Report: Details Emerge From Early Draft of Live-Action 'Mortal Kombat' Script
Note: A previous version of this article noted that “Morino” is a Japanese surname. While this is true, it’s also an Italian surname. The article has been updated to reflect that fact.
Several weeks ago we were blessed by the casting elder gods when Joe Taslim was tapped to play Sub-Zero in the upcoming Mortal Kombat film. This week has come with another batch of interesting updates, namely regarding Cole Turner, the original character rumored to be at the center of the MK reboot.
Firstly, let me just say that I’m not a scooper. I’m not trying to pass this information off as being 100% factual and I’m certainly not out here for the clicks. The information came to me from a reliable source and is based on a script that’s likely still undergoing revisions given writer Greg Russo’s tweet from last month.
So, It’s safe to say the story details covered in this article have likely been revised in some way or may no longer be in play at all. Still, I figured the information was worth sharing. So let’s go to it. Needless to say, spoilers ahead.
About that Cole Turner Guy…
The most controversial detail hovering over the Mortal Kombat fandom is the addition of newcomer Cole Turner to the upcoming film. The rumors surrounding Cole suggest he’s meant to be the audience character and serve as our window into the insanity that is the MK tournament. You see, Cole is a washed-up boxer with a daughter he has to protect. He also turns into Scorpion at the end.
But in the script, Cole Turner’s name is actually Cole Morino. That should ease some concerns about WB whitewashing Scorpion as Morino is a common Japanese surname (though it’s also an Italian one so…yikes). He also doesn’t transform into the yellow-clad ninja wraith either, though can harness Scorpion’s power (more on that later) due to paternal lineage. Yep, Cole is Scorpion’s estranged son. The short of it is that Scorpion is originally from Outworld and fathered Cole with an undisclosed woman from Earthrealm. He then realized Cole would be in danger so he left him at a hospital and returned to Outworld.
Now let’s use the Mortal Kombat 11 ending, which sees Fire God Liu Kang and Kitana reshaping the MK timeline, as a jumping-off point to shape our view of these changes. In that sense, you can play around with the canon since it technically doesn’t exist anymore. Scorpion’s relationship with Cole doesn’t rule out the feud between the Shirai Ryu and the Lin Kuei clans. And It doesn’t erase the bloody consequences of that feud. It only posits that Scorpion was able to temporarily insulate his son from it all. It does put Scorpions origins in Outworld, however, which wouldn’t be too big of a deal except…
The paternal bloodline is the deciding factor in Mortal Kombat…
Essentially, wherever your dad is from is where you’re from concerning the big tournament. Scorpion could’ve very well grown up in Japan, but since he’s fought for Outworld that means his paternal line originated there. From the script, the other possibility is that he died and was resurrected in Outworld, allowing him to fight for Shang Tsung. Of course, that would also imply that he fathered a son as a specter.
This presents a bit of a problem for fans who are used to seeing characters like Kano fight for the opposing side. To add to that, a fighter can’t even compete unless they have a medallion. And you have to either inherit the medallion like Cole or kill the previous owner like Kano. While those details remove Raiden’s Seven Samurai-style recruitment, they do replace it with some in-story logic for more fights. Plus, the medallions carry added weight because…
The medallions are the catalysts For the characters’ powers…
Unlike the games, which eventually establish that Shang Tsung’s island is what brings out the characters’ hidden powers, the film introduces the concept of the Arcana. The Arcana is the true power within each warrior that only can emerge through intense training after possessing a medallion.
Cole’s Arcana, achieved by pretty much getting the shit kicked out of him and nearly seeing his daughter smushed to death by Goro, is a fiery kunai spearhead that shoots out of his arm via a synthetic cable. It’s the film’s not-so-subtle way of hinting at Cole’s origins before the big reveal and also serves as a callback to 1995’s Mortal Kombat.
Sonya, on the other hand, achieves her Arcana in a way that’s bound to earn some side-eye from fans. The thing is, she’s the only warrior in the film who doesn’t start with a medallion. Instead, she has to wait until the big climax when she mercy kills Kano to get his Jesus piece. It’s a choice that seemingly exists only to establish a bond between these two characters. And given these two characters have a well-documented hatred for one another that has survived multiple mediums and timelines, I can’t imagine diehards will quietly accept the change.
As I said, these details are from an earlier draft of the script and there’s no telling what kind of updates Russo has made to it since then. Earlier this year he took to Twitter to get fan input on the story. So, there’s a strong chance he’s refining it to align more with the games’ canon.
If some of the changes are here to stay, the fandom just needs to remember that even the games have toyed with well-known characters’ histories. Just look at it as one of the many separate timelines that diverge from the main two depicted in the games. Beyond all of that, just wait for the finished product and judge it on its own merits. We can at least do that right?