Skip to main content

Mortal Kombat movie ending explained: your biggest questions answered

Joe Taslim in Mortal Kombat
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Mortal Kombat movie is now on HBO Max and on-demand in the UK. As expected from an R-rated take on one of the bloodiest, most infamous arcade games ever made, the Mortal Kombat movie is a fatality-filled, bombastic take on the fighting genre. Yes, the story may be a slightly simplistic hero story, but the action is certainly a lot of fun.

However, with the movie's heroes and villains coming and going from Earthrealm and the Outworld, there’s quite a lot to take in. That’s where we come in – we’re tapped our Mortal Kombat experts to help answer some of your biggest questions from the movie. We’ll delve into who’s who and who’s still alive to fight in a sequel. But before we go into that…

Spoiler warning! The following contains major Mortal Kombat movie spoilers. So turn back now if you haven’t witnessed the brutal reboot.

The Mortal Kombat ending explained

Mortal Kombat movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros./New Line Cinema)

Having found his arcana – a magical power only those who have a dragon tattoo can harness – Lewis Tan manages to defeat the four-armed Goro and save his own family. Raiden unites Earthrealm’s heroes in the Void and the gang decides to force Shang Tsung’s warriors to fight in the Mortal Kombat tournament. 

Sonya finds the laser-eyed Kano and quickly deals with him, taking on his dragon tattoo, and thus allowing her to harness arcana. Liu Kang and Jax go after Kabal and Reiko. Meanwhile, Cole struggles with the toothy Mileena, until Sonya arrives and blasts a hole through Mileena’s body. Then, Sub Zero, having captured Cole’s previously rescued family, arrives and transports Cole to an icy location. There, Cole struggles against Sub Zero, when his ancestor, Hanzo Hasashi returns from Netherrealm as the specter Scorpion and they kill Sub Zero together.

Scorpion disappears and Raiden arrives with his other champions. They stare down Shang Tsung, who promises to return with his warriors. A few days later, Cole’s back at the gym, but leaves for “Hollywood” and the camera lingers on a poster of a certain movie star: Johnny Cage. 

Who is Johnny Cage?

Mortal Kombat movie Johnny Cage

(Image credit: Netherrealm Studios)

Cole, Sonya, and the team must now seek out new champions to help in the battle against the Outworld, and it appears Cole’s going to Hollywood to look for Johnny Cage. That’s a name gamers will be familiar with – Cage happens to be a charismatic fighter who was one of the seven original playable characters in Mortal Kombat. He’s initially tricked by Shang Tsung into entering the very first Mortal Kombat tournament, but soon enough joins the heroes of Earthrealm. There’s a lot more to the character, and you can get a full rundown on who is Johnny Cage through that link.

Are Mileena, Goro, and Sub Zero still alive?

Mortal Kombat movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Death is not forever in the Mortal Kombat universe. As we have already seen, Scorpion is able to return after perishing hundreds of years ago. When Shang Tsung is vanquished back to the Outworld, we see his minions perishing to black smoke – a sign that, yes, they will be back (if they make Mortal Kombat 2, that is).

Where did Scorpion go?

Mortal Kombat movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros/New Line Cinema)

Scorpion’s back alive, yet the hero disappears moments after killing Sub Zero, telling Cole to “look after my bloodline”. Leaving in a fiery glow, Scorpion’s face turns skullish, and he presumably heads back to the Netherrealm. Has Hanzo Hasashi finally found peace? Again, death’s not finite, so the kunai-wielder could certainly return to turn a few more people to ash.

Is Cole Young in the games?

Mortal Kombat movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros/New Line Cinema)

While Scorpion may be a Mortal Kombat mainstay, Cole Young is not. In fact, he basically acts as Johnny Cage normally does – an audience surrogate who needs to learn about the Outworld and Eathrealm mythology. So, even though he may fulfill a prophecy, Cole is not a previous part of the Mortal Kombat series. Another movie-only addition is arcana, the magical force that’s within each fighter. The fighters in the game, for the most part, simply have magical powers, rather than there being an origin story revolving around an inner power only accessible by those with a special tattoo. 

Are there other realms? 

Earthrealm, Outworld, Netherrealm, and The Void – where the Elder Gods dwell – are all depicted in the movie. However, as you may have suspected, there are a bunch of other realms in the games not featured in the movie. Chaosrealm, Dreamrealm, Heaven, and Orderrealm are all still unexplored. Plus, Outworld itself has many sub-divisions. There’s a lot left to be explored.

Are there other Gods like Raiden?

Mortal Kombat movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros/New Line Cinema)

Like there are other realms, there are indeed other Gods. Raiden, God of Thunder, is the protector of Earthrealm, while Lucifer is the protector of the Netherrealm. Lucifer’s origins have not been explored in the games. Then there’s Argus, protector of Edenia, and Fujin, God of Wind and another protector of Earthrealm, plus a few more.

Interestingly, Liu Kang, seen in the movie using various fire powers, on one of the Mortal Kombat timelines (there are a few) becomes the Fire God. He also goes on to inherit Raiden’s thunder abilities and learns to fly. Yep.

Which fatalities did we see?

Mortal Kombat movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros/New Line Cinema)

The Mortal Kombat games are beloved for their brutality, with each character having a fatality – AKA when they kill the other character. There are a couple in the movie, including:

  • Kano’s heart rip
  • Kung Lao’s hat splitter
  • Liu Kang’s fire dragon
  • Jax’s head clap
  • Shang Tsung’s soul steal
  • Scorpion’s fire breath

There are also two moves that are not quite fatalities, though are very close. Sonya's purple beam that goes through Maleena may kill the villain, but her game fatalities see her take off an opponent's head with a wire, and split an enemy in half with her legs. Nice. At the beginning of the movie, we see Sub Zero turn Jax’s arms to ice – which leads to Jax’s game-accurate robot arms – but that’s also not Sub Zero’s fatality. In the games, he cuts the other player in half. Again: nice.

Is Kano alive and who are the Black Dragon? 

Mortal Kombat Kano

(Image credit: New Line Cinema/Warner Bros.)

The Black Dragon, which the double-crossing Kano leads, are a faction of the Red Dragon clan. The group is formed of highly trained mercenaries, and includes Jarek, a fighter from the Mortal Kombat games. With Kano dead after a fight with Sonya, there’s a question over whether Shang Tsung will bring the human to life. After all, we only saw the Outworld warriors turning to black. Could Jarek replace him in the potential sequel? That’s only if they get the green light to make a sequel, which has not been officially confirmed.

That's all the major questions answered! For more Mortal Kombat, check out what we want to see from Mortal Kombat 2. The Mortal Kombat movie is available now on HBO Max in the US (check out the best HBO Max prices) and on-demand in the UK.

I'm the Entertainment Editor over here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews, and features, plus I look after the Total Film and SFX sections and socials. I used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film