At the start of the year we learned Jeremy Slater has joined development of a sequel to last year's Mortal Kombat film reboot. The Moon Knight writer has offered an update on the new script, learning lessons from the first movie, and the "weird universe" it's based on.
Slater spoke to The Direct, revealing work on the sequel script is about "halfway through". Although no details were shared about the follow-up plot, the writer notes that he's working closely with the director, studio, and NetherRealm Studios, to "take everything that worked in the first one and do it even better and give the audience even more" for a "satisfying" and "unpredictable" sequel.
The first film surprised die hard fans by eschewing the tournament plot of the original game, introducing a pre-emptive strike on created-for-the-movie chosen one: Cole Young (Lewis Tan). The very loose adaptation proved divisive, and Slater notes the filmmakers have reviewed their work, "... I think they definitely learned some lessons the last time around in terms of, ‘Here’s the stuff fans responded to, and here’s what people liked out of the movie, and here’s the stuff that didn’t work out as well as we hoped.' "
A cliffhanger at the end of the first installment sets up the anticipated arrival of Johnny Cage, but that won't mean a more grounded adventure. Referencing to his recent success with Marvel's Disney+ streaming service, Slater rules out an "MCU" tone, but adds "We have guys who are ripping off their faces and breathing fire—it’s a weird universe, let's embrace some of that weirdness..." Read the full remarks below:
It’s really fun so far. We’re about halfway through the script. I’m working really closely with the director and the studios, and the game guys, and I think—I can’t say anything about the actual story, but I think they definitely learned some lessons the last time around in terms of, ‘Here’s the stuff fans responded to, and here’s what people liked out of the movie, and here’s the stuff that didn’t work out as well as we hoped.' So we’re really looking at this as a chance to take everything that worked in the first one and do it even better and give the audience even more, and make something that is just incredibly satisfying, and really exciting, and unpredictable."
"I don’t think it’s necessarily going to have the same tone as the MCU, but it’s definitely going to have some of my sensibilities. That was part of my pitch to them. This is Mortal Kombat. We have guys who are ripping off their faces and breathing fire—it’s a weird universe, let's embrace some of that weirdness, and let’s make a Mortal Kombat sequel that no one is expecting and that can kind of sneak in and blow everyone away. We’re still really early in that process, but I’m having a blast with this script.”
Marvel was a reference point for producers overseeing the film, and with HBO Max still touting its massive success, it's easy to see the franchise potential for the fighting game franchise -- celebrating its thirtieth anniversary later this year.
Disney has successfully been able to separate Marvel Studios from the decades sprawling comic book multiverse of Marvel Comics, but with Mortal Kombat starting so far removed from the celebrated storytelling of the eleven game series, the most surprising way to give moviegoers something they don't expect may be a more faithful adaptation.
[Related Article: Review: Mortal Kombat Hacks Into Franchise Reboot]
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