ryu clan still exist in this new timeline? Because so far, we haven’t heard a peep about it.
The royal family that rules over Outworld is going to be composed a bit differently in Mortal Kombat 1 than what we’ve grown familiar with over the years. Kitana and Mileena are still the Princesses (though they’re twins in this new timeline, rather than the latter being a genetic clone of the former), and Sindel, who’s very much alive and in no need of resurrection, is the Empress. However, Shao Kahn, who is the one you think of first when you think of Outworld as a whole, is not the Emperor of the realm in Mortal Kombat 1.
He will instead appear as General Shao, the supreme commander of Outworld’s armies, and a fearsome warrior (who now has horns growing out of his head), with the ruler of Outworld being Jerrod, who has died by the time MK1 begins (according to Sindel’s bio on the official Mortal Kombat website). That raises some interesting questions- in previous timelines, Sindel and Jerrod were the Queen and King of the realm of Edenia, with Jerrod being murdered by Shao Kahn when Outworld invaded and conquered the realm. Following that, Sindel was forced into becoming the Queen of Outworld, with her daughter Kitana, who had no blood relation to Shao Kahn, becoming the Princess.
But with Sindel, Jerrod, and Kitana all being actual Outworld natives in Mortal Kombat 1, what does that mean for the realm of Edenia? Hell, even Rain is now an Outworld native. Though it might be a bit of a drastic measure on NeatherRealm’s part, it sure seems like the entire realm has been left on the cutting floor in this rebooted universe. It’s either that, or the war between Outworld and Edenia happened in this universe as well, only this time, Edenia won and merged with Outworld rather than the other way around. That would also explain why Outworld is so lush and beautiful in this new timeline.
THE RULERS OF OUTWORLD
Sindel is the Empress of Outworld in Mortal Kombat 1, while Mileena is next in line- but is General Shao going to have absolutely no ambitions for the throne? Interestingly enough, his character bio on the official Mortal Kombat website does suggest he might end up locking horns with Sindel at some point. It reads, “Though General Shao is sworn to serve the Empress, his loyalty is to Outworld. If Sindel’s rule ever endangers Outworld, he will be the first to try to end it.” Based on that, we won’t be surprised if Shao ends up leading a mutiny against Sindel and winds up as the Outworld Emperor we’ve always known him as by the time the story comes to an end.
That, however, is not the only theory we have about Mortal Kombat 1 that’s related to Outworld’s leadership. Well, actually, this one is more of a hope than a story- that the original, ancient ruler of the realm from the original timeline, Dragon King Onaga, ends up having a role to play in the story as well. How or where he will fit into the story is hard to figure out based on what we know of the game so far, but Onaga being the final boss of the story mode would certainly be a suitably epic conclusion.
KRONIKA AND KAMEO FIGHTERS
The way Mortal Kombat 11 ended, we wouldn’t have expected that Kronika would be coming back into the picture anytime soon again, but as revealed in the recently-released footage of the first 20 minutes of Mortal Kombat 1’s story mode, she’s most certainly back. Even though she isn’t explicitly named, the mysterious woman shown talking to Shang Tsung (who’s now a simple conman instead of a sorcerer) looks and sounds an awful lot like Kronika, and she certainly seems to have the same air about her, what with the gran promises she makes to Shang Tsung.
So what exactly is she doing in this timeline? Well, it’s safe to assume that, much like Liu Kang and Geras, she’s aware of the events of all other timelines. She is, after all, the Keeper of Time (or was at least), and the perks that come with that don’t just disappear. As a fixed point who’s likely immune to the resetting of time, we wouldn’t be surprised if she’s still hellbent on creating her own new era, and has invaded Lu Kang’s new timeline to set her plans into motion again.
In fact, we think there might be a chance that Kameo fighters are somewhat tied to her, in a narrative sense. Though it might sound a bit out there, maybe the Kameos are versions of Mortal Kombat characters from past timelines that are being pulled into this new one by Kronika. Not only is that quite similar to what happened in Mortal Kombat 11, it would also explain why the Kameo characters’ designs are so reminiscent of their old school looks.