The Mortal Kombat reboot is almost here, and while I don't know for certain it'll be the first of many, It does already seem like there are indicators Warner Bros. is open to that. If sequels are on the table, but there comes a point where there's a shortage of characters to use, I have a wonderful suggestion that could really make this franchise over the top.
For a Mortal Kombat sequel, I'd love to see the franchise embrace a trend its gaming universe has wholeheartedly accepted by featuring cameos from characters of other franchises. As crazy and batshit as it may sound, I think there's reason to believe that this would not only improve the Mortal Kombat film franchise, but that it could actually happen.
A History Of Mortal Kombat Cameos
The Mortal Kombat world first opened its doors to cameos in gaming when it partnered with DC Comics to make Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The game pit characters like Superman and Sub-Zero against each other, and the result was kind of weird. In fact, the access to the DC characters required the game to be rated Teen, which kept the gore in this outing far lighter than other Mortal Kombat games.
While Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was not an example of these cameos at their best, it did open the doors to much greater collaborations between other franchises and the Mortal Kombat universe. Future Mortal Kombat games featured more appropriate characters for the universe, such as Jason Voorhees, Spawn, Leatherface and John Rambo. The franchise even managed to bring Joker back in the latest game, and it turns out the characters work really well, provided they're allowed to sink to the murderous depths of the Mortal Kombat universe.
These characters have joined Mortal Kombat in the gaming world to widespread acclaim, which makes me wonder if they'd be received the same way in a Mortal Kombat film. Imagine the level of hype there'd be if Robocop or even Predator appeared in a trailer for a sequel. The response would be wild, and at the very least, make audiences curious for what the hell comes next in the sequel.
Why Characters From Other Franchises Wouldn't Complicate Mortal Kombat
At its basest level, the Mortal Kombat franchise has always been about the Earthrealm vs. the Outworld. These respective parties participate in a tournament, and occasionally said tournament decides whether or not Earth will be conquered and devoured into the Outworld. It's really not more complicated than that, which makes it much easier to throw in characters from different franchises.
If a character from another franchise is human or a character who's a known resident of Earth, obviously they'd be brought in via the Earthrealm. If their powers are more mystical, otherworldly or unexplainable, put them in the Outerworld. It's really that simple from a story perspective, and the only unifier these characters need is their stance on Earth's survival.
I can picture it in my mind right now. Sub-Zero and Scorpion are battling it out, and as the two are raging, an explosive detonates. The two jump back confused, and after a whistle, they look up and Jared Leto's Joker is smiling back at them with a grenade launcher in his hands. It'd be ridiculously crazy, but in the world of Mortal Kombat, not really at all. This franchise has dudes with metal arms and a guy with a laser eye, so what's a murderous clown with a twisted sense of humor?
Even more extreme examples, like Leatherface or Freddy Kreuger, slide so perfectly into Mortal Kombat as well. Really, just take any character from pop culture who is good at killing things and they're a match for Mortal Kombat. It sounds corny, but this franchise could essentially make itself an R-rated version of The LEGO Movie if it can find enough key characters across other franchises willing to be involved.
Could Warner Bros. Pull Off This Kind Of Craziness?
Honestly, it may not be a question of whether or not Mortal Kombat could pull something like this off, but whether Warner Bros. would pay for the licensing fees for other characters. I say that right after I mention The LEGO Movie, which came from the same studio. Like I said, just turn a Mortal Kombat sequel into an R-rated LEGO Movie, and it's as easy as that!
Well, theoretically, anyway. Obviously Warner Bros. has access to the MonsterVerse and DC characters, but beyond that, there would need to be some outsourcing to other franchises for Mortal Kombat characters of the murderous variety. Unless, of course, you want a movie with things like Foghorn Leghorn ripping spines from bodies and Fred Flintstone sliding down a brontosaurus tail and curb-stomping Raiden into oblivion. I'd honestly probably be cool with seeing both of those, but I'm probably an outlier on that front.
Obviously, I can't speak for Warner Bros. and what it'd be willing to spend on some characters to appear in a Mortal Kombat movie. That said, if the first movie is a cash cow and the powers at be are receptive to the idea of doing something that would truly honor the spirit of the games and get audiences excited, who's to say what's possible and impossible?
All I can do is put the idea out in the universe and hope against all hope that my pipe dream, which even raised a few eyebrows in the work chat when I suggested it, can come true. Think of it this way: the sooner Warner Bros. sees the potential in blending Mortal Kombat with other franchises, the sooner we may see an adaptation of a more extreme DC tale. I mean, if the SnyderVerse is dead, it's only a matter of time before Injustice: Gods Among Us gets adapted, right?