Mortal Kombat

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Name: Mortal Kombat
Abbreviation(s): MK
Creator: Midway Games
Date(s): 1992-
Medium: video games
Country of Origin: American
External Links: Official Site
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Mortal Kombat is a series of fighting video games originally released by Midway Games.


Mortal Kombat is one of the three major fighting game franchise to come out of the 90s, alongside Street Fighter and Tekken. It gained a reputation for its finishing moves, known as Fatalities, that were particularly violent for the time. The franchise expanded into a children's television show, several comic book runs, several live-action movies, and a live-action web series.

General Plot Overview

The main cast (called kombatants in the series) fight in a once-a-generation tournament to determine the fate of Earth. Should they win, Earth will remain its own independent realm; should they fail, Earth's dimension (called Earthrealm) will be folded into the realm of the aggressors. Usually the game's fight is the final battle in a series, thus the fate of Earthrealm and all its denizens rest on the characters' shoulders. Across the iterations of the franchise, the kombatants and their origins vary, as well as if they fight intentionally or not. The usual plot is that Earthrealm is victorious, and the aggressor Shao Kahn manipulates events in such a way as to still invade Earthrealm and necessitate further fighting.

Notable Games

Video games

Title Release Notes
Mortal Kombat 1992 The original Mortal Kombat game.
Mortal Kombat II 1993 Second main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat 3 1995 Third main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat II.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 1995 An update to Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy 1996 A game based on the MK3 engine, incorporating all the characters in the series up to that point.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero 1997 First of three spin-off games. An action-adventure game starring Sub-Zero. Prequel to the first Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat 4 1997 Fourth main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat 3. Last game to appear in arcades.
Mortal Kombat Gold 1999 An update to Mortal Kombat 4, made for consoles only.
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces 2000 Second of three spin-off games. An action-adventure spin-off starring Jax. Prequel to the first Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat Advance 2001 A port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance 2002 Fifth main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat 4.
Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition 2003 An update to Deadly Alliance.
Mortal Kombat: Deception 2004 Sixth main game. Sequel to Deadly Alliance.
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks 2005 Third of three spin-off games. An action-adventure spin-off starring Liu Kang and Kung Lao, set in an alternate timeline between Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon 2006 Seventh main game. Sequel to Deception, and the final title of the original main series.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe 2008 Eighth main game. A non-canonical crossover title set in an alternate timeline between Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat (2011) 2011 Ninth main game. Reboot story combining plots from the original Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat X 2015 Tenth main game. Sequel to 2011's Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat 11 2019 Eleventh main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat X.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath 2020 An update to Mortal Kombat 11.

Other Media

Main Characters

These vary depending on the game played. As of 9 September 2020, there have been 100 characters (both original and guest) in the franchise. There are 80 original characters in the franchise, some of whom take different forms throughout the series.


Mortal Kombat lends itself well to crossovers due to both the core games' inclusion of guest characters from various franchises (RoboCop, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, the Xenomorph from the Alien film series, Predator, The Terminator, Joker from DC comics, Spawn, Jason Voorhees, Kratos, and the nebulously described portal technology which allows travel across realms.

Fanwork Trends

Due to the nature of the foundational media as graphic and generally sexualized, many fanworks reflect this.

The presence of ninjas in the canon material is popular in fanart, as are gender-bent characters (e.g. a female Sub-Zero).


  • The Cages (Johnny and his daughter Cassie) are engaged with pop culture. They often make references to movies, memes, and popular culture events in general.
  • LGBTQ headcanons are commonplace, including Cassie Cage as a lesbian transgender woman.



  • Jacqui Briggs/Takeda Takahashi (established in Mortal Kombat X)
  • Sonya Blade/Johnny Cage (established in Mortal Kombat X, called CageBlade)
  • Kotal Kahn/Jade (established in Mortal Kombat 11)
  • Liu Kang/Kitana
  • Shao Kahn/Sindel
  • Jackson "Jax" Briggs / Vera Briggs (Vera's only visual appearance is in MKX: Blood Ties)
  • Mileena/Tanya (Confirmed by their MKX dialogue intros, Mileena's MK11 dialogue intros & Mileena's MK11 non-canon tower ending)

Arguable Canon

These are 'arguable canon' in that they are in the material produced by NetherRealm Studios, but are in pre-fight dialogues or in characters' Tower Endings, which are described by NRS as 'non-canonical'.

  • Erron Black/Nitara [2]
  • Erron Black/Skarlet [3]
  • Kabal/Sareena [4]
  • Bi-Han/Sareena (based on exchanges in Mythologies)
  • Sonya Blade/Shang Tsung (based on his interactions with her, as well as MK11 dialogue[5]


As of 9 September 2020, the eleven most popular pairings on Archive Of Our Own were:

  • Scorpion/Sub-Zero (131)
  • Jacqui Briggs/Takahashi Takeda (61)
  • Sonya Blade/Johnny Cage (58)
  • Scorpion/Sub-Zero (55)
  • Liu Kang/Kitana (54)
  • Mileena/Tanya (Mortal Kombat) (38)
  • Scorpion/Takahashi Kenshi (34)
  • Erron Black/Kung Jin (28)
  • Sub-Zero/Reader (26)
  • Erron Black/Reader (24)
  • Cassie Cage/Sonya Blade (24)


  • Kung Jin was revealed in Mortal Kombat X as canonically gay, which has resulted in a variety of pairings. The NRS Cinematic Director confirmed it in a tweet [6]



  • The lack of cohesive lore across the franchise, and its unabashed use of time travel, means consistent lore management is difficult at best.
  • Electing not to include Mileena (a popular franchise character) in Mortal Kombat 11 thus far has resulted in repeated requests via Twitter to one of the creators, Ed Boon. Boon periodically engages with these and trolls them in return.[7]
  • The portrayal of Queen Sindel in Mortal Kombat 11's Aftermath DLC conflicts with popular fan-created theories (such as that Sindel was manipulated to support Shao Kahn), and has been generally negatively received by fans.


Communities & Fansites

Fansites & Forums

Mailing Lists

  • Mortal Kombat Chat and Fic archive link "The purpose of this list is to give fans a place to discuss the movies and follow-up show and share any fanfic they might want to post. General, hetero and slash fic is welcome, dealing with attractive adults. By joining this list you declare to one and all that you are above the legal age. Any fiction posted, will be archived to the WWOMB, unless the author includes a "Do NOT Archive" addendum."
  • MKS_Realm archive link "Mortal Kombt Slash Realm: This list is a *slash* discussion and fiction list for all incarnations of Mortal Kombat. Various discussion okay, but fiction should be strictly slash. Authors are eagerly sought, but everyone is welcome! All fic is currently Johnny/Rayden, but we're happy to try other couples. Members ought to be over 18, but no age statement will be required." (Founded: Sep 2, 1999)

Deviantart Communities

Other Resources


  1. ^ [1] IMDB
  2. ^ [2] Mortal Kombat Warehouse
  3. ^ [3] Mortal Kombat Warehouse
  4. ^ [4] YouTube
  5. ^ [5] Mortal Kombat Warehouse
  6. ^ [6] Twitter, April 15, 2015
  7. ^ [7] Twitter, September 3, 2020