‘Mortal Kombat: Legacy’ Web Series Brings Franchise Favorites To Life

Published 4 years ago by

Mortal Kombat Legacy Web Series

When most of you hear the words ‘Mortal Kombat,’ it’s likely that your minds will automatically be filled with images of the latest game’s spectacular fatalities and over-the-top action. That’s fair, but it certainly isn’t the only recent incarnation of the franchise drawing attention, with the Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series bringing new energy and imagination into the many characters and stories of the Mortal Kombat universe.

Many will remember the Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short film that was released last summer, depicting director Kevin Tancharoen’s vision for an alternate take on the iconic characters Scorpion, Reptile, Baraka and others. The trailer was intended to show Warner Bros. the vision that Tancharoen had for a completely new take on the license, should he be given the chance to direct a new feature film.

Warner wouldn’t greenlight a full-length feature, but the quality of writing and performances, in addition to the internet’s enthusiastic response were enough to convince the studio to bankroll a 9-part web series exploring the concept in greater detail. Thus, Mortal Kombat: Legacy was born.

While hordes of gamers have been spending recent weeks buried in the nostalgic brutality of the latest Mortal Kombat, Legacy has slowly but surely seen massive numbers of viewers flock to yet another live-action embodiment of some of their childhood fighting icons.

The series has now released its first 5 episodes to a total of nearly 20,000,000 views on Youtube, and Warner Bros. is already pleased enough with the attention that they’re voicing their intent to release the series on TV and DVD. Tancharoen has already stated that the online series will need to do “very, very well” before the studio is convinced to kick a movie production into gear, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the first half of the series right now, free of charge.

There’s a good chance that some of you were permanently turned off the idea of a big-screen adaptation of Mortal Kombat after the first two film versions. While Mortal Kombat (1995) was a success among fans for its fun and campy attitude, the sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (2007) was ultimately a disappointment. The first thing to know about Legacy is just how different and grounded this re-telling of the fighters’ respective origin stories really is.

Seeing is believing, though, so we would suggest you take a look at episodes 1 through5 right now:

While only 5 episodes into Legacy, the series has already given a look at the bad blood between government agents Sonya Blade and Jackson ‘Jax’ Briggs and their long-time nemesis Kano, as well as a look at the mythical realm of Edenia that was conquered by Shao Kahn and his grotesque minions.

Fan favorites Katana, Mileena, Baraka, and the down-on-his-luck martial arts action star Johnny Cage are all given their share of back story, and there’s still time to get caught up with the released chapters before Sub-Zero and Scorpion make their first appearance. Tancharoen has revealed via Twitter that this Tuesday’s episode will welcome none other than Raiden himself, so there is obviously some nostalgia for anyone even remotely familiar with the franchise to date.

Creating a world where FBI agents, washed-up actors and sorcerers can all co-exist without stretching believability is no small feat, but Tancharoen is more than up to the task.

Speaking in interviews with Screen Rant, both Tancharoen and Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon aren’t just convinced that this type of story is possible, but that it’s one the franchise and its fans deserve to see. Whether you agree, or think the series has already been given its chance to wow audiences, there’s no arguing that the production values and plot of the series so far is worth a look by anyone calling themselves an MK fan.

Mortal Kombat Legacy Sub Zero

Aside from the fact that a competent script and talented cast has showed up to support the Mortal Kombat name – something that many would have been skeptical of just a year or two ago – the most stunning thing that the series and the latest game have in common is that they’ve both managed to show that enthusiasm for Mortal Kombat and its roster hasn’t decreased one bit.

With the series first beginning almost 20 years ago, having seen 9 game releases, two feature films and numerous comic book runs, the fact that there is still a new story left to tell is astounding. Even more shocking is the millions of fans showing up to see it. Tancharoen isn’t getting ahead of himself for a possible movie deal, and rightly so, but with nearly 20,000,000 views of Legacy to date, a new Mortal Kombat film is quickly becoming less of a rumor and more of an eventuality at this point.

If all else fails, we may have another season of Legacy to look forward to, in which case things could definitely be worse.

What have you thought of Legacy so far? Are you optimistic that the web series will convince Warner to give a feature film another shot, or do you prefer your Mortal Kombat experience to be on a gamepad, not in a movie theater? Let us know in the comments.

TAGS: Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Legacy

  • Zinthaniel

    It’s hard for me to stomach some of, if not all, the acting in the web series. I do understand that it’s not some high budget project so my expectations shouldn’t be so high.

    I like the story in legacy. If anything Mk9 and legacy have proved that the MK storyline can be bent and molded in whatever creative way with the core plot line unfolding differently and not have hordes of geeks bitching incessantly.

    I’m a movie guy so my fingers are crossed that we get that movie. I’m shocked that it hasn’t been greenlit. Baffled even. I mean with all the movies being released now and this gem right here isn’t even being touched. I think MK, if directed skillfully and written masterly, has a storyline that could create a movie series that is at the caliber of Star wars or LOTDR. That’s just my opinion.

    • http://gamerant.com/author/dyce/ Andrew Dyce

      I definitely think it has far more potential than it’s enjoyed. Properties like these always tend to be made as a fan-service, rather than an opportunity to convey a story and fiction that has clicked with a group of people to an even larger and more mainstream audience.

      Outworld, Earthrealm, and awesome martial arts combat? Seriously, how does this not get made, but Dylan Dog does?

      • Bradley Davis

        I agree. This has so much potential to be awesome and obviously there are plenty of fans yet Hollywood keeps putting out horrendous movies and not gerrnlighting this. It might just be because it doesn’t have “bankable a-list actors” which is sad to say about Hollywood but oh so true sometimes. I’m sure if they made it their way the cast would go something like:

        • Bradley Davis

          Jaxx – Will Smith
          Sonya Blade – Katherine Heigl
          Stryker – Mark Wahlberg
          Kano – Hugh Jackman
          Johnny Cage – Ashton Kutcher
          Shang Tsung – Jackie Chan
          Kitana/Mileena – Lucy Lui
          And Goro will eventually be the Govenator

          • chris gunter

            i think thats the most retarded cast ive ever heard just because will smith is black doesnt mean he will make a good jax if anyone i say that guy from the green mile because hes got the right build or the dude from legacy hes already doing a great job and ashton kutcher is just horrible for anything mark wahlberg would be good as striker im not even gonna touch on arnold and theres more there then just 2 asain stars

    • Alex

      What this guy said ^^^^^^^. Plus, now that special effects are 1000000000000X better then when the first MK came out in 1995, A new movie could blow people away and be much appreciated from MK fans all over!

  • Adam

    Hello all. Just wanted to give my two cents – fully realizing that this is the internet and not very many people actually care what other’s opinions are. Anyway, let’s start with what I saw good.

    Number one is the production value. The special effects didn’t look too cheap, even though I’m sure this series doesn’t have a huge budget. Number two – its good to see that somebody is thinking up at least a BIT of history for these characters. And number three: the writer sort of found a way to related it to the modern generation (Power Rangers anyone?). So thats good.

    Now for areas of improvement. Before I get to this, I want you all to know that I completely understand that the whole reason the producer put these together was to present it to Warner Bros. as an IDEA, and that they probably aren’t full, fleshed out episodes (heck they’re only 12 minutes long). This is why I will be calling this “areas of improvement” instead of “bad things” (even though some are pretty rough).

    First, seriously…using slowmotion every 7 seconds went out of style about 30 seconds after The Matrix: Revolution was released (with the exception of actual hand-to-hand combat scenes). I’ve scene more slow motion running…slow motion standing…slow motion grunting…slow motion pretty much everything that I can stand. So find a way to cut back on that and use it more…whats the word?…ingenuitively.

    Secondly, please have someone else write the script. I’m not claiming to be a great writer myself, by any means. But this one was pretty rough. A lot of cheesy lines delivered pretty…cheesily. The truth is, many of these lines would be WONDERFUL if this whole series were done in the sort of stop-animation style that parts of the episodes have been (Edina, etc.). But something about them just doesn’t seem like they’d actually come out of a real person’s mouth. I love the ideas for the scenes…just…find more creative ways to say the things that need to be said.

    Third, I LOVE the idea of going back and telling the “Legacy” of where character’s came from. Unfortunately, these scenes don’t go back FAR enough. In the first episode, I’m dropped into a scene and there’s Keno…who we are to understand is evil because…well…HE’S JUST EVIL OKAY!? Not gonna do it for me. In an age where we have movies like STAR WARS and shows like SMALLVILLE (granted, maybe not THE best examples) that take our iconic heros and villians and really SHOW us where they came from and what experiences they went through to make them who they are; going only “kind of back in time” like the above scenes did just isn’t going to cut it. Don’t be afraid to GO DEEPER, and, perhaps even more importantly, DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOOK AT FAN-FICTION. Gonna use Star Wars in this example again, but some of the best stories that flesh out the characters were written by some of the fans! Mortal Kombat can certainly be that too.

    Lastly, BE CAREFUL with your lighting. Again, I understand that these were just some short idea-generating clips. But just because you want to make a “dark-gritty reboot” doesn’t mean things LITERALLY have to be dark. If you want to prove your worth as a writer/producer, you should be able to take a character we are supposed to hate and make us hate them IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. And, in conjunction with the above paragraph…we’d like to know WHY we’re suppose to hate them as well.

    Again, these were just some thoughts. Mortal Kombat is a series that has SO MUCH to tell other than just fighting. In fact, in order to tell it, you’d probably need more than one movie to do it – but thats just fine, because studios LOVE a multi-picture franchise! Look forward to watching these develop!

    • agimassardi

      Agree. I’m sure Legacy didn’t have high budget, but a good movies could hide their lack of budget with it’s qualities.

      While I enjoyed most of it. I do that because I’m a MK fans. Not as an objective viewer.

    • ValeMaggot

      While I agree with most of what you’re saying, I thought I might correct one you on one thing. This web series IS an official production. Produced by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution in fact. Mortal Kombat Rebirth was an unofficial short film that surfaced on YouTube last year, paid for and directed by Kevin Tancharoen. THAT film was an idea that Kevin pitched to Warner Bros. in the hopes that they would give him the rights to do a full length feature film. Alas, instead of a full length feature, they agreed to fund a web series(only the second of it’s kind I believe) called Mortal Kombat Legacy, consisting of nine episodes of 10 to 15 minutes each, also directed by Tancharoen.

      I believe that they haven’t given him a very big budget and have also given him time constraints for each episode, which he isn’t very happy about I might add. In recent interviews, Kevin Tancharoen has mentioned some ideas he has for a second season, like episodes based on Liu Kang and Kung Lao. He has also stated that the web series will have to “do really, really well” for Warner Bros. to greenlight a full length Mortal Kombat film.

      I agree with just about everything else you said though:-) I must say I’m happy to finally see MK characters brought to life with a more mature look and feel than those terrible flicks from the 90’s.

  • jwalka

    love the series so far, my only issue is with the inconsistent run time of episodes and the ‘cliff hanger’ endings to both individual episodes and character arcs (e.g kitana and mileena). on the whole i enjoy these episodes for what they are – fan service and a breathe of fresh air (not to mention a step away from the original MK stuff) and a lot of fun. the fights are well done, the effects are above standard (seeing as how kevin did most of it with only 1-2 other people helping him) and the acting is acceptable (martial arts movies dont generally have top notch actors, but they compensate for really good fight scenes).

  • rasta

    ok now i know who is writing this crap, i feel sorry for the people who really think there are mk fans out there still, the shows suck so bad that i am glad there is only five min.s of it, the last episode where Raiden is a White guy??? hello cant you find a asian bro? whats wrong with you? anyways i am always let down when i am watching the new episodes, i am thinking maybe this time they wont screw up so bad, but the directors are obviously playing around with too much money on a bad project, i think someone should cancel this show before it even it completes, thanks,