June last year, seven minutes and forty-nine seconds of video had the entire gaming internet and MK fan kommunity buzzing [full story]. Mortal Kombat: Rebirth was ultimately the work of Kevin Tancharoen: a director looking to develop a radical reimagining of the Mortal Kombat universe and its characters. To accompany this twisted new vision, noteworthy actors Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight, Black Dynamite, Spawn), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager, Boston Public, Shark), and Ian Anthoy Dale (The Event, Tekken) lent their time and talents to a modest cast of extras, in what was otherwise a very well produced, high budget demo reel for online consumption. Or so it seemed...

Bloody-Disgusting.com is reporting that the video, witnessed by millions upon its release online, has earned Tancharoen the opportunity to produce an official series of ten short webisodes for Warner Brothers; current proprietors of the Mortal Kombat license and trademarks.

Tancharoen, who made his feature directorial debut in 2009 with the remake of Fame, had originally been aiming for an R-rated feature "reboot" of the franchise. On moving forward from the premise of the Rebirth demo, the director told Collider.com:

So with all that mysticism, I want to infuse it. But I also want to infuse it with a little bit more of a demonic presence, as opposed to an Asian mysticism presence, so that it feels a little bit more evil. That’s the thing about Mortal Kombat. I love that it was all the bad things. It was evil, it was bloody. It was your way of being twelve and rebelling. “I’m not gonna play Sonic the Hedgehog — I’m gonna play Mortal Kombat.” I definitely want to incorporate all of that stuff, but I want to incorporate it in a very tasteful way. Not in an over the top, campy way, where everyone one is just throwing fireballs, and throwing electricity, and having an unlimited supply of special moves. Because then, if you do that, to me they’re not special anymore at all. And I want to incorporate all of the very iconic things that have made Mortal Kombat so special.

Filming for the online series is reported to begin in Vancouver in February, with Michael Jai White returning in the lead role of Mortal Kombat II alumnist, Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs. The plot, reportedly written by [Kevin] Tancharoen, Todd Helbing, and Aaron Helbing, will presumably reside within the urbanized setting of Rebirth's grimey "Deacon City", developing an alternate take on the Mortal Kombat tournament that will be featured in April in the new game. This is not explicitly described in the original story, however.

Rebirth's greatest strength was arguably its willingness to take the Mortal Kombat franchise seriously, emphasising credible martial arts amidst the bloody cinematic battles. If your tastes veer closer to the official canon, however, be sure to check out recently released official materials from the game, including a character vignette delving into the beautiful and lethal origins of abominable clone, Mileena! Also just released this Fatality Friday: Kitana and Mileena renders, and a closer look at the history of The Dead Pool!

Mortal Kombat is expected to be released in April for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the first game since the formation of NetherRealm Studios. To coincide with the release, a new concept album, Mortal Kombat: Songs Inspired by the Warriors, will also be released through Warner Brothers' WaterTower Music.

Thanks to forum member ProfesserAhnka for first word on this story and others who submitted as well. If you think you have a lead, submit it to MKO!