Mortal Kombat has officially been released to most markets as of Friday and by the film's design -- sequel talk has inevitably begun. Director Simon McQuoid has discussed the subject in a new interview, addressing several key elements of the 2021 franchise reboot. Be warned: there are significant spoilers beyond this point!

In the spoiler-laden interview with Variety: McQuoid claims the word "sequel" was never used in relation to the new film -- but they did consider the future and create "joiner pieces". That fact is self-evident in the film, which establishes itself as taking place before the fated Mortal Kombat tournament, and dangles several prospects for another installment before the credits roll.

Johnny Cage proved to be the most controversial omission from the feature film reboot, and its biggest tease. The movie ends with Cole Young (Lewis Tan) headed for Hollywood to find "who" not what. A Johnny Cage film poster is the last thing seen before the end credits [pictured above]. McQuoid says Cage was left out to keep the movie balanced: "... he’s such a giant personality that he almost has his own gravitational field." Producer Todd Garner previously compared him with Kano.

McQuoid also notes that he's been asked about Kitana just as much as Cage. Her iconic fan weapon can be seen on display in Raiden's temple during the movie, but her existence is largely unaddressed, making a role in the sequel an obvious choice. The director says he hasn't really thought about who he'd put in a sequel, but he'd like to add more females: "I guess I’d like to shift it to be a little more female. There are some fantastic female characters..."

Shang Tsung (Chin Han) vows to return with an army regardless of how many of his minions are put in the ground, brushing off the deaths of several of his loyal fighters in the 2021 film. He describes death as "only another portal" and if you were hoping the movies might restore gravitas and consequence to death -- you're out of luck.

The revolving door of death seen in recent Mortal Kombat video games has informed the thinking of the filmmakers, giving them license to consider any character ripe for return -- even though the built-in story of Bi-Han's return as Noob Saibot is clearly another foreshadowed "joiner" at the end of the movie [pictured above]. Joe Taslim has already confirmed he signed on for four more appearances, and discussed his character's transformation.

Is it safe to say being dead might not mean someone is actually dead in this universe?
Well, yes, if you just look at the game, it’s exactly what the game has done in a really interesting way. I think we can perhaps learn from [the games] and try to do something interesting — again, there’s a big asterisk on all of this. I think the way they handle timelines and alternative iterations of the same character is really interesting. It doesn’t always mean that character comes back, “Oh, I’ve been reincarnated. I’m the same.” There’s some really interesting evolution and growth of these characters. The experience of death informs who they become. So I guess I don’t want death to be something that is inconsequential. That is something I certainly thought about as we discussed this story and what that means. So I think there are opportunities there, and certainly Sub-Zero has some opportunities.

The distance of the last Shaolin tournament, which was the premise of the original video game and retold in Mortal Komabt (2011), has also been interpreted as non-essential backmatter. Despite teasing another Outworld/Earthrealm conflict in its hypothetical arcade endings of Mortal Kombat X: the franchise is yet to return to the generational tournament conflict that was once considered its backbone.

The new movie does acknowledge Earthrealm's defeat in nine previous tournaments, and the prospect of an impending tenth contest, which McQuoid describes as "obviously essential within the DNA of Mortal Kombat". The director sees various other sequels as evolution away from that, and elaborates: "We didn’t really want to serve that. To serve a tournament idea, you have to build it a certain way. So it was a couple of reasons that came to it playing out in the way it did."

McQuoid accepts there are no guarantees that a sequel will come about, and part of their fate will be determined by fans' desire to see more of what they've done. "There’s a lot of interesting characters, story and material to work with. So we haven’t really dug into it; we just know we’re very privileged that’s sitting there. If we do get to that, and I’m not saying we will, I’m just saying if — big “if” — then we’ll go down that path."

Do you want to see more? Share your thoughts in the comments below and find & discuss more stories on the Media & Merchandise forum. Mortal Kombat Is now showing in theatres and streaming for 31 days on HBO Max in the United States. Special thanks to MK Online user Baraka_MK for forwarding this story.