Mortal Kombat Ending: How The Film Sets Up A Future Of Karnage

Mehcad Brooks shoots his frozen shotgun at Joe Taslim in Mortal Kombat.

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Warning: Spoilers for Mortal Kombat are in play. If you haven’t tested your might with this film just yet, you may want to take the next portal out of here and return once you’re current.

After decades of wishing, hoping, and eventually finding its way out of development hell, Mortal Kombat is finally back on the big screen. Fans and newcomers alike should be thrilled by the action on display, as director Simon McQuoid’s video game blockbuster provides yet another reimagining of this arcade classic.

On top of the nostalgia that the movie is undoubtedly going to inspire, the Mortal Kombat ending is exciting in that it displays the potential for future carnage, or should we say karnage, that awaits the audience. If you haven’t seen the film yet, consider this your last warning, as well as a suggestion to head over to HBO Max to check out the movie while you can. If you’re still with us, let’s get into what happens at the end of Mortal Kombat, and how it leads to the next step.

Scorpion appears in the frozen gym in Mortal Kombat.

What Happens At The End Of Mortal Kombat?

Throughout the events of Mortal Kombat, Shang Tsung (Chin Han) is scheming to complete his takeover of the Earthrealm. While not technically winning his potential victory through a traditional tournament, his systematic execution of Earthrealm’s champions through various fighters at his disposal would have still counted as a defeat. Thankfully, the chosen fighters of our world did not fail to put an end to Shang Tsung’s evil plot.

After a quick timeout in The Void, Cole Young (Lewis Tan) and the remaining Earthrealm champions in Mortal Kombat engage in single combat with their evil counterparts. Everything leads up to the main event, where Cole takes on the iconic Sub Zero (Joe Taslim) in order to save his family, and finish the fight. Which leads to an even greater rematch between Sub Zero, also known as Bi-Han, and Cole’s distant relative, Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada.) Though you’d know him by his other name: Scorpion.

Unlocking the spirit of Hanzo through his own blade, the legendary enemies fight each other once more, with Hanzo besting Bi-Han as he had promised so long ago. Shang Tsung is defeated, for now, but Earthrealm’s champions are already preparing for their next round. Which means new fighters are going to be needed to beef up the roster.

Joe Taslim stabs Hiroyuki Sanada with his blade in Mortal Kombat.

The Ballad Of Hanzo Hasashi And Bi-Han

Mortal Kombat’s climactic ending is the resolution of quite possibly the greatest grudge match present in this story. As the film opens, we see Hanzo Hasashi’s previous life, as a farmer and family man in 1617. It doesn’t take long for things to go wrong, as Hasashi’s family is killed, frozen by Bi-Han himself. His mission is to extinguish the Hasashi bloodline, and it looks like he succeeds, too.

Though he’s an expert with his blade, Hanzo is killed by Bi-Han, who then leaves thinking he’s done his job. There’s just one problem: a child of Hasashi blood survived, and eventually that child is saved by Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), which allows Hanzo Hasashi’s bloodline to continue. Which, in turn, means that the Mortal Kombat prophecy Shang Tsung has been trying to prevent from coming to pass endures.

Lewis Tan looks at his taped up hands before a fight in Mortal Kombat.

Cole Young’s Fateful Destiny

Right from the start, Mortal Kombat informs its audience of the high stakes riding on the Hasashi family, as well as the Mortal Kombat tournament itself. Earthrealm’s potential invasion is mentioned in a title card after the Hanzo Hasashi/Bi-Han prologue. However, another important fact is mentioned in the final portion of that prophecy:

A new group of champions will be united by the rise of Hanzo Hasashi’s Blood.

Surprise! Cole Young’s visions of Hanzo/Scorpion’s spirit, and his trademark blade, are foreshadowing that Cole is actually a Hasashi! And, by the end of Mortal Kombat, he’s united the champions of Earthrealm, and taken out Sub Zero with the help of his ancestor. However, Shang Tsung isn’t going to give up that easily; and as such, Cole, Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee,) Liu Kang (Ludi Lin,) and Jax (Mehcad Brooks) are going to need to keep their guard up for that potential rematch.

Johnny Cage holds his own action figure smugly in Mortal Kombat 11.

It Has Begun: How Mortal Kombat Sets Up Its Potential Future

With Shang Tsung very much alive, and very much looking to conquer the Earthrealm, Mortal Kombat has prime built-in sequel potential coursing through its veins. There are plenty of heroes and villains in the legendary Midway/Netherealm franchise’s roster who could be brought into the series. In the most brazen hint towards the future of Mortal Kombat yet, director Simon McQuoid’s movie ends with one surefire sign of who might be included in the next roster.

As he officially resigns as a down and out MMA fighter, Cole is about to seek one Earthrealm champion in particular to join the team. Leaving the locker room with a smile on his face, we see a poster advertising a new action film: Citizen Cage, starring Hollywood superstar Johnny Cage. Since all of Mortal Kombat’s champions have been told by Lord Raiden to recruit only the best fighters, there’s a possibility that $500 sunglasses are the beginning of the surprises we’re going to see in the potential sequel.

By the time Mortal Kombat ends, there are tons of Easter eggs, hints, and flat out signs that point to where the future of the series could go. New fighters that weren’t shown in the first film will be present, and even more outlandish locations will be on display as battlegrounds. Perhaps most importantly, greater villains could show themselves in a future Mortal Kombat movie, leading to greater fatalities and moments of bloodletting. And, as Shang Tsung himself promised, he'll bring armies to the next round, and since "death is another portal," we might find some old enemies returning from the grave.

Should you have read through this rundown without seeing the movie, you can catch Mortal Kombat streaming on HBO Max until May 23rd, as well as in theaters. But, if you’re looking to see what other 2021 new movie releases are going to be headed your way, we’ve got a schedule that can tell you just what to look forward to.

You don’t need a magical family blood dagger to see what’s coming to a theater near you, but if you are an HBO Max newcomer, you’re going to need a subscription to get in on the action. Which is why you should check out the six-month prepaid subscription discount the platform is currently offering.

Up next: Watch The 'Mortal Kombat' Cast Talk Spoilers And More

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.