Warner Bros. is laying out the breadcrumbs for Dwayne Johnson to sign on for Mortal Kombat, alleges Scott Campbell of We Got This Covered. The Jungle Cruise star is the second former pro wrestler after Dave Bautista rumored to join the Mortal Kombat franchise. Campbell’s sources didn’t specify a role Johnson would be perfect for, nor did they provide any further details.
If it sounds too good to be true, maybe it is — but who wouldn’t want Dwayne Johnson executing fatalities? Like Bautista, there’s no one more suitable for a martial arts tournament than a World Wrestling Entertainment alumnus and 10-time world champion. Dwayne Johnson is already working on a cinematic crossover between Mortal Kombat and DC Films, so a cameo (or more) in the former’s movie series sounds like a logical next step.
Much like pro wrestling, Mortal Kombat is home to fighters of varying weight classes, meaning Dwayne Johnson could fit right in. There are welterweights like Sonya Blade, Ermac, Raiden, and Sub-Zero, who rely on modern machinery, magic, and Elemental trickery to survive. There are middleweights like Johnny Cage, Liu Kang, Kenshi, and Scorpion, lithe, agile powerhouses with bare-knuckled moves that can down heavyweights.
And finally, the big leagues — super heavyweights like Prince Goro, Shao Kahn, Jax Briggs, Kano, Nightwolf, Baraka, and Kotal Kahn. These living dynamos aren’t just built to destroy; they also have the brute strength to accompany their massive frames. Assuming Dwayne Johnson is conclusively in the running, there can be no better role for him than Kotal Kahn, to contrast with Dave Bautista’s possible role as Shao Kahn. The two characters are Outworld’s only known emperors. Shao Kahn the Konqueror is Mortal Kombat’s central antagonist. Kotal Kahn took over as Outworld’s chief after his death.
Also called Ko’atal, Kotal Kahn belongs to a race of Aztec-like warriors called the Osh-Tekk. These tribal hunters live in a militaristic society where combat (or should we say “kombat”) determined status and defeat meant certain death. Could you see Dwayne Johnson fitting right in here?They derive their power from the sun. Osh-Tekk was conquered by Shao Kahn, effectively merging with the rest of Outworld. Kotal Kahn rose through the ranks as the warlord’s top general, only to appropriate the title of emperor from Shao Kahn’s adopted daughter Mileena.
Contrary to popular opinion, Kotal Kahn wasn’t a despotic leader. He refocused Outworld’s resources on internal stability rather than conquest and bears no ill will against Earthrealm’s inhabitants. He routinely cooperates with Raiden and the Elder Gods, and is regarded as a hero by the Mayans. One would rightfully call him an antihero — a no-nonsense military man with an eye for fairness and inherently good intentions. After all, what kind of supervillain would willfully liberate innocents from invading Spanish conquistadors? Though not a god by classification, his powers rival both Shao Kahn’s and Raiden’s, and invokes Blood Magik and the use of totems and his Yeyecame Disk in battle. When in Blood God mode, Kotal Kahn is virtually unstoppable. Imagine Aztec Superman.
Similar to Jason Momoa, Dwayne Johnson is Samoan, with implied Polynesian heritage. Kotal Kahn’s design is based on real-life historical Aztec eagle warriors, particularly Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec God of War and the Sun, and is similarly brown-skinned.
Another kombatant Dwayne Johnson could vie for would be Nightwolf, a Native American shaman of the fictional Matoka tribe. A force for justice and one of Earthrealm’s devoted champions, he is adept at channeling nature energy into weapons, his favorite being a tomahawk. Nightwolf isn’t a major player, however, and when you’re Dwayne Johnson, a man worth $87.5 million, why settle for the shavings when you could have the front-pagers?
Dwayne Johnson is the only other Hollywood A-lister (besides Ryan Reynolds) with notable credits in several movie-verses. To date, he’s been Scorpion King in The Mummy, prolific U.S. Navy code breaker Hank Parsons in Journey, Channing Tatum’s replacement captain Roadblock in G.I. Joe, Diplomatic Security Services agent Luke Hobbs in Fast & Furious, David Hasselhoff’s more sinewy relief Mitch in Baywatch, Dr. Xander Bravestone in Jumanji, and Shazam supervillain Black Adam in the DC Extended Universe.
Dwayne Johnson next appears in Disney’s Jungle Cruise as Frank Wolff, a world-weary riverboat captain committed to sailing Emily Blunt’s Dr. Lily Houghton to the Tree of Life. He’ll also be appearing in Red Notice and Free Guy, alongside fellow highest-paid movie star Ryan Reynolds. Johnson is currently training for DC’s Black Adam. Jungle Cruise also stars Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti, and is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The film, based on the theme park attraction of the same name, comes out July 30 in theaters and on Disney+.