Mortal Kombat (2021) – Movie Ending Explained

What Are The Origins Of Mortal Kombat?

Mortal Kombat’s history dates all the way back to 1992 when the first game released on the SNES, Amiga and various other consoles of its time.

The original was inspired by Jean Claude Van Damme but was later changed to the more bloody, fantastical fighter we’ve been graced with today.

One of the more prominent and recognizable fighters in the game is that of Johnny Cage. He was actually introduced as an homage to Van Damme’s legacy.

Since that title, Mortal Kombat has been a mainstay in the public eye and even found itself in court over its heavy use of gore and violence. This fighter has been a mainstay ion the gaming world and continues to be known the world over.

Mortal Kombat has been a mainstay in the gaming world and continues to be infamously known (and played) the world over

The Story

The 2021 Mortal Kombat remake focuses on the ancient rivalry between Sub Zero (aka Bi-Han) and Scorpion (aka. Hanzo Hasashi.)

Our tale begins in 17th century Japan with a slick 8 minute fight sequence where Hasashi witnesses his family being brutally murdered by Bi-Han. This sets the foundation for a revenge plot but is sidelined until the third act of the movie. Instead, we skip forward to the present day. Here, we follow¬†washed-up MMA fighter Cole Young. He’s recruited by Jax and eventually ends up fighting as one of Earth Realm’s chosen fighters.

What Are The Realms?

In this universe (and as Mortal Kombat fans will be quick to point out) there are multiple realms existing in unison together. In Mortal Kombat we follow three in particular.

Earthrealm (where Cole, Jax and the other good guys are located), Netherrealm (a sort of Hell, which Scorpion is currently stuck in) and Outworld (where Shang Tsung and the other villains are.)

The rules here depict that one realm can conquer another by defeating its greatest warriors in 10 consecutive tournaments known as Mortal Kombat.

This movie’s plot begins on the back of Earthrealm suffering 9 straight defeats. If Earthrealm is beaten again, Outworld – and Shang Tsung – are going to invade.

Who Is Cole Young? 

Cole Young is a brand new character within the Mortal Kombat world. He doesn’t appear in any of the previous games nor is he an integral part of the MK lore outside this 2021 remake.

His background is pretty basic, and depicts this former MMA champion now working as a fighter-for-hire. Cole also sports a mysterious dragon tattoo which, as we soon come to learn, is an integral part of his heritage. This heritage depicts Cole as a descendant of Scorpion’s bloodline. He’s the one whom Earthrealm are pinning their hopes on.

Who Dies In Mortal Kombat?

There are a fair few deaths in Mortal Kombat – and some pretty gnarly fatalities too! Below is a breakdown of exactly who dies and how:

-Kano kills Reptile.

-Cole kills Goro while protecting his family.

-Kung Lao dies protecting Cole from Sub-Zero. Eventually he has his soul consumed by Shang Tsung.

-Liu Kang and Jax kill Kabal and Reiko during the final skirmish.

-Sonya kills Kano and acquires her dragon mark. This in turn allows her to help Cole kill Mileena.

-Sub-Zero dies after Scorpion and Cole team up together and defeat him.

How Does Mortal Kombat End?

Sub Zero’s death sparks Shang Tsung into action. He vows revenge in the future. He sends all the bodies of his dead champions back to Outworld and promises to raise an army next time. Raiden declares to the team that they’re going to start preparing for the next tournament as well. This fight will include more champions from Earthrealm.

Scorpion (Hasashi) thanks Cole for his help and tasks him with protecting the realm – and their bloodline – in his absence. With Scorpion gone, Cole hangs up the MMA gloves and goes searching for the next champion. As the movie ends, Cole leaves for Los Angeles. The camera pans up to show the lower half of a Johnny Cage poster.

Who Is Johnny Cage?

Remember we mentioned earlier about Van Damme? Well, Johnny Cage is one of the original seven characters from the 1992 Mortal Kombat and has remained a fan favourite ever since. He’s one of the biggest comedic anchors in the franchise and has remained a mainstay in the games (and films) over the years. In fact, he’s one of the few characters who acts as the outsider in this Mortal Kombat tournament – ironically a role he could have had over Cole’s in this movie!

So What Next? Will There Be A Sequel?

Warner Bros. have come out and said they intend to launch at least four new movies if this one is successful. Given the split reaction between critics and audiences, it’s fair to say that could go either way at this point. If a sequel is green-lit, it appears it could be focusing quite heavily on Johnny Cage. The ending pretty much confirms this and if we’re following the game’s lore, we could also have some romance on the cards as well.

What Could Happen In That Movie?

In the games, cocky movie star Johnny Cage ends up romantically linked to Sonya Blade. This could slot nicely into that Kano-sized hole in the franchise now that the Aussie is dead. Interestingly, in Mortal Kombat X Cage is also introduced as a Father. Alongside Sonya Blade, their daughter Cassie Cage fights with Earthrealm. We could see the movies follow this same plot thread, with the later films introducing her as a key figure in the fight against Outworld.

With Shang Tsung defeated and vowing to raise an army, we could also see Shang Tsung turn toward the mighty Shao Kahn for help. This infamous hammer-wielding foe is the main antagonist in Mortal Kombat II so it would definitely be fitting to add him in.

One thing’s almost guaranteed though – we’re going to see the defeated villains and heroes back again. Shang Tsung proclaims that “death is only another portal” just before leaving Earthrealm. This seems to hint that he’ll be reviving Kano, Goro, Mileena and all the others who have died.

For now though, we’ll have to wait and see if this one is renewed!


(To read our full thoughts on this movie, check out our spoiler-free review HERE!)

Thanks for reading our Ending Explained article! What did you think of Mortal Kombat’s ending? Do you think there will be a sequel? Let us know in the comments below!

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