Warner Bros was quite happy with their live-action 2021 launch of Mortal Kombat. After the critical and commercial failure of 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, the rough reputation of video game adaptations, and then launching their new film during a global pandemic, the title had a lot working against it. Still, the movie brought in $83 million at the box office and was a hit on HBO Max. That was a particularly big deal since the service was still very new. Now, the studio wants to carry that success forward. We’ve exclusively learned from one of our trusted and proven inside sources that Warner Bros is developing an animated Mortal Kombat series for their streaming service, HBO Max.
Our source shared that the animated project is happening, but we were unable to learn how connected that animated story will be to the new live-action movie. It would seem like they’re moving forward with the intention of developing a cinematic universe on HBO Max for the property. However, often, animated and live-action projects are treated like they are in separate universes because they’re for separate audiences. They are also often handled by separate creators, which just makes treating the universe as separate simpler for the folks working behind the scenes. There are exceptions though, and the streaming service certainly encourages them to make the new series in a connected world. Right now, Netflix has its own adaptation with The Witcher. They also decided to create Nightmare of the Wolf, an animated film that takes place in the same Witcher universe.
This gets more complicated for the new Mortal Kombat series, since the franchise already has so many stories out there. Mortal Kombat has more video games, and they also already have some animated projects, like the series from the 1990s and very recent animated films like Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. That 2020 release, with the talents of Jennifer Carpenter and Joel McHale, is seeing its sequel release at the end of August 2021. Those weren’t HBO Max releases though, so connecting the new animated series to the live-action story wouldn’t be out of the question.
The studio has said that one of their biggest highlights from the 2020 Mortal Kombat live-action movie was the way it brought in HBO Max subscribers. They reported that the audiences would come to watch that particular movie, but end up watching Friends and other content on the service, sticking around. It makes sense that they now want to create more content specifically for that audience, and so then create an animated Mortal Kombat series that is part of the same story told in the live-action movie. Joe Taslim, who plays Sub-Zero in the live-action Mortal Kombat movie, revealed that he has a contract to play his character again for four more installments. Sequels weren’t guaranteed with that contract, but if they happened, he was signed on. It will be interesting to see if Warner Bros gets some of the same live-action actors signed on for an animated project.
The live-action movie was missing Johnny Cage, something that fans talked about a lot. The team behind the film promised that if they get to make a Mortal Kombat 2, they’ll cast Johnny Cage for the sequels. They’ve assured audiences that was their plan from the beginning. This goes to show just how many characters there are in Mortal Kombat though, and how much more could happen in a Mortal Kombat series. It’ll be interesting to see where Warner Bros goes with this as they expand their universe for this early HBO Max success.