4 Alternate Timelines Mortal Kombat Needs to Explore

Mortal Kombat in 2011 was the greatest example of reboot storytelling in any medium. I mean that with the utmost sincerity. It simultaneously managed to acknowledge everything that had happened over the course of all the games and still start completely over without erasing the universe thanks to Raiden sending a prophetic message to his younger self at the first tournament moments before his death in Armageddon. It was a genius idea.

These days fighting games have story modes so you know who wins. Back in the day you didn't find out how the tournaments really ended until the next installment filled in the gap. Now we do, but individual fighters still get their own unique endings that represent other alternate timelines outside the main story. Awesome as Mortal Kombat X looks there were some amazing next chapters hinted at in the endings that I kind of wish had made it into canon instead.

Such as...

Liu Kang Becomes an Insane God And Shang Tsung Must Defeat Him In Liu Kang's ending he takes his victory over Shao Kahn as a sign that he is the only true protector of Earthrealm, challenging Raiden to Mortal Kombat for his godhood. Liu Kang wins, but Shang Tsung's ending reveals that the power drove him mad and made him a tyrant among the gods. Tsung, who had consumed Shao Kahn's soul, was near suicide from the power until he is found by Bo Rai Cho and trained to harness that dark magic in order to defeat Liu Kang and save the realms.

How cool would that have been? We'd have a whole new reality where Shang Tsung is now the reluctant hero trying to overcome his long rival. Liu Kang's former allies would now be either his lieutenants in a theocratic dictatorship or his enemies. All of the old relationships change and we get to explore a villain in a brand new way. Best off, we'd actually get to see Earthrealm as the bad guy for a change.

Kano Starts The Matrix If Kano defeats Shao Kahn he uses the fortune he wins from killing the emperor to upgrade himself to the point where he is able to transfer his consciousness into databases. At first the Special Forces are able to trap him in their mainframe, but he evolves the ability to replicate himself like a virus and commands the weapons systems of the entire world.

It's always been a little silly how Mortal Kombat uses kung fu in world domination plots while still acknowledging that things like tanks exist. In the Kano timeline there's actually a reason to use nothing more complicated than a sword in a fight lest it turn against you. Also, having a war take place in a virtual computer world gives a whole new dimension to the cyberized Lin Kuei stories. There could be a whole dimension where they appear in their previous forms instead of trapped in metal shells. You could also "download" anyone you want to include in the game.

Jade Unleashes a New Antagonist
Probably no ending in Mortal Kombat was as odd or incomprehensible as Jade's. After killing Shao Kahn she falls unconscious and enters a dream world where she meets a mysterious woman (Possibly Delia) that has observed the universe for centuries. She decides to use Jade's body to enter our world and "re-imagine Shao Kahn's death".

My only beef with Mortal Kombat X is that Shinnok is a really, really boring villain. Even compared to Shao Kahn he's just not very well developed. It would be nice to see a truly new antagonist come out and take center stage instead of the same old big bads. Plus, the series could definitely benefit from a stronger female presence. After all, the most effective villain in Mortal Kombat was Sindel, who killed like half the roster in a single cutscene. Jade's timeline might have led us there.

Sheeva Rules Australia The rise and fall of the four-armed Shokan race has been a long part of the franchise mythos. Shao Kahn uses his favor to keep the Shokan, Tarkatan and Centaur people constantly at war so they don't challenge him. One of the most interesting twists on this theme happened in Sheeva's ending.

There not only did she overthrow the emperor, but she left Outworld's pointless wars to their own devices, having secure refuge for her people from Earthrealm. There they were granted the continent of Australia in return for adding their power and expertise in interdimensional combat to our defenses. Wouldn't it have been neat to see that world, say, 20 years later? An older Sheeva suddenly having to go to war, the way humans and Shokan would have interacted with each other, maybe even instead of an external invasion seeing terrorists opposed to the Shokan race beginning a violent hate campaign that threatens the alliance.

I've been following the Mortal Kombat X comic that sets up the coming game's basic story. It really does look like a step above the rest as far as fighting game storytelling, but let's all pour one out for the roads not taken.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner