Mortal Kombat 2021 opens with Scorpion dying at the hands of Sub-Zero, but the way he dies is very different from what happens in the video games.
Mortal Kombat begins with Scorpion dying at the hands of Sub-Zero – a major plot point from the video games – but the movie changes the actual events of Scorpion’s death significantly. The core beats of the warriors’ feud stay the same in the reboot, but Sub-Zero is played much more explicitly as the villain of the story, and Scorpion as the clear hero. It’s possible that future Mortal Kombat movies could reveal some new details about their initial duel, as happened in the later games in the series.
In the Mortal Kombat video games, Scorpion and Sub-Zero meet and duel in the Temple of Elements, with Sub-Zero claiming victory and killing Scorpion due to the rivalry between their respective clans. Unbeknownst to each other, both warriors were hired by the Netherrealm sorcerer Quan Chi for the same mission – to acquire the Amulet of Shinnok from the temple. In exchange for Sub-Zero successfully completing the mission, Quan Chi eradicates the remainder of Scorpion’s Shirai Ryu clan, fulfilling the deal he made with Sub-Zero’s Lin Kuei. Unaware of Quan Chi’s involvement, Scorpion believes Sub-Zero is the one personally responsible for the deaths of his family and friends.
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The Mortal Kombat reboot changes that story up significantly. Sub-Zero seeks Scorpion out with other Lin Kuei assassins specifically to kill him. He kills Scorpion’s wife and son personally, then assassinates the man himself. It’s not made entirely clear if Sub-Zero was hired for the task by Shang Tsung (or possibly Quan Chi), or if the violence was simply due to the rivalry between the clans. Either way, the movie makes Sub-Zero the true villain of the story by removing Quan Chi’s meddling – at least, as far as we know.
Quan Chi is a big part of the later Mortal Kombat games, so it would make sense for him to join the film universe at some point. That could happen as soon as Mortal Kombat 2, since in the games, Quan Chi is the one who resurrects Sub-Zero from the Netherrealm as the shadow wraith Noob Saibot. Because of how Scorpion’s story has already been changed, however, the films’ Quan Chi may play a slightly different role.
Scorpion is also sure to return if the Mortal Kombat movies continue. Though his soul is put to rest after avenging the deaths of himself and his family, he may still be summoned to help defend Earthrealm from Outworld. Scorpion could even be fully resurrected in future Mortal Kombat movies and returned to his mortal form, as happens in the games.
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