Dave Bautista is itching to renounce his Kylosian heritage for a shot at competing in Mortal Kombat, claims Hollywood insider Daniel Richtman. The outgoing Guardian of the Galaxy has his eye on Warner Bros.’s newest pocket movie-verse and is (allegedly) hoping to play the lead role in a standalone Mortal Kombat film of his choice. He didn’t specify which character he’s taken a liking to, but intends to appear in the reboot-sequels should his spinoff perform to expectations. Whether the part is lifted directly from the games or like Lewis Tan’s Cole Young, entirely original, there’s a wealth of options Bautista could qualify for. There’s no shortage of shredded, beefy men in video games and Mortal Kombat is no different.
From Elemental ninjas and movie stars, to cyborgs, Special Forces soldiers, and evil sorcerers, the Mortal Kombat universe is rife with characters of all shapes, sizes, power sets, and backgrounds. Though several match a pro wrestler’s broad-shouldered assets to a tee, there aren’t many heavyweights with a legacy hefty enough to headline their own movie. How many kombatants do we know can hold a candle to the likes of Scorpion, Johnny Cage, Kitana, and Sub-Zero? By process of elimination however, we can tell which playables Dave Bautista may be a good fit for.
First on the list is fan-favorite monocrat Shao Kahn the Konqueror, the despotic emperor of Outworld. Remember Shang Tsung, the soul-eating sorcerer played by the delightfully campy Chin Han in this year’s Mortal Kombat? Shao Kahn is his boss — the Thanos to Shang Tsung’s Ronan the Accuser, if you will. Having been the games’ central antagonist for decades, Shao Kahn is on par with Raiden, a god, in stature and ability. Not only does his raw strength, magical prowess, and skill with the Wrath Hammer unequaled in all realms, Mortal Kombat: Deception implied the warlord has the same functions for Outworld as Raiden does for Earthrealm — an advisor — making him a deity in his own right. Like Johnny Cage, Shao Kahn also fights using green energy, ancestral chi inherited from warriors of old, but on a much greater scale, of course. Shao Kahn is Mortal Kombat’s ultimate big bad. He was voiced by Frank Welker (Scooby Doo) – credited as “Outworld Emperor” in the first film – and played by Brian Thompson (Cobra) in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. He has yet to debut in the reboot, but given his all-important standing as sovereign of Outworld, will probably show up in the sequels, replacing Shang Tsung as the primary villain. (Goro would have worked just as well, but he’s already in the reboot, depicted completely in CGI.)
Besides Shao Kahn, there’s only a handful of other Mortal Kombat heavy-hitters Dave Bautista could sink his teeth into. And speaking of teeth, second on the list he could try would be Baraka, a Tarkatan general of Outworld famously parodied by X-Men Origins: Wolverine with his trademark arm blades. Originally slim in build, Baraka eventually adopts a bulkier exterior to intimidate foes with, a trait Bautista could use to great effect. Other characters Bautista could go for would be Nightwolf, a Native American shaman also outfitted with green energy, and Kotal Kahn, an Osh-Tekk warrior renowned for being emperor of Outworld twice — once before Shao Kahn’s ascension and again after Shao Kahn’s death. Bautista is part-Southeast Asian, which would make him a shoo-in, appearance-wise, for Nightwolf in Mortal Kombat, but if he’s looking for another big name like Shao Kahn, someone influential enough to topbill his own standalone film, Kotal Khan is the way. Not only do Shao Kahn and Kotal Kahn share similar caliber, the latter was once one of the former’s top generals; he’s the only reasonable successor to someone as frightfully formidable as Shao Kahn, practically a god in more ways than one. If Dave Bautista is serious about switching sides — Disney to Warner Bros. — once his contract with Marvel Studios expires, at least aim for the big guns. Besides the franchise’s most prominent heroes, only a longtime baddie would be befitting of their own movie.
Dave Bautista is currently filming the third and final installment of Guardians of the Galaxy. He plays Drax the Destroyer. He was last seen as the lead of Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie hit Army of the Dead and will be appearing in Dune as the sadistic Glossu Rabban, alongside Timothée Chalamet as main character Paul Atreides. Bautista’s Drax will be fighting Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher with Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth), Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and the Guardians in Thor: Love and Thunder. It comes out on May 6, 2022.