A Return to Kombat?

The dawn of a new generation.

I've been a fan since the beginning of Mortal Kombat and I probably know way too much about it. Does anyone else remember rat.org from about 20 years ago? Entering info and creating pages for the original actors that portrayed the characters of the first three games was one of the first things I ever did on the wiki here on Giant Bomb (spoiler: Kerri Hoskins is still hot). Anyway, I'm pretty excited for Mortal Kombat X, and with EVO 2014 happening this weekend, you could say I'm...getting hype?

So, I decided to take a look back at Mortal Kombat 9. Who died? Who lived? And then...who from MK4, Deadly Alliance, Deception, and Armageddon would be likely to return to the franchise in MKX? Here's a breakdown of when we last saw each of the playable characters in MK9. Then, the actual list is every character in the franchise (hopefully I didn't miss any) that was not playable in MK9 ranked from top to bottom relative to how likely I think it is they will return.

The Dead

Sindel basically killed everyone. Everyone.

Now, obviously, characters in the MK franchise have a history of cheating death one way or another. There's no way to know whether or not the "dead" from MK9 will return. But, for the purposes of this list, we're just going to assume these characters are dead and gone.

  • Kung Lao - Shao Kahn snaps his neck at the end of the second tournament.
  • Motaro - Killed by Raiden during the invasion of Earthrealm.
  • Goro / Kintaro - Killed by Cyber Sub-Zero in The Bell Tower. (debatable)
  • Noob Saibot - Kicked into Quan Chi's soulnado by Nightwolf, which causes it to explode seemingly ripping Noob apart (purple bits swirling around in the green soulnado).
  • Shang Tsung - Killed by Shao Kahn when he forcibly removes all of Tsung's souls and gives them to Sindel, making her much more powerful than before.
  • Kabal - The first to die at the hands of Sindel in The Cathedral. She stomps her heel through his heart.
  • Kurtis Stryker - Killed by Sindel in The Cathedral with a punch through his face.
  • Cyber Sub-Zero - Killed by Sindel in The Cathedral via an uppercut that seemingly destroys his cybernetics (he immediately is engulfed in electrical surges).
  • Jax - Killed by Sindel in The Cathedral when kicks a hole in his throat with her heeled boot.
  • Smoke - Sindel snaps his neck in The Cathedral.
  • Jade - Her heart was ripped out by Sindel in The Cathedral.
  • Nightwolf - Sacrifices himself by chanting some sort of spell that causes an explosion in order to eliminate Sindel.
  • Sindel - See above.
  • Kitana - Survives long enough for Liu Kang and Raiden to return to The Cathedral, but dies of wounds caused by Sindel.
  • Liu Kang - Burned to death at the hands of Raiden, who believed that allowing Shao Kahn to merge the realms would bring the ire of the Elder Gods, thus preventing the Armageddon he had envisioned. Liu Kang believed Raiden had gone insane and attempted to fight Shao Kahn anyway, so Raiden reluctantly (maybe inadvertently) killed him.
  • Shao Kahn - Raiden was right. Allowing Shao Kahn to attempt to merge the realms without actually winning a Mortal Kombat tournament caused the Elder Gods to intervene. Raiden, with the assistance of the Elder Gods, defeats Shao Kahn once and for all, and Raiden's amulet is restored.

The Not-So-Dead

C'mon...Reptile can't die.

These characters' fates are somewhat or entirely unknown. Many of them were defeated in the story but not outright killed.

  • Reptile - Defeated by Stryker on The Rooftop, yet appears to still be moving as Stryker and Kabal leave.
  • Mileena - Defeated by Kabal in Shao Kahn's Throne Room.
  • Sheeva - Defeated by Kabal in The Street.
  • Kano - Frozen in a block of ice in The Bell Tower thanks to Cyber Sub-Zero.
  • Ermac - Defeated by Cyber Sub-Zero in The Bell Tower.
  • Cyrax - Defeated by Nightwolf in The Cathedral.
  • Sektor - Defeated by Nightwolf in The Cathedral.
  • Kenshi / Rain / Skarlet - The DLC characters do not directly interact in the story of MK9, thus their fates are unclear.

The Living

All that's left of Earthrealm's heroes.

Of all of the playable characters in MK9, these are the only ones that are definitely still alive and kicking by the end of it.

  • Raiden - Defeated Shao Kahn (with help from the Elder Gods) at the end of MK9.
  • Sonya Blade - Survived Sindel's attack at The Cathedral and witnessed Raiden kill Liu Kang and defeat Shao Kahn.
  • Johnny Cage - Ditto.
  • Quan Chi - Owns the souls of many of the dead Earthrealm warriors and is seen in the last scene of MK9 with Shinnok devising a plan for the Netherrealm to take both Earthrealm and Outworld.
  • Scorpion - Last seen in the Netherrealm when Raiden commands that he fetch Quan Chi.
  • Baraka - Last seen in Shao Kahn's Throne Room when it is revealed that Shao Kahn survived his defeat at the end of the second tournament.

The Unknowns

Regal Woman

Jade's ending in MK9 is possibly the most intriguing. In it, after defeating Shao Kahn, she falls into somewhat of a trance state where she envisions this mysterious "regal" woman. The woman then possesses Jade's body and awakens in Shao Kahn's Coliseum. No one really knows who this woman is...a goddess maybe? But, keep in mind that Jade died in the story of MK9, so this ending may be entirely non-canon.

The Good Doctor

In Kabal's ending, his respirator is so damaged after defeating Shao Kahn, he will soon die. He finds Kano and forces him to reveal the name of the man who gave Kano his cybernetic implants. The game does not reveal the doctor's name, but it does show him. Again, Kabal died in MK9 as part of Sindel's slaughter in The Cathedral, so this ending may not have any importance at all. Or maybe it's partially true...maybe Kabal survived that stomp through his heart long enough to find this doctor.

The Confirmed

Kotal Kahn. No relation.

These are the characters confirmed to be playable in Mortal Kombat X. I'll update this as we get closer to release.

E3 2014 - June 9, 2014

  • Scorpion - Yep, Scorpion's back. If you think that was a given, MK3 says hi. Yeah, he wasn't in that originally. Go look. I'll wait.
  • Sub-Zero - Not to be confused with Sub-Zero or Sub-Zero. This appears to be a third Lin Kuei using the name.
  • D’Vorah - A new character who appears to be part insect while also having control over insects.
  • Kotal Kahn - A new character who has a somewhat Aztec motif. No relation to Shao Kahn.
  • Ferra / Torr - A new character who is actually two characters working in tandem; Torr, a hulking beast, and Ferra, a small female creature that rides atop Torr.
  • Cassie Cage - Cassie is the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade.

EVO 2014 - July 12, 2014

  • Raiden - A no brainer to return considering how the last game ended.

Gamescom 2014 - August 11, 2014

  • Kano - Older, but more cybernetically enhanced.

The Potential Returners

The final scene in MK9.

Although many of the details are different in the new timeline, Mortal Kombat 9 ended around the period where Mortal Kombat 3 would have ended. A few characters from the later games did make an appearance already (Quan Chi, Kenshi), but who would be most likely to return in Mortal Kombat X? Here's my list ordered from most likely to least likely along with a little bit of info to remind you who some of these characters are.

List items

46 Comments
Posted by Hailinel

You put a heck of a lot of effort into this!

The only post-MK4 character I'd explicitly ask for to return out of this entire list is Nitara.

I'm probably going to be disappointed.

Posted by Slag

Li Mei was a character I felt like they had big plans for but it didn't pan out. I wouldn't mind her character being rebooted

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Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

I don't really like any post MK3 characters, but Reiko had an all right design, I guess?

Moderator
Posted by Marino

@sparky_buzzsaw: Yeah, Reiko's a weird one. Always a lot of rumors and speculation around him from the first time people saw him in MK4.

@slag: Li Mei definitely seems like a good choice to bring back.

@hailinel said:

You put a heck of a lot of effort into this!

The only post-MK4 character I'd explicitly ask for to return out of this entire list is Nitara.

I'm probably going to be disappointed.

Thanks. Yeah, Nitara seems unlikely simply because she was never really all that important to the core of the story. But, as I mentioned above, people remember her out of the sea of forgetful characters post-MK3, so...maybe?

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Posted by President_Barackbar

@marino: Please for the love of god don't be right about Bo Rai Cho. I'm going to be seriously sad if he appears in any way, shape or form in MKX. Well, he's no Shujinko at the very least...

Edited by Marino

@president_barackbar: I'm not a fan either. I don't think most people are. But, he is referenced multiple times in MK9. Bottom line is he's kinda important, for better or worse.

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Posted by Klarion18

Man Mortal Kombat had a lot of forgettable characters.

Edited by Mortuss_Zero

I like Jarek. It's mostly spillover from liking Kano a lot, but that's not the point. The point is that I exist. I'm also that one asshole who likes Hsu Hao and Drahmin. Agreed that the whole Orderrealm group, Kobra and Kira are wastes of space though. In all honesty, I just hope to see Reiko. Guy's oddly intruiging.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

As someone whose knowledge of Mortal Kombat before MK9 is pretty shaky, I'm just going to say that they should bring back the dudes they included as DLC in MK9 (Kenshi, Rain and Skarlet) and 90% of that list can burn in a fire. There are some remarkably bad character designs happening there.

Posted by csl316

Great stuff. Remember how freakin' amazing that Sindel cinematic was when you first saw it?

Just crossing my fingers here for Son of Bo Rai Cho, and Mokap.

Posted by GordonDaniels

One "character" that I think has a high chance of showing up in MKX isn't quite on your list. Zombie Liu Kang. My reason for this guess has two parts. One, Quan Chi is a necromancer and likes twisting dead things. Two, much like how Raiden will need allies in the upcoming battle, so too will the other side. And who better than a very likely angry, bitter, and vengeful shaolin monk who's closest allies betrayed and murdered him?

Posted by Chaser324

@gordondaniels: Yeah, putting personal attachment to the characters aside, I feel like most of the dead characters are fairly expendable, but if any of them is going to return (and I suspect that several of them will), it will be Liu Kang.

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Posted by Girth_Brooks

Fantastic post sir!

Posted by Marino

@girth_brooks: Thanks!

@chaser324: @gordondaniels: Oh, definitely. I think there's a general consensus that Liu Kang will be a boss or something. But, for the purposes of the list, the dead are dead.

I like Jarek.

Oh, c'mon. The only reason he exists is that they decided at the last minute that MK4 should have another new character, so they swapped out Kano's head and changed the color of his vest/pants. Jarek even had an eye laser fatality in MK4...when he doesn't have cybernetics. It's just dumb.

@csl316 said:

Just crossing my fingers here for Son of Bo Rai Cho, and Mokap.

You're a sick man.

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Posted by Kut_U_Up

Great post! I'm getting more and more excited for X. Fingers crossed Frost comes back, she has been gone for far too long from a proper MK game.

Posted by hunterob

There is one reason to care about Jarek:

Posted by KoolAid

I actually thought Hsu Hao was kind of cool in a cheesy martial arts film kinda way.

And I don't care what anyone says! Reiko IS Shao Kahn! Because that ending was super fucking awesome!

Posted by helmit64

Note to self: Stay out of the Cathedral.

Posted by Lockes84

This is utterly fantastic. Thank you for bringing us up to speed!

Posted by Noitwont

This is great. And I would also like them to bring Drahmin back.

Posted by Damodar

Great blog!

I am definitely curious to see what they'll do with MKX in terms of bringing back characters post MK3. With the Quan Chi/Shinnok stuff in MK9, it does seem like the story was heading down a similar path started in 4, but nearly all of the characters introduced past that point are just so, so very bad...

I hope there is at least one new character design that I actually think is really good. The first handful of MK games have so many great characters with interesting designs and backstories, but everything since then has been so lacklustre. Hopefully MKX can turn that around a bit. Kotal Kahn is pretty cool, at least. Kind of an Ancient Ogre vibe.

Posted by Y2Ken

This is a great read. Weirdly my first (and only prior to MK9) Mortal Kombat game I owned was MK4 on PS1. So looking through this character list is sparking some memories of characters that have been lurking, forgotten, at the back of my brain for many years. Thanks for that, I'm looking forward to it!

Posted by Honkalot

Great article!

Edited by Nodima

@hunterob said:

There is one reason to care about Jarek:

you just reminded me that, despite my best efforts, I played a LOT of MK4. I must've seen that ending at least ten times.

Oh, to be young and flush with free time. And I was playing on the N64. WHO WAS I???

Posted by Mortuss_Zero

Hey, I'll admit Jarek has nothing of his own going for him. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and he was the closest thing to Kano for awhile. I'm not going to mourn him if he never comes back however, Kano will likely return to cause trouble in X anyway.

Posted by Rebel_Scum

great article. For me MK ended after MK3, even though Ultimate MK3 and MK Anthology were still great games the story didn't change much. I would like to see the series return to its MK and pre-MK roots where the tournament is held every 500 years but I know that will never happen.

Posted by Marino

@honkalot: @noitwont: @lockes84: Thanks!

@y2ken said:

This is a great read. Weirdly my first (and only prior to MK9) Mortal Kombat game I owned was MK4 on PS1. So looking through this character list is sparking some memories of characters that have been lurking, forgotten, at the back of my brain for many years. Thanks for that, I'm looking forward to it!

Oh, man. I kinda feel sorry for ya. You need to find a way to at least go back and play UMK3. I'm glad I helped jog your memory though!

@helmit64 said:

Note to self: Stay out of the Cathedral.

For real.

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Posted by development

This was actually super fun to read. Didn't even realize it was a "list" until the end. You are a true Mortal Kombat scholar.

Tremor needs to happen. I'd be so happy if he's in there somehow. Blaze or Havik would also be great.

Fujin is the most boring thing that has ever happened. I'll be so angry if they waste time on him.

Posted by mrfluke

i dont think noob saibot is dead...i think he got purified similar to how scorpion did at the end of deadly alliance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDY0n-J7CJc

could very well be another sub zero, but i feel like it would make sense for their whole rivalry if subzero is still bi han.

also, i have a sort of a feeling that Liu Kang might be a boss character with a big vendetta against raiden. every MK fighting game except deadly alliance had him. it would be crazy to me if he's not in the new story in some form.

Posted by Marino

@mrfluke: That's a possibility. Ed Boon was saying during E3 that there are "many" Sub-Zeros, which insinuates this is a new guy, but obviously he likes fucking with people. The other thing is that in their pre-match taunts, Sub-Zero tells Scorpion that he's tired of proving his innocence. If he was a "cleansed" Noob, I think he would at least admit that he did it and be trying to atone.

But...we shall see.

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Posted by Demoskinos

Whoa whoa whoa whoa. I can't believe you list didn't include the hypest mortal kombat character of all time..... No Face.

Posted by Marino

@demoskinos: Honestly, I considered putting No Face and Tasia on there but...c'mon.

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Posted by civid

If Ermac isn't in MKX I simply won't be buying it. By far my favourite Ninja- and MK character overall both because of his fighting style, fatalities and background. Ermac REPRESENT!

Edited by Marino

@civid: This concept art has been floating around (pun...intended?). It was done by the senior character artist at NRS. So...maybe?

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Posted by Otogi

Fantastic list, and I'll add while Drahmin was no good to play as/with, I really rigged his design and thought he had some good potential. Hope they bring him back. Also Chameleon/Khameleon (maybe same character with variations?)

Posted by mccarron

This is the article I've been looking to find time to write myself, but I've been swamped. Good job all around. I have a feeling most of the old characters in that list won't be returning as playable, but good chance they'll show up in the story mode as I heard there will be many "kameos".

Edited by Superfriend

Oh god, those post MK3 Characters sure suck. It's like they didn't even try.

Posted by Marino

@mccarron said:

This is the article I've been looking to find time to write myself, but I've been swamped. Good job all around. I have a feeling most of the old characters in that list won't be returning as playable, but good chance they'll show up in the story mode as I heard there will be many "kameos".

Thanks! High praise from "Mr. mk.hotweird.com." ;) I referenced rat.org in the article, but I've been going to your site for almost as long.

I agree, most of the characters probably won't be playable. I think they set the tone by having four out of the six at E3 being brand new.

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Edited by mccarron

@marino said:

@mccarron said:

This is the article I've been looking to find time to write myself, but I've been swamped. Good job all around. I have a feeling most of the old characters in that list won't be returning as playable, but good chance they'll show up in the story mode as I heard there will be many "kameos".

Thanks! High praise from "Mr. mk.hotweird.com." ;) I referenced rat.org in the article, but I've been going to your site for almost as long.

I agree, most of the characters probably won't be playable. I think they set the tone by having four out of the six at E3 being brand new.

I really miss having my pat @ rat.org email address. Shortest email address I ever had. We used to have a backup of rat.org somewhere as well because we used to mirror it for Rat, but I think that was in the hold Hotweird server which is now long gone as it's HDD bit the dust. After that we moved to our own domain.

Man I've been doing this way too long. ;)

Posted by Jewl

To be honest, I would really love to see Dairou, the Chameleon twins, Jarek, and Darrius again. Maybe as DLC? Because Ed Boon did say that for a kharacter that doesn't make the kut, he'd make them DLC.

Also, Mavado kould be in a future game, but the Red Dragon klan needs better storytelling. We kan just forget that Hsu Hao ever existed, or at the very least, give him a kameo in story mode and kill him off.

I have hope for Fujin, Kai, Tanya, Havik, and Li Mei, among others, to make their triumphant return.

Posted by fetchfox

Some perspective, it'll be interesting to see the reveal of MKX's roster.

Posted by cloudyimpulse

I just got done reading all of this. This was so well put together. This was a great read.

Edited by GERALTITUDE

This was an awesome read! Super great.

Posted by Marino
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Posted by KaneRobot

Been meaning to respond to this for a while but haven't had time to read through all of it until now. Thanks for putting the work in on this. Even as a total sucker for the MK storyline that has bought every MK game not named Special Forces, I needed a refresher.

I'm just fine with pretty much anyone coming back until you get around the "Mavado" level, after that I'm pretty hard pressed to care. I think Daegon and Taven pretty much have to be included based on who they are, unless they realllly overhaul the storyline.

I may be in the minority, but I'm sad to see that (so far) Shinnok hasn't made any sort of appearance. Based on the end of MK 9's story I'd assume he'll be showing up. Yeah, MK4 sucked as a game but as far as the storyline for it, I have zero issues with it being at least the launching point on MKX's story. To me, other than the gameplay being not great, MK4's biggest offense was Shinnok being the final boss but not really being any different from the other characters. Dude is a fucking fallen god, at least give him some powers that put him on par with other cheap MK bosses.

Posted by calbags

Great read, I totally forgot how may people sindel put her heel through... crazy.