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LUDI LIN as Liu Kang and MAX HUANG as Kung Lao in Mortal Kombat (2021) Photo: Mark Rogers/Warner Bros. Pictures

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First Mortal Kombat movie photos: Sub-Zero, Jax, Sonya, and Liu Kang revealed

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Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The years-in-the-making Mortal Kombat movie reboot is almost here. On Friday, Warner Bros. revealed the first images of director Simon McQuoid’s upcoming film, which is slated to hit movie theaters and HBO Max in April. It’s our first look at iconic Mortal Kombat characters Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Jax, Sonya, and Kano, and the debut of newcomer Cole Young. (No, not Kole Young.)

According to an official story synopsis from Warner Bros., Cole is a mixed martial arts fighter who bears a mysterious birthmark — one in the shape of the Mortal Kombat dragon logo. Cole is also the target of Sub-Zero, the ninja cryomancer sent from Outworld to Earthrealm by Shang Tsung to — one has to assume — remove the MMA fighter’s spinal column. Exactly why Shang Tsung wants Cole fatalitied is unclear.

Here’s Cole, as portrayed by Lewis Tan (Wu Assassins), and Sub-Zero, played by Joe Taslim (The Raid):

Lewis Tan as Cole in Mortal Kombat (2021)
Lewis Tan as Cole
Photo: Mark Rogers/Warner Bros. Pictures
JOE TASLIM as Sub-Zero/Bi-Han in Mortal Kombat (2021)
Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero/Bi-Han
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Fearing for his family’s safety, Warner Bros. Pictures says, “Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with.” Here’s Jax and Sonya, played by Mehcad Brooks and Jessica McNamee, respectively, in the new Mortal Kombat movie.

Mehcad Brooks as Jax in Mortal Kombat (2021)
Mehcad Brooks as Jax
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
JOSH LAWSON as Kano and JESSICA MCNAMEE as Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat (2021)
Josh Lawson as Kano and Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Cole will find refuge under Lord Raiden, the thunder god protector of Earthrealm. According to Warner Bros., Raiden grants sanctuary to warriors who bear the dragon mark seen on Cole, Jax, and others. That includes Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Kano, who are played by Ludi Lin, Max Huang, and Josh Lawson, respectively. They’ll train together as they “[prepare] to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.”

LUDI LIN as Liu Kang and MAX HUANG as Kung Lao in Mortal Kombat (2021)
Ludi Lin as Liu Kang and Max Huang as Kung Lao
Photo: Mark Rogers/Warner Bros. Pictures
Josh Lawson as Kano in Mortal Kombat (2021)
Josh Lawson as Kano
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

One has to assume a Kano heel turn at some point, given everything we know about Kano.

According to a preview from Entertainment Weekly, the Mortal Kombat movie will begin in feudal Japan, with a battle between Sub-Zero/Bi-Han and Scorpion/Hanzo Hasashi, before they acquired their arcana-powered supernatural abilities. Things will invariably go badly for the rival ninja warriors from there.

JOE TASLIM as Sub-Zero/Bi-Han and HIROYUKI SANADA as Scorpion/Hanzo Hasashi in Mortal Kombat (2021)
Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero/Bi-Han and Hirouyuki Sanada as Scorpion/Hanzo Hasashi
Photo: Mark Rogers/Warner Bros. Pictures

McQuoid and screenwriter Greg Russo have indicated that the new Mortal Kombat will not be a PG-13 affair. Instead, expect violent R-rated action and fatalities on film when the movie hits theaters and streams on HBO Max on April 16.