Mortal Kombat live-action digital series in development

Warner Bros. announces series of shorts based on last year's Mortal Kombat: Rebirth trailer; will offer background on main characters.

Last June, the Internet was roiled by a live-action online short called "Mortal Kombat: Rebirth." The nearly eight-minute film, which received over 10 million views on YouTube, shows a reimagined Mortal Kombat universe and features glimpses of Reptile, Baraka, Johnny Cage, Sonya, and Scorpion. It is mostly set inside a Deacon City police department interrogation room, where Jackson "Jax" Briggs (played by Michael Jai White of Spawn and Black Dynamite fame) is proposing a deal to a prisoner obscured by shadows.

Michael Jai White may be back in the Mortal Kombat digital series.

Playing the role of Sonya was Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager and Boston Public), who later revealed via Twitter that the short was "was made for the director to sell [Warner Bros.] on his vision for a reimagined MK film." The director in question was Kevin Tancharoen (the 2009 remake of Fame), who has gotten his wish--sort of.

Today, Warner Bros. announced that its Warner Premiere digital production label will be making a series of shorts based on Mortal Kombat: Rebirth starting next month. Directed by Tancharoen, the series will "take gamers deep into the history of warriors they know and love such as Scorpion, Johnny Cage, and Liu Kang." It begins filming in Vancouver in February and will be distributed via "online digital retailers" in the spring.

As for casting, Warner Bros. said that "additional details would be revealed in the coming weeks." However, an unconfirmed report on horror-film blog Bloody Disgusting says White will reprise his role as Briggs in the series.

The next game in the Mortal Kombat series, simply titled Mortal Kombat, is due out on April 19 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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Discussion

126 comments
casey_mcqueen
casey_mcqueen

Digital Shorts... Reminds me of Alan Wake's mini series

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

@JabbaRancor rofl! ...well, actually i was measuring success by my opinion about the movie as well as word of mouth. xD ...don't get me wrong i didn't think those movies were perfect or how i planned, and like most who probably follow the comics and game was disappointed in some of the changes made in the story, but all in all. i was personally pleased, and it seems like quite a number of other people thought they were good... i'm just saying... can't please everyone... :\

SunnySkyNL
SunnySkyNL

if they go back to the original character and story design I'm all over it, the direction the director took on his own was cool but not for me, I like the MK universe as it is :)

BH_SPiKe
BH_SPiKe

You guys know that this series won't actually be based on the actual Rebirth short, right? Yeah, it's being directed by Kev T, but it's being produced by WB as a tie-in to the new video game.

JabbaRancor
JabbaRancor

@KaizerJinn X-men 3 and Wolverine were terrible. If we're measuring success as sales then, yes they would be considered successful. And I'm pretty sure there's never been a good video game to movie transition.

TheDreamSeeker
TheDreamSeeker

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

it has potential... some really good comics and games turn movies was successful (ex: Ironman 1&2, Hulk, Blade, Spawn, X-Men 1-3, Wolverine, etc...), and i'm glad because it shows that it's possible to get it right... imho... i'm just saying... xD

Hylian-Jedi
Hylian-Jedi

Ah, so it will be a series, will it? Interesting! After viewing the 8-minute short, it seems like they will be giving it a "Dark Knight" style treatment.

jramosx
jramosx

@scorpion1813 you're right friend. that is why i'd rather play metal gear solid than see a big screen "adaptation" for exactly the reasons you stated. they would have to cut out too much to make it worth seeing. i also 100 hundred percent agree with the cgi movie approach ESPECIALLY if the developers of the game were directly involved. Resident Evil degeneration was better than all 3 of the "adaptation" movies put together for the simple fact that it WAS cgi wich allowed completley accurate representations of the characters from the game they were doing the story about. it was also a cool story. on the other hand, im not above game movies like that halo one i saw the other day. cool stories and mostly fantastic art made for a really good movie. thanks for the feedback friend, im glad im not the only person who believes that good video game movies are possible, it jus depends on how they're handled. as for this particular mk "reimagining" hey anything is better than nothin. i really liked the first one and i wish the second one didn't suck so much but hey, if they can pull this off, it would be bad ass. the dude playin jax in this trailer is a badazz martial artist. he could lend a lot of credibility to the movie or whatever they're tryin to do here.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@jramosx Thing is, some games don't need to be made into movies. Like the Metal Gear Solid series - they are basically a series of movies in themselves. One games worth of cut scenes would be enough to make a series of movies longer than the Star Wars series. Making a live action movie of these games would mean lots would be cut out. Not only because of time restrictions, but for "pacing" too. I agree the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 would be good as a movie (instead of remaking them as a new game), but I personally would rather they make a CGI movie instead of it being Live-action. Same applies for Uncharted - they would be better of either making a CGI movie with all the same actors, or use the same actors in a live action movie (since the actors look and sound like the characcters anyway). Also, if a CGI movie is made, it should be the game company that made the game in the first place (Kojima Productions makes a CGI Metal Gear movie, etc). I also hope that Hollywood will one day make a good movie that can stay true to the original game. It's the reason why I watched that trailer in the first place. It was only after I had watched it and found out what it was like that I made an opinion. So I am open-minded, I have just seen enough of this to make a decision on an opinion

Cannibaldmc
Cannibaldmc

THIS LOOKS AMAZING :) i have a massive grin!

jramosx
jramosx

why do gamers always get upset when movies take liberties with a game franchise? if hollywood jus made an exact, live action replica of your favorite game then whats the point of playing the game? take metal gear for example. It would be awesome if they made a movie but only if they did it about, i don't know, the first metal gear? not solid, but the original metal gear story. hollywood does have issues with video game adaptations because yes, theyre usually jus cashing in on a great franchise but if they put the right people on something like mortal kombat, you know use the universe and do their very own interpretation of it, then maybe gamers could respect video game movies a little more. jus the opinion of an open minded gamer who carries a shred of hope that eventually hollywood can do a good video game movie. and i did like this trailer an id like to see more. they should stop killing johnny cage though the basterds!

Tha_DRP
Tha_DRP

The new MK game looks promising and I look forward to reliving the fatal art that is Mortal Kombat!

sco-fisticated
sco-fisticated

neet. that's awesome. may not be a movie, but it's something.

xCasadoRx
xCasadoRx

I so want to remain optimistic about the quality of the series.I hope it's MK done right.I don't mind if they make it a little bit main stream, but I would like if they put something that just fans of the games will get.

DKant
DKant

Very well executed! But I somehow prefer the cartoony interpretations of the characters to these grimy/disfigured ones. I mean, if they were just "gritty" and not gross, I wouldn't mind that at all. I personally don't care about a realistic explanation or evolution of the characters' look - appreciate the effort, but I don't want to turn away in disgust!

MonkeySpot
MonkeySpot

Looks promising. Gotta be better than that horrid TV show they did ten years ago or so...

Offworlder1
Offworlder1

Well this is good, liked the short as its a good idea for a reimaging of the MK story and characters.

japanesegoth
japanesegoth

here's a stupid comparison. the original is romeo and juliet. this new one is westside story

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@majere613 The main problem is that Hollywood just simply does not respect the games industry. Movies are only made to "cash-in" on the popularity of the game. This usually means when games get turned into movies, the source material is changed to try and make a more appealling version, as interpreted by Hollywood. Thing is, if the games story was popular enough that a movie be made about it, Isn't it already widely appealling, and does it really need changing? As far as "spending time setting up the world" goes, it wouldn't take so long if they stuck to the source material. Granted there will still be people who see the movie without having played the game, but really the movie should be made for those who have played it. Regardless of all this, trying to cram a 10+ hour storyline from a game into a 2 hour movie just doesn't work. More-so if it's a game like Mortal Kombat where all characters have unique stories that may or may not crosspaths with others. Making a mini-series, having each episode focus on a specific character can help resolve that, but if the end material still doesn't work as a whole, it doesn't matter how it is presented.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@mykel77 I saw the pitched video embeded in the article when it first came out and it gives a pretty clear indication of what they are aiming for. What I'm saying is that it is too far away from Mortal Kombat that it shouldn't be allowed to use the MK name. If they dropped the MK title, and changed all the characters names, I would be more than happy to accept it for what it is. What I will not do is accept it for its accociation with MK. I like MK for what it is, and I don't like what this Rebirth is doing with the characters or the events/plot. That's my opinion. Close-minded? Yes. Childish? No. @rixtaslayer "resent" = feel indignant or bitter about. I feel bitter at what they are doing to something I have loved for the majority of my life. I dare to resent whatever the hell I feel dislike for. I don't need to pay for it before I am allowed to have feelings towards it. A better question would be: How dare you disregard someones feelings and opinions when you can't seem to understand them? "They're not using this Fantasy Garbage" You call youself a fan of MK yet you call it's mythology and lore "fantasy garbage". One meaning of "fantasy" is "imagination unrestricted by reality", thus allowing for more creative thinking and storytelling. MK, even with all it's plotholes and inconsistances, has the best story in any fighting game. To restrict it to reality would be to take away its creativity and its soul (identity).

oneligas
oneligas

Mk Rebirth was so bad it made me and my friends rebarf

rixtaslayer
rixtaslayer

LOL How can you DARE Resent something you have no Part in? :) Your a Fan/Customer, Only thing you could Possibly resent is Paying for it.. It's a Mortal Kombat based on Reality, Their not using this Fantasy Garbage, They are gonna show you how Bad they can make a movie, with lil CGI and Outstanding Graphics.. The movie is gonna blow the Box office AWAY!!! I mean C'mon a 7 minute trailer? lol I'm more Excited on the game than the Movie, buut Everyone loves a good story, And as long as they keep adding, I don't see a Reason to Complain.. Be a True fan or STFU and Worry about some other Crap like COD or or Twilight :) .Riki. P.S Sub-Zero, Kung Lao, Noob Saibot, Smoke, Cyrax, Sektor, & Reptile are thee Best :)

majere613
majere613

This is an interesting approach. Traditionally, one of the big problems with adapting games to TV or cinema is that you have to spend time setting up the world, characters etc and then run out of time to do all that much with them. Doing it through a series of shorts like this sidesteps that problem quite neatly.

mykel77
mykel77

saying that you cant accept this without even seeing it is pretty immature and childish. give it a chance.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@B-Greezy The first two movies were made around the time the first two-to-three games were made - games that contained very little in the way of story (or at least a solid canon one). Since then, later games in the series (including: sequels, prequels, etc), have elaborated upon those orignal stories. Thanks to games like MKM Sub-Zero, Shaolin Monks, and the up-coming MK9, there is more than enough source material to make a good movie that STAYS TRUE to the "source material". My favourite character has always been Scorpion - the main reasons I liked him was because he was an UNDEAD NINJA that can manipulate hellfire. Reasons I like Ermac is because he is a collection of thousands of souls; Raiden because he is a thunder god, shoots lightning, and even turns himself into light to teleport; Motaro because he's a centaur; Kintaro/Goro because they're half-dragon, 4-armed beasts! None of that will be in Rebirth. In fact, most MK characters won't be there at all because they are too far fetched. This is too far from MK to be called MK, and for that I resent it. My problem with Rebirth is that it ignores all the things that make MK what it is (at least in my opinion of what MK is, and should be). Whether or not Rebirth has the best story, acting, fighting, and special effects in the world, I just cannot and will not accept it as being MORTAL KOMBAT.

mykel77
mykel77

this is going to be great!! conquest is gut wrenching awful to watch as its so corny. hopefully this director will bring realism and depth to an amazing story. well, one through 3 had a great story. The MK cast really have alot of potential and character. its not like other fighters where they are so far fetched like tekken or cheesy like street fighter. MK actually has death and consequences with some real drama there with siblings, revenge, family(sindel) and betrayal(tanya) im excited. i loved the tanya story line because she was forced to be who she is, theres alot of mystery to her and other mk fighters. yay!

BSEE10
BSEE10

@Steyrvolt apology accepted! =)

langrisser2005
langrisser2005

Why not make another TV series of Mortal Kombat? MK: Conquest was an awesome show! Even with low budget.

firehawk998
firehawk998

Well I actually liked the short rebirth video. Hope it turns it well and also I want the new mini series to follow Scorpion like they did in the rebirth short. Also Black Dynamite playing Jaxx Hell yeah.

Steyrvolt
Steyrvolt

@BSEE10 Will do. Apologies to you and everyone else. Didn't realize we'd posted quite that many times.

BSEE10
BSEE10

@Steyrvolt @TheTruoeMagusX1 Will you two stop making yourselves look stupid. Arguing about reboot and re-imagining is kinda... stupid.

Steyrvolt
Steyrvolt

@TheTrueMagusX1 My personal misuse of the words, or my personal interpretation of terms which are fairly new to the world of film and don't actually have definitions set in stone? You can say that the terms aren't different as many times as you want, but repetition does not a fact make. The discussion of the terms has been an annoyance to me as well. I'll admit that I jump to them far too often. Part of the reasoning for this is that I'm searching for an extra bit of reason to add to my argument (which doesn't really go beyond my original post on the other page.) It's my way of filling the space after censoring my expletive-laden text, to avoid being modded. Maybe the art of arguing in a civil manner will return to me once I can afford cigs again. Also, we're on a very subjective topic, so we're just wasting time really; sarcasm or no. I wouldn't have returned to this page if I wasn't trying to understand why some people like this short, which I have an inordinate amount of hate for. I apologize for the sarcasm. At least I didn't use puns.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@Steyrvolt The sheer fact though remains that your using terminologies to differintiate things. Its your personal misuse of words that your using to back your arguments which is invalid. The fact is to you reboot is positive, re imagining is negative, hence you stated the difference in your own words. But they are actually one and the same, reboot and re imagining as Dragon Ball Evolution is a reboot/re imagining albeit I will agree, a horrible one none the less. However your using the terms to personally describe good and bad reboots, which is incorrect. Also when you debate your use of sarcasm does not add anything to the argument but to show you really no grounds to argue with. So here lets summarize....Reboot/Reimagining are not different, but to you one is a positive and a negative. Two, you use sarcasm which adds nothing to the debate at hand.

Steyrvolt
Steyrvolt

@TheTrueMagusX1 I disagree. Why, you ask? There wouldn't be two terms if there were no difference. When I think of reboots, I think of The Incredible Hulk, Batman Begins, etc. Yet, when the term re-imagining comes up, I think of the films that have almost nothing to do with the source material, such as MK:R and Dragonball: Evolution. This is a personal view of the terms, unlike yours. Read my post again for the concession part, please. You skimmed or misunderstood. Yes. All of those things are MK, but those are the few things which remained intact. What else can remain intact throughout a psuedo-reality based series? Too many problems come to mind for me to start listing. Instead, I offer a prediction. There will be a little girl with braces named Mileena. She'll be cute as a button and we'll giggle when she introduces her pet rat, Montaro. Actually... now I'm excited for Reality Kombat. @Neosonic23 I'd be enraged. You can't kill off the token black guy in the first episode.

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

Bad... Ass... better than not doing anything at all, christ... hollywood is blind. A mortal kombat movie with a proper budget and epic story would kick the living sh*t outta Avatard...

venomdeo
venomdeo

This is great .They better make a full movie or TV series.Here is hoping.

Neosonic23
Neosonic23

Now If Johnny Cage was a Black Guy...There would be a Riot!

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@Steyrvolt Well here is the deal. A re imagining and a reboot are the same thing. How so you ask? Well they do the same, they take a franchise, and restart it with new ideas and the old. There is no technical difference between them. If you get to remakes yes thats the difference but not Re Imaginings or reboots. And yes you did concede as you have stated you enjoyed the new Battlestar Galactica, which is a Re Imagining/Reboot. They are one and the same, so yes you did concede that point. I like how you also say none MK, but yet the elements are there. For example lets take a look at Baraka, sure he is not some Mutant of Outworld, but he does decapitate with his blade, is a ruthless killer, and he looks similiar in a real world way. Contrary to what you say, MK:R is a very MK, but more grounded in Reality with out the thundergods, other dimensions, but it still maintains all the elements. It has Jax and Sonia as partners, Scorpion has a grudge against Sub Zero, and Johnny Cage is as useless as ever, so basically its very MK, it just lacks the fantasy elements.

Vegna_Infamous
Vegna_Infamous

Live action or not, Johnny Cage wouldn't die easily or at all. From what i've seen, I'm thankful this isn't a full length movie. Mortal Kombat must be true to it's roots or it just isn't mortal kombat.

jramosx
jramosx

johnny cage jus can't catch a break. i thought this was some kinda fake when isaw it last year but i'm glad they're going to continue it.

erix43
erix43

Such passionate writers on this topic. Geez..

DEATH775
DEATH775

I want to see more of this

Steyrvolt
Steyrvolt

@im-a-roustabout Aha, but I never claimed that a good, faithful MK movie was possible. Altering the source material to an extent would be necessary to make it good, but not so much an "altering" as "adding." The first MK film was cheesy, but kept as much as it could true to the game's style (outside of gore.) With so little source material, changing it from a mythical/ninja/demon tournament to a cop show (which is what this is) is basically crossing out any relationship to the game; making it pointless. Baraka has metal arms... Jax is a cop... that's about it. I didn't play MK vs. DC, as you can probably tell from my writings, that I'm kind've a purist and an elitist. Honestly, from that short (not trailer) it seems that it's going to be a couple of factions fighting against eachother, but there is no hint at a tournament. If that happens, then I'll gladly eat my words, and give it a shot for one episode, even with this real-world crap. I consider the source material to be any of the main games outside of the jokes. 1-2-3-4-Deadly Alliance and onwards; excluding DC. I'm very excited about the new game. :D Now I see where we're clashing. Batman ('60s) is a hilarious parody/spoof. Anybody who doesn't love it is crazy. O_O

Steyrvolt
Steyrvolt

@TheTrueMagusX1 I have less of a problem with "reboots" than with "re-imaginings." I know semantics are a pain in the ***. Sorry. The Dark Knight isn't a "re-imagining" and has nothing to do with this topic. Going back to the roots of Batman is... the opposite of re-imagining. It's being faithful to what fans want based on a popular source. /Batman You say that I said they were all for money and that I hate all of them; then went into me conceding that I had no problem with sci-fi remakes like you're pointing out a contradiction. I clarified that I misappropriated the term "re-imagining" by not including sci-fi. Though, I should have also clarified in an earlier posting that I'm only referring to movies when I say this. I haven't conceded that there are worthwhile re-imaginings outside of the realm of sci-fi. Why? Because I've never heard of one. I hope that you enjoy MK:R in all of its non-MK glory; I truly do. I also hope that it's unpopular so that movie studios don't continue to get the idea that gamers will follow brand names like gradeschoolers, caring not for the content of the films.

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

@Steyrvolt Well I can definitely see where you and I are clashing. Cuz I agree with you about some of your points, but personally the source material in this case can be altered for the better. You say outside character names, fighting and licenses everything else is changed...umm...what else is left? I mean it looks like Jax is still an officer and Scorpion still wants to jam Sub-Zero up nice and good like. And it was a trailer, most likely there is going to be a tournament of some kind. They have made a Mortal Kombat Vs DC for christs sake man! They made Liu-Kang undead with chains and everything in another game. I mean the stories never really exactly been it's strongest suit. And you're mad about what source material? The first 3? I guess all I am trying to say is, it was a game first and then a live action film. If you like the old school, take heart in the fact that the next game is all about that. It just seems like if you had your way, we would still be watching re-runs of the old Adam West tv show "Batman!". Which sucked balls.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@Steyrvolt I do not think medium ultimately matters. I think a good re imagining is what it is. Yes the Dark Knight is part of a Batman movie reboot, which itself disconnected itself in terms of film, from the Tim Burton and Schumacher films. It is a reboot as it goes back to Batman Roots more so than anything else. Though as far as Batman goes, he is a very versatile character though. He is a character that can work both in a very serious type of world, that is dark and gritty, but he can also work in a very cheesy and camp filled world....Two examples are Batman the Brave and the Bold cartoons, and Batman the animated series. Both fantastic series that covers both spectrums of Batman. You did say Re imaginings are for money, all of them are. Perhaps I can say that, but you said you were not a fan of them, but as you have conceded there are good ones and bad ones. I think Mortal Kombat Rebirth is going to be a good one.

Steyrvolt
Steyrvolt

@TheTrueMagusX1 The Dark Knight is a re-imagining? Seemed to be fairly in line with the dark tones of most Batman comics... Minor re-imaginings, like putting a popular hero into another time period, are a mixed bag. Since Ultimate Spider-Man is a comic series (a medium which is still fairly cheap, and thus immune to the money-making traps of cinema) I don't really view it as being bad. The artists and writers probably just mixed their nerd-ery with other interests and wrote something they liked; though they probably had ulterior motives (sorry. I'm just your friendly neighborhood skeptic.) As for Battlestar; I agree that the first season was epic (won't comment on the rest of the series) and I loved it, but that's as a non-fan of the original series. I've seen three minutes of one episode of that. I'd comment more, but I'm unfamiliar with the original series. You may or may not have a point on that one: It depends on how much story/characters remain from the original. (I doubt it's very much?) When I say that all re-imaginings are bad; I mean that all re-imaginings of recent things are. Sci-fi series go out of date, and some are possibly worthy of remakes. These aren't re-imaginings so much out of greed, but out of necessity. Therefore, I just consider them remakes and didn't take them into consideration when using the term.

B-Greezy
B-Greezy

@Scorpion1813 I agree with a lot of what you said, but when you think about it, the older MK movies failed mainly because of crappy character development and crappy portrayal of characters in general. If the movie portrayed the characters just like they are in the game, then there would little to no dialogue, no interest in the character's back-stories, thus no emotional attachment to the characters at all (First two MK movies as examples). I love what they did with in Re-birth, they are spicing it up and adding a sweet taste of realism that the series hasn't seen yet.