Greg Russo, who worked as a co-writer for the Mortal Kombat reboot, reveals some of the story details for the franchise’s trilogy plans.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat co-writer Greg Russo has just revealed some details about plans for the newly rebooted movie franchise. On April 23, the film premiered in the U.S. on HBO Max, almost 26 years after the original Mortal Kombat film hit theaters in August 1995.
The film is based on the Mortal Kombat video games, a series known for its over-the-top violence. The game was released in 1992, and its success led to the live-action movie. The first Mortal Kombat movie had an $18 million budget and earned $122 million at the box office, so it was a clear-cut financial success for producers, even if it got poor reviews from critics. The 1997 sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, didn’t perform nearly as well as its predecessor and got even worse reviews, and, up until this month, the world hadn’t seen a live-action Mortal Kombat movie since. Back in 2011, plans to release a new live-action Mortal Kombat film were announced, and now, it’s finally out—and the folks behind it are looking to keep the franchise going in the near future.
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As Russo told Collider, he didn’t approach the Mortal Kombat script as a one-and-done film. He has plans for two additional movies to pick up where the latest film ended:
“Movie one, we were always kind of setting this up as — well I was setting it up, it’s basically in my head — I always saw [movie one] as pre-tournament, then [movie two is] hopefully tournament, then [movie three is] post-tournament. So the idea was that this was going to be a pre-tournament movie that would hopefully sow the seeds for the tournament, the final.”
Russo also explained how important it was to make sure that the new Mortal Kombat worked as a self-contained film even if he imagined it as part of a trilogy:
“Everybody was focused on movie one, right? You don’t get a trilogy without it. But as a writer, you should never be painting yourself in a corner, that’s my motto. You should always be thinking about ‘Where can your story go even beyond the two hours — this is not a lot of time — that I have to tell this story? Where else can it go?’ So I always saw it as leading up to something bigger.”
While there’s been no official word on when, or even if, the new Mortal Kombat film will get a sequel, producer Todd Garner has said that he wants to make a movie with Johnny Cage as the central character. Because Garner and the rest of the Mortal Kombat production team wanted to focus on the cohesion of the characters, they decided to leave Cage out of this particular Mortal Kombat, citing his large personality as a reason for the move.
The future of the Mortal Kombat film series isn’t quite clear, but its latest movie has sparked a lot of fresh interest in the franchise. It’s trended on social media and gotten better critical reviews than the original Mortal Kombat movies, so, it’s definitely got some momentum. If the studio executives like what they see, Russo’s plans for a Mortal Kombat trilogy might just materialize.
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