Video game adaptations have had a messy history within cinema. They have a terrible record of being... well, not great. That goes for most of them, and it's a trend that has been difficult to break. Thankfully, the situation has shown signs of change, such as the positive reception to projects like Sonic and Uncharted. One of the most successful examples in recent years was the recent take on Mortal Kombat.
Previously, it was reported that Mortal Kombat was the best weekend of any of Warner Bros.' releases on HBO Max. The movie garnered a total of 3.8 million viewers within its first few days on the service. Coming in just behind the video game adaptation were Godzilla vs. Kong and The Suicide Squad.
Surprisingly, the film sits at a middling 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a more impressive 86% audience score. Knowing that those scores are considered good for video game movies should paint a fairly detailed picture of expectations when it comes to adapting games. Clearly, despite any flaws present, the project gained a following.
So when can fans expect the anticipated sequel to arrive? While that information isn't known just yet, The Direct was able to sit down with the writer of the sequel to talk about how development is coming along.
Moon Knight Writer on Mortal Kombat's Unexpected Story
In an exclusive interview with The Direct's Russ Milheim, Mortal Kombat 2 writer Jeremy Slater opened up about how the script for the upcoming film is coming along.
Slater admitted how "it's [been] really fun so far," and that "[they're] about halfway through the script," with one of their main goals being to "make something that is just incredibly satisfying, and really exciting, and unpredictable:"
“It’s really fun so far. We’re about halfway through the script. I’m working really closely with the director and the studios, and the game guys, and I think—I can’t say anything about the actual story, but I think they definitely learned some lessons the last time around in terms of, ‘Here’s the stuff fans responded to, and here’s what people liked out of the movie, and here’s the stuff that didn’t work out as well as we hoped.' So we’re really looking at this as a chance to take everything that worked in the first one and do it even better and give the audience even more, and make something that is just incredibly satisfying, and really exciting, and unpredictable."
The writer made it clear how he "[doesn't] think it's necessarily going to have the same tone as the MCU," and that the Mortal Kombat universe is a weird one, something he aims to "embrace:"
"I don’t think it’s necessarily going to have the same tone as the MCU, but it’s definitely going to have some of my sensibilities. That was part of my pitch to them. This is Mortal Kombat. We have guys who are ripping off their faces and breathing fire—it’s a weird universe, let's embrace some of that weirdness, and let’s make a Mortal Kombat sequel that no one is expecting and that can kind of sneak in and blow everyone away. We’re still really early in that process, but I’m having a blast with this script.”
The Mortal Kombat Tournament Commences?
Hopefully, for Mortal Kombat 2, the story might actually live up to the premise of the games: showcasing the actual tournament that is the namesake of the entire franchise. Even those who enjoyed the film questioned the decision not to include the event in the 2021 movie.
It would be hard to imagine Slater, or any of the other creatives behind the scenes, avoiding the big competition once again for the sequel. They’ve already introduced the world and several of its main characters, such as Lewis Tan's Cole Young and Hiroyuki Sanada's Scorpion. So, there’s a lot less leg work to do in that arena.
Hopefully, Slater's tease of an unexpected story doesn't indicate that they aim to subvert expectations by not putting together the big tournament everyone is expecting. After all, putting fighter against fighter is the perfect way to have all the fanfare possible, as those who love the original games are still waiting to see names like Baraka, Johnny Cage, and Shao Kahn make their debut.
For those who want to check out other projects that Jeremy Slater has written, he was recently the head writer for the Marvel Studios Disney+ show Moon Knight, which just finished airing its first season. Another highly popular series benefiting from his skillset are the first two seasons of Netflix's Umbrella Academy.
Mortal Kombat is now streaming on HBO Max.