Entertainment Weekly has at long last given fans the first glimpse of the upcoming live-action Mortal Kombat feature film reboot. An in-depth article is part of their 2021 cinematic preview series, which includes many juicy details and first-look photos. Read on for more:

In Entertainment Weekly's article fans will find an expected blend of familiar video game canon and the type of adaptation tropes we've seen in other recent spin-off versions of the franchise, such as Scorpion's Revenge and Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

Completely new to the franchise will be Cole Young: an already notorious character to be played by Lewis Tan, who is described by the actor as "kind of a washed-up MMA fighter who used to be a champion".

True to widely circulated rumors, the tape-fisted fighter does indeed appear to be down on his luck. Also true to expectation: he appears to be an entry character for penetrating established lore, which he may have a hidden connection to per a mysterious dragon-like birthmark. Tan elaborates, "... along the journey of Mortal Kombat and Cole discovering where he comes from, you're introduced to all these other iconic characters and elements that everybody loves so dearly."

Cole knows nothing of his heritage aside from the mysterious birthmark on his chest — in the shape of the Mortal Kombat symbol. Tan remains mum on how this birthmark connects to the character's origins but agrees "it's a unique symbol" that "will eventually tie into the journey that he's going on." It remains the only clue Cole has when the sinister sorcerer and emperor of the realm Outerworld, Shang Tsung (Skyscraper's Chin Han), sends Sub-Zero, now with his cryomancy powers, to hunt him down.

Cole will apparently connect with many of Mortal Kombat's iconic fighters as he passes from Jax (Mehcad Brooks), to Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), and "Elder God" Lord Raiden (Tadanabou Asano), who offers sanctuary at a temple where Kano (Josh Lawson), Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), and Kung Lao (Max Huang) will be training for the tournament. A photo of the Shaolin Monks displays two of the more exciting live-action creations.

As it was in Legacy; the iconic rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero is transposed from recent history to the distant past of feudal era Japan hundreds of years ago. Their battle will apparently dominate the opening of the film, which reportedly dedicates 10 minutes to a violent struggle between Joe Taslim's Bi-Han and Hiroyuki Sanada's kunai-gardening family man, Hanzo Hasashi.

Director Simon McQuoid waxes philosophical in the article about the implications of blood in the series, citing its inspiration beyond the mere stains splattered at the feet of fighters. He describes blood's importance to identity and connection, which no doubt underscores the family tragedy that famously befalls Hasashi, described as "leader of a ninja clan".

McQuoid also explains the aesthetic of the film, which seems very apparent in photos supplied by Warner Bros, particularly in the photo of Joe Taslim attacking Sanada [included below]. "It's not a shiny film… I wanted the dirt and the grime to come through." This rings true in understated costume design and a muted colour palette.

Mysterious tattoos -- or a birthmark, in Cole Young's case -- that provide passage to Raiden's temple may recall Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, but the director reiterates the filmmakers' intent to pay homage and respect to the series' famed lore: "I wanted to make sure that everyone respected the material, the lore of Mortal Kombat, the fans and the love they have for this. Everyone was clear on it"

Key to this homage of series "lore" is also the fatalities the game is known for. McQuoid introduces EW's readers to the prospect of brutal R rated violence -- something we've heard consistently throughout production: "We had a lot of discussions about getting the balance right so there was gore and there was blood and there were fatalities."

Mortal Kombat will debut in theatres and streaming to HBO Max on April 16th. A trailer is expected soon. Share your first impressions with us in the comments below and follow more from the movie in the Media & Merchandise forum!