A Return to Kombat?

The dawn of a new generation.
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.
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.
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.
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

No Caption Provided

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

No Caption Provided

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.
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.
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

  • Shinnok is a former Elder God, banished due to his lust for power. He first appeared in MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero and was the final boss of MK4. After his fall from grace, he became the ruler of the Netherrealm. At the end of MK9, it is revealed that he and Quan Chi plan to conquer both Earthrealm and Outworld as both realms are vulnerable following the death of Shao Kahn.

  • Fujin is the god of wind. He first appeared in MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero and first as a playable character in MK4. He briefly appears in MK9 by way of Kratos' ending. He and Raiden approach Kratos after he defeats Shao Kahn to thank him. Kratos is surprised as it is strange for him to have the respect of gods. With Raiden alive at the end of MK9 with a limited number of allies to help him fight a seemingly inevitable war against the Netherrealm, it would seem likely that he would enlist the help of Fujin.

  • Reiko is from Outworld and first appeared in MK4 as a General of Shinnok's army. In that timeline, he later became a General of Shao Kahn's army and is said to have once been a member of the Brotherhood of Shadow in Netherrealm. Of all the characters introduced after MK3, Reiko has possibly caused the most discussion and speculation as much of his story is still a mystery. There was a time when many players believed Reiko to actually BE Shao Kahn, but that was denied by Ed Boon. Reiko briefly appears in MK9 by fighting in the background on the second bridge of The Pit. His mysterious nature combined with his cameo in MK9 makes it quite likely for him to return in some fashion.

  • Tanya is the daughter of an Edenian ambassador and first appeared in MK4. In the original timeline, she proved to be deceitful and helped Shinnok and Quan Chi's cause. She has a cameo in MK9 as a prisoner tied to the pillars in Shao Kahn's Coliseum. Considering her appearance there, and her past allegiance to Shinnok and Quan Chi, she ranks high on this list.

  • Havik is a cleric from Chaosrealm who first appeared in MK Deception. He briefly appears in MK9 by way of Noob Saibot's ending. Noob had formed an alliance with Havik and opened a portal from Chaosrealm into Netherrealm. This allowed warriors of Chaos to slaughter Shinnok, Quan Chi, and all of the Brotherhood of Shadow leaving Noob as the ruler of the Netherrealm. Whether any of this is canon is unclear, but it seems likely Havik will play a role in MKX.

  • Li Mei first appeared in Deadly Alliance. She comes from a village in Outworld that, in the original timeline, was enslaved by Shang Tsung and tasked with building his palace. She is promised that if she wins in Mortal Kombat, her people will be freed. Li Mei appears in MK9 as a prisoner tied to the pillars in Shao Kahn's Coliseum. Considering this appearance, it would seem likely that she would appear in some role in MKX.

  • Bo Rai Cho is a master of the drunken fist style. He first appeared in Dead Alliance. Although he is originally from Outworld, he trains Earthrealm warriors that wish to win Mortal Kombat tournaments. He appears briefly in MK9 by way of Shang Tsung's ending. Tsung had lost his mind after defeating Shao Kahn and absorbing his power. On the verge of suicide, Tsung is stopped by Bo Rai Cho. He offers to train Shang Tsung on how to use this new power in order to stop Bo Rai Cho's former protege, Liu Kang. Liu Kang, having defeated Raiden, had become a god and new protector of Earthrealm, but the power had corrupted him. Again, these endings are often not canonical, but sometimes *parts* of them are. Either way, it seems likely that the barfing man will return.

  • Frost is a female member of the Lin Kuei clan who first appeared in Deadly Alliance. In the original timeline, she was the second Sub-Zero's protege, but turned on him by stealing the powerful dragon medallion. Considering that both the original Sub-Zero (Noob) and the second Sub-Zero (Cyber) are presumed dead, the return of Frost might seem likely. But, there is now a third Sub-Zero, so...who knows? It should be noted though that Frost does briefly appear in MK9 as one of the fighters in the background on the second bridge of The Pit, which adds to the notion that she will return.

  • Daegon, along with is brother Taven, are sons of the Edenian god known as Argus. They first appeared in Armageddon. In that timeline, the two sons were put into a state of hibernation when Argus had a vision of Armageddon. They were to be awoken at the right time to defeat Blaze and stop the end of days, but Daegon awoke early and went mad. Most fans probably could not care less about him returning, but he does appear in MK9 fighting in the background on the second bridge of The Pit, so someone at Netherrealm Studios seems to care about him. And that gets him into the upper tier of this list.

  • Kira is an arms dealer and member of the Black Dragon clan who first appeared in Deception. Seemingly a forgettable character of the later games, she appears in MK9 rarely as a prisoner in Shao Kahn's Coliseum (in her alternate outfit). Whereas she would probably be near the bottom of this list, her appearance in MK9 bumps her up considerably.

  • Sareena is a demon from the Netherrealm who first appeared in MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero as one of Quan Chi's assassins. In that timeline, she ends up helping Sub-Zero (the first one) rather than killing him. She first appeared as a playable character in MK Tournament Edition, the GBA port of Deadly Alliance. While surely not the most well-known character in the MK franchise, she does play an important role in story of Sub-Zero. Plus, she appears in MK9 as one of those fighting in the background on the second bridge of The Pit.

  • Moloch is an Oni, a hulking beast from the Netherrealm who first appeared in Deadly Alliance. In that timeline, he and Drahmin protect Quan Chi from Scorpion. While Moloch is certainly not a fan favorite, several Oni are present in the background of MK9 and some believe that Moloch is one of the ones imprisoned in Goro's Lair.

  • Despite her appearance, Ashrah is actually a demon from the Netherrealm. She first appeared in Deception as a former member of Quan Chi's Brotherhood of Shadow. Whether she is good or evil is up for debate. In that timeline, she carries a sword she believes to be holy enough to cleanse her soul with every demon she slays. The blade was actually a corrupt, vampire bane weapon. While Ashrah has very little interaction with any of the main roster, she is one of the most recognizable and memorable "new" characters to fans even if they often refer to her (quite inaccurately) as "female Raiden" thanks to her hat. Based purely on this recognizability, I'm putting her at the top of the list of those who did not have a cameo in MK9.

  • Kai is another Shaolin Monk from Earthrealm and first appeared in MK4. He is most remembered due to his weird handstand fighting style. Considering Raiden needs new Earthrealm heroes to help his cause, Kai should be near the top of his list.

  • Onaga, also known as the Dragon King, was the original ruler of Outworld before it was taken by Shao Kahn. He was referenced in Deadly Alliance but first appeared in Deception as the game's final boss. He was fairly important in the timeline of the later games, but, as we all know, the timeline has changed. Will Quan Chi seek to take control of the dormant, undefeatable army again? Who knows? Seems like he could become an "unforeseen" problem for Shinnok and Quan Chi's invasion though.

  • Blaze is an elemental guardian from Edenia created by Delia, the wife of the god known as Argus. In this original timeline, Delia and Argus had a vision from the future's inevitable armageddon. Blaze's primary purpose was to monitor the fighters of all the Mortal Kombat tournaments throughout the centuries, then awaken Argus and Delia's sons, Daegon and Taven, when the time was right. One of the sons would need to defeat Blaze to gain his god-like powers and put an end to the madness. He first appears in the background of The Pit II in MK2. He then appeared as a secret character, still without much backstory, in Deadly Alliance. But, his most important role was as the final boss in Armageddon. Considering MKX takes place over the course of 25 years and that Daegon had a cameo in MK9, I have to believe Blaze will play some role in the future events. Raiden is obsessed with avoiding Armageddon, and Blaze was created specifically for that purpose.

  • Taven, along with Daegon, is the son of the Edenian god known as Argus. He first appears as the protagonist of Armageddon's story mode. While Daegon has a cameo in MK9, Taven strangely does not. But, if Daegon is important enough to be referenced in this new timeline, Taven has to be out there somewhere...possibly still in a state of hibernation.

  • Tremor is the forgotten, brown palette-swap ninja. He first appeared in the ill-fated MK Special Forces and has had a cult following among MK fans ever since. He was planned for UMK3 but cut. He was planned for Armageddon but cut. He finally appeared again in the PlayStation Vita version of MK9 as an opponent and later as a playable character in the challenge tower, in which other characters directly reference his mysterious absence. Personally, I would love to see Tremor get a real backstory and his time to shine. He's been waiting for so long. The realist in me says no, but the nostalgic kid in me says please! Raiden needs more Earthrealm heroes, so let's do it!

  • Nitara is a vampire from Vaeternus, which is a realm that was conquered by Shao Kahn long ago and merged with Outworld. Nitara first appeared in Deadly Alliance where she was on a quest to separate her realm from Outworld once again. She is only tangentially related to the core events of the series, but is one of the more remembered characters of the later games due to her appearance.

  • Shujinko is an Earthrealm adventurer who first appeared in Deception as the game's story mode protagonist. In this timeline, he was ultimately duped by Onaga (Damashi) into reforging the Kamidogu, which led to the return of the Dragon King himself and the dire situation that Deception revolves around. Now that things have changed, it seems unlikely that Shujinko will play such an important role in the overarching story.

  • Kobra is a mercenary from Earthrealm and a member of Kabal's new Black Dragon clan when he is introduced in Deception. The only reason people remember him is that his name and appearance are a reference to The Karate Kid. I don't think anyone actually likes or cares about him, but Kira, who was Kobra's partner, had a cameo in MK9, so it is conceivable that Kobra is nearby as well. Conceivable, but unlikely.

  • Mavado is a mercenary and leader of the Red Dragon clan who first appeared in Deadly Alliane. He is most known for his grappling hook attacks and for presumably having killed Kabal (Mavado wields his hook swords). The whole Red Dragon storyline is totally forgettable, and considering Ed Boon has confirmed Hsu Hao is not going to return, it's unlikely that Mavado would either.

  • Hotaru is a Seidan warrior from Orderrealm who first appeared in Deception. In the original timeline, was devoted to doing everything possible to ensure Onaga, the Dragon King's victory in Mortal Kombat. He is one of the more forgettable characters from the later games.

  • Darrius is a Seidan terrorist who actively revolts against the peacekeeping rulers of his homeworld, Seido, in Orderrealm. He is easily one of the most forgettable characters of the later games and really doesn't play an important role in them at all anyway. You can probably just go on forgetting he ever existed.

  • Dairou is a former Seidan guard, like Hotaru, but, in a fit of rage, he killed an innocent man he believed to have killed his family. After escaping prison, he joined Darrius as a mercenary/terrorist. Darrius gave him the task of assassinating Hotaru, but the game never states whether or not he succeeded. If they don't care enough to tell you about this characters primary role in the game, you don't have to care enough to remember him, Darrius, or Hotaru.

  • Chameleon, along with Reptile, is one of the last members of the Saurian race from a lost realm known as Zaterra. He first appeared in the PlayStation version of MK Trilogy but did not have any actual story until Armageddon. He's basically a novelty character that has the powers of many, if not all, of the other colorful ninjas. The likelihood of him returning is slim to none.

  • Khameleon is the same as Chameleon except she has the powers of the palette-swapped women of the series. She first appeared in the N64 version of MK Trilogy, and keeping with the Nintendo theme, she returned as an exclusive in the Wii version of Armageddon. Like Chameleon, I don't see her making a return in MKX.

  • Jarek is a member of Kano's Black Dragon clan who first appeared in MK4. No one cares about Jarek. No one.

  • Meat was originally a joke character in MK4, but was given an actual backstory in Armageddon. In that timeline, it is explained that he was a failed experiment in Shang Tsung's Flesh Pits. The chances of a joke character coming back are slim, but some argue that the skinless corpse laying on the altar in The Cathedral in MK9 is him. Still, highly unlikely.

  • Mokap is a friend of Johnny Cage and is literally a guy in a motion capture suit. He first appeared in Deadly Alliance as a hidden character who is a tribute to Carlos Pesina, the long-time member of the MK team. Look...he's not coming back. I'm sorry.

  • On June 5, 2014, a fan asked Ed Boon on Twitter about the likelihood of Drahmin returning. Boon bluntly stated "Kinda unlikely, sorry."

  • Although Ed Boon is typically cryptic in his answers to questions from fans, on June 26, 2014, a fan asked him to name one character who would definitely not return in MKX. Boon gave a straight answer for once; "Hsu Hao."