Disney isn’t the only progressive force in Hollywood aiming for an all-female brigade to topbill a future movie. Warner Bros. is considering a sort of Gotham Sirens for its Mortal Kombat IP, a women-only feature with Special Forces operative Sonya Blade (played in the reboot by Jessica McNamee) at the helm. Giant Freakin Robot broke the news first in June, only for sources close to We Got This Covered to report the same thing on Tuesday.
HBO Max is allegedly interested in hosting the film, described to be in the early stages of development. The movie is one of many Mortal Kombat spinoffs currently in the works. Executives are reportedly pleased with the reboot film’s numbers, which have already exceeded Godzilla vs Kong both theatrically and on the streamer.
The Mortal Kombat universe is rife with every known isotope of femme fatale, from super spies to alien creatures and cryo-ninjas. But there aren’t many characters that can hold a candle to General Sonya Blade, leader of the Earthrealm unit (succeeded only in part by her daughter Cassie Cage) and the only playable that has matched several of Outworld’s worst without needing special powers. Her weapon of choice is a pair of energy bracelets; she has relied on her military training for everything else.
Aside from Stryker, one might say she is the true human element of Mortal Kombat, with Johnny Cage being descended from Mediterranean warriors, Erron Black having perfect aim, and Kano, Kabal, and Jax having cybernetic implants. She is the heart of the franchise, providing an otherwise winding tale of revenge and bloodshed with appropriate grounding. She may not have the fan impact of Scorpion and Sub-Zero, or the winning charisma of Johnny Cage, but she does keep the family together. A female-led Mortal Kombat film would be equally lost without her.
There are not a lot of especially noteworthy characters Sonya Blade could use as allies. Most of Mortal Kombat’s best and brightest belles are hardened villains, like Shao Kahn’s adoptive daughter Mileena, Outworld assassin Jade, Kotal Kahn’s Janus-faced former minister D’Vorah, Lin Kuei defector Frost, vampire Nitara, and chief antagonists Kronika, Sindel, and Cetrion. Nitara already perished in this year’s Mortal Kombat reboot.
General Blade is left with new generation additions like Cassie and Jax’s daughter Jacqui Briggs, and remnants of Outworld’s glory days: Princess Kitana, who revolted against Shao Kahn and developed a romantic relationship with Liu Kang, and Shokan Queen Sheeva, who is willing to stand against Outworld in defense of her people. Not much of a contender against the likes of Kronika, and yet a blockbuster functions best when underdogs manage to overwhelm their odds. And with a baddie lineup this daunting, perhaps a standalone Mortal Kombat movie with Sonya Blade at the crux may prove quite the spectacle after all.
A possible conflict could revolve around the fate of Outworld for once, instead of human kombatants making their final stand in Earthrealm, as is convention in both the games and the films. The female-led spinoff could begin with a mid-transition problem set between the events of Mortal Kombat and its planned sequel: Shao Kahn has risen to power and Kitana, his stepdaughter, changes loyalties to liberate her home realm of Edenia. Jade defects in support of her best friend, Queen Sheeva joins Kitana’s ranks to keep the Shokan race safe, and they escape to Earthrealm in search of an army. Instead, they find Sonya Blade’s Special Forces squad training for the next Mortal Kombat.
Since Blade hasn’t crossed paths with Johnny Cage yet, and Jacqui and Cassie are around the same age, most of the young general’s posse hasn’t assembled yet, which leaves writers with one of two options: turn another loyal Outworlder like Frost, or enlist the help of more obscure playables and involve Cole Young’s daughter Emily from the reboot. This motley crew of humans and eldritch monsters march off to Outworld to fight Kitana and Sheeva’s civil wars, only to find Shao Kahn has left someone like Queen Sindel or Kronika in charge. The specifics of course would have to be ironed out, but this may very well be the pitch. Mortal Kombat is practically brimming with content, after all, and a minor standoff in the style of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story could lead up to the big showdown in the next main entry.
The reboot Mortal Kombat starring Jessica McNamee as a young Sonya Blade is currently streaming on HBO Max.