As we gear up for next week's E3: the leading topic of speculation remains the next playable roster! Mortal Kombat X will be at the annual gaming mecca to reveal at least 2 more playable characters -- "brand new", or so we're told. We expect to see plenty of familiar faces to go along with them, but not everyone character can make the cut.

Project Lead Ed Boon has spent the last few days setting expectations for E3. Amongst his various clues, allusions & titbits -- the kibosh for some of the more obscure characters fans have requested. With speculation running wild, it's time to spin the wheel of broken dreams and reflect upon Ed's Kharacter Deadpool!

Jade [Feb. 12, 2015 Update]
It was just a matter of time. For many of us, the elimination of original trilogy characters was an expectation thought to be met far sooner. We got first whiff in a recent report from IGN. Just two months out from the release of Mortal Kombat X (April 14th) -- the latest Kombat Kast has confirmed Jade will not be coming back.

Hidden behind a question mark on the arcade battle plan, and seen peeking out from behind a tree in the Living Forest stage (with Smoke); Jade memorably made her debut as an unlockable opponent in Mortal Kombat II. She developed into a fully realized character in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, adopting her trademark fighting staff for the first time, which remained with her in infrequent appearances up to her most successful outing in Mortal Kombat. Jade will be represented in MKX by her weapon of choice, carried in Kitana's Mournful fighting variation as tribute to the apparently fallen warrior.

An Edenian assassin taken in by Shao Kahn - Jade was originally charged with hunting Kitana during UMK3. Instead, the green clad assassin would become loyal to the princess and her realm of origin. In terms of fiction, this typically rendered Jade a subordinate afterthought to her palette swap counterpart, but the cult of design and gameplay easily makes Jade the most notable omission, thus far.

Bolstered by a zealous (and dubiously represented) collection of fans, Jade eliminated Reiko, Nightwolf & Quan Chi during last year's Supreme Champion fan vote, narrowly losing out to Shang Tsung in the Quarter Final.

Introduced in Deadly Alliance -- Mavado was a brand new addition in the exciting 2002 reboot of the franchise. He essentially took the place of Kabal, borrowing the MK3 fighter's trademark hookswords with an off-screen rivalry established in text dialogue. The rivalry would not be played out in-game until 2006's Armageddon, which packed in most of the playable characters from the entire series' lifespan.

Mavado was anchored by the introduction of the Red Dragon Clan - ancient counterpart to Kabal's better known Black Dragon, and nemesis of the Special Forces. Their number would only grow to three in the MKDA era, with Red Dragon founder Daegon one of the two new characters introduced in Armageddon. Mavado was introduced alongside infamous teammate Hsu Hao.

To go with his stolen hookswords, Mavado possessed a curious gimmick of elastic roped grapple hooks. His alternate design offered up an interesting armored look, but the primary design left little impression, with perhaps the exception of bewilderment at the sight of vinyl-spandex long johns. Absence did not make the heart grow fonder. After Boon's tweet, Mavado mustered a meagre 20.7% in his Supreme Champion fan vote against Cyrax.

"The Oni Tormentor" Drahmin is another 2002 introduction who failed to sustain a role. His skinned body and bright mask announced a stylistic change for the Deadly Alliance franchise relaunch, but any excitement he might have inspired dissipated as the character struggled to live up to expectations. As the playable buddy to a monster sub-boss, he looked a little weak. Street Fighter style rising uppercuts and buzzing flies tapped into an interesting concept, but failed to give it the hard hitting grunt of a feared demon.

With our pre-game anticipation based on the assumptions of an MK4 do-over, we thought Drahmin would be a good compliment to Shinnok's infamously unpopulated Netherrealm forces [Top 10 Comebacks]. With those assumptions quickly fading, the reasons for a return start to diminish. Appearing in our Supreme Champion fan vote, he managed a win with 59.4% of the vote against hard sell Kira.

"We don't have Motaro in the game, but if [we] had the big centaur half horse guy that filled half the screen it would not work. I don't think people think it through and just say "I want to play as Motaro!" You really don't!" - Ed Boon [via TRMK]

Motaro [Jun. 15, 2014 Update]
Introduced as a dramatic new sub-boss in Mortal Kombat 3 -- the Centaur warrior Motaro is something of a rare sight these days. As MK's first quadruped, he poses technical and logistic limitations that seem unlikely to be challenged any time soon. He was nixed in an E3 interview with TRMK -- but this was confirmation of a largely expected fact.

MK3 Motaro took advantage of the same stop-motion techniques first used to create Goro & Kintaro in the first games [read more]. Using digitized sprites based on maquette photography meant the unreal character could be created through arduous, but relatively simple sessions. Even so, the character appeared with logical limitations, unable to suffer the same toppling or fatal damage as other characters in the three MK3 versions.

In 2006, Motaro was a very late addition to Armageddon despite its fundamental, all-in roster concept. To avoid limiting the character or having to build new assets, the team redesigned him as a bipedal minotaur. Motaro was unceremoniously killed off during MK3-inspired portions of Mortal Kombat (2011)'s story mode. Despite maintaining a cult following, Motaro was eliminated from the Supreme Champion fan vote by newly revealed Ferra/Torr. He earned 45.6% of the vote.

We'd still kinda like to see the guy back in his full glory, but understand as the series boasts increasing levels of complexity in its internal body structures and play mechanics -- Motaro is more trouble than he's worth. We think concessions for an unplayable boss could be made, but we get it. He lives on in the hearts of long time fans, in the glue used by Outworld children, and in the meals served at some Ikea stores.

Hsu Hao [Jun. 26, 2014 Update]
Oh, Hsu Hao... Will there ever be a rainbow? It almost seems inconceivable that this burly Mongolian grappler was once the subject of intense, enthusiastic speculation. It was part of the lead up to Deadly Alliance -- the 2002 reboot of the series that saw his debut. At that stage, he was known simply as "[Kublai] Khan" - a name that had a lot of people questioning his true identity and significance.

Having made a name for himself as a short-lived double-agent within the Outerworld Investigation Agency - he was unceremoniously killed off by Jax in an MKDA ending that became canon. As we know all too well, however, death has a way of being temporary. When 2006's Armageddon called for an all-in mega game, Hsu Hao was briefly resurrected. It soon became apparent nobody at [Midway] was too chuffed about his return and he gained an endorsed reputation as a widely despised character.

Like most Kombatants, Hsu Hao isn't without his uses. It was nice to see the criminal fraternities expanded upon having had only a few Black Dragon fighters to go by. His Red Dragon expanded in significance in Armageddon and if the games ever go back there - there's fertile mythology to expand upon! When it comes to side-to-side fights, we kinda think leaning into Hsu Hao's death(s) and disdain is the way to go. Like Kenny in South Park, there could be some morbid fun to be had with Hsu Hao as a character who dies each game. A cyborg from day one, he has the size and look to become MK's resident Frankenstein patchwork man -- an archetype as yet unexplored. Who wouldn't want to lurch around the screen as a mad grappling "FrankenHao"?!

Ed may have ruled Hsu Hao out as a playable character in the next game, but that doesn't mean he won't be one of the "fun" cameos arriving in the story mode. And when we say "fun" - we mean to the miniscule mean 13.6% who've voted for him in previous years of our Supreme Champion fan tournament.

Update: For more on Hsu Hao's fate, check out the review for Mortal Kombat X #1 Chapter 1 from DC Comics.

Khameleon & Chameleon [Feb. 10, 2015 Update]
Hey! Just whose deadpool is this?! Horning in on the "unreveals" in February is Executive Producer Shaun Himmerick [above]. The lover of tacos took an elimination axe to two oft requested, but rarely seen fighters in Khameleon & Chameleon.

The jury's still out on the exact nature of Chameleon, but the female variant was treated to a full story in her Nintendo outings, making her a female Zaterran survivor in search of Reptile. Given the chance, they might've repopulated the nigh extinct refugee species, but it seems of all the fighters baring offspring, they won't be among them!

The ultimate male and female palette swaps debuted in respective versions of Mortal Kombat Trilogy, possessing all the powers of their multi-coloured counterparts. This made them #8 on Mortal Kombat Online's Top 10 hidden & unlockable characters, but has always split broad reaction. Pushback against the ills of the digitized era has never done them favours, but in spite of this, the pair have each maintained a fiercely loyal cult following. The potential for reinvention remains strong with a few ideas peppered between them, possibly as a duo of hidden rainbow warriors -- something sorely missing from modern Kombat.

Meat & Mokap [Feb. 10, 2015 Update]
A little less naturally paired together than Chameleon & Khameleon -- Meat & Mokap are never the less stuck together like two pieces of forgotten, freezer burnt beef. The price of being Mortal Kombat comedy characters.

Meat was introduced in Mortal Kombat 4 as a playable hidden character. The ultimate embodiment of Mortal Kombat's economic asset management - he was really just the composite flesh and muscle rendered for kombat's first 3D fatalities. Armageddon made him the product of Shang Tsung's flesh pits, and there was some reference to being a "fun character who assists Shinnok". Expectations of an MK4 do-over may have given Meat the slimmest of chances, but revelations about the "Netherrealm War" [spoilers] lessened that reasoning before it was pulped and packed into a soft tortilla shell.

Mokap debuted in Deadly Alliance as a loving, unlockable tribute to MK actor turned motion capture artist Carlos Pesina. Alas; trivia ties and a surprisingly enjoyable array of borrowed moves failed to earn Mokap the love some may feel for his real-life inspiration. Mokap ever so barely found relevance to the plot of the games, but his greatest achievements revolve around testicular puns. Not that there's anything wrong with that. We're still holding our breath for the Mokap/Stuntman Mortalmania dream match, but for now, it's bye bye balls.

The God of War mascot came as a bit of a shock when revealed at the 2010 VGAs! Nobody was quite anticipating guest characters in Mortal Kombat just yet, but with a bad ass trailer unleashing the might of the godslayer, a new era was ushered in.

Guest characters are still a sore point for many-a-die hard fan -- even as they top DLC sales stats. Eliminating Kratos will probably come as a relief for many, but we won't hold any parades just yet. Lines blur when a guest character makes repeat visits. If we're to be subjected to a crossover in Mortal Kombat X, we'd probably expected somebody new - and we know others have been considered! No love lost.

"I'd be hard-pressed to have a DC character as a downloadable character in Mortal Kombat X. The main reason is, I have no desire to cut Batman's head off. I have no desire to kill Superman." - Ed Boon [via Polygon]

DC Universe [Jul. 16, 2014 Update]
Just when you thought Ed Boon was a Lex Luthor-type villain, mercilessly toying with the lives of your favourite Kombatants - he reveals a heart! Speaking to Polygon at Evo 2014, the Creative Director eliminated the prospects of Injustice guest character DLC in Mortal Kombat X. No small detail, given the existing link between series' that was epitomized by Scorpion's inclusion in Injustice: Gods Among Us!

Batman would make particular sense, given the commercial guarantee the character elicits. Few superheroes have the demographic spread of The Dark Knight, who in 2014 is celebrating his 75th anniversary. While the purity of that event may lean away from Mortal Kombat - we cannot forget that MK has now been a small part of The Batman's long legacy. There was the 2008 crossover Mortal Kombat Versus DC Universe: announced on Mortal Kombat Online with a face-off between Bats and Sub-Zero. Then there was the already noted crossover in Injustice - which included "downloading" Scorpion into the troubled alternate DC Universe. Such events diminished efforts to talk up the separation between series - but keeping DC out of MKX helps sell that (even as Injustice gimmicks find their way into MKX gameplay).

Regime Superman -- left defeated at the close of Gods Among Us, but only imprisoned -- might have been another viable option. His brutality added an MK edge to The Man of Steel. For an even more natural fit, we couldn't eliminate Dark Kahn - the MKvsDC fusion of franchise bosses Darkseid & Shao Kahn.

Art Lean
Adapting Mortal Kombat for the big screen posed challenges to filmmakers in the mid nineties. Remaining more faithful to the source than most of their peers (Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon), the 1995 feature had the difficulty of representing the iconic franchise fighters and the popular fatality-laden battles. The solution was invariably to invent expendable characters. Enter: Art Lean!

Portrayed by Kenneth Edwards - Art Lean was a sympathetic martial arts champion who befriended Johnny Cage in an early scene that set him up as the consummate nice guy. Overwhelmed in the tournament, he was unceremoniously finished by Goro, prompting melodrama and heroic overtures by the Earthrealm heroes. His time was brief, but box office success meant his impact was made. He's long stayed in the minds of fans who were initiated by the film, but as an original creation from the movie, crossover appearances have been unlikely. Sorry, Art.

If you've made it this far, you probably aren't one of the dozens afflicted with the confusion that comes from not reading articles. You're probably handsome and attractive and don't expect to see Marvel's "Merc' with a Mouth" Deadpool. Logical - given NetherRealm Studios' status as a Warner Brothers owned developer who've worked with their DC Comics subsidiary in multiple avenues.

If you have reached this section and still don't quite understand what's going on: A "dead pool" (or deadpool) is a game based around predicting when a person or persons will die. The Dead Pool was the name of a 1989 Dirty Harry movie, called such for the aforementioned game. It's also where the Marvel character takes his name, and the wordplay behind one of Mortal Kombat II's most memorable arenas: The Dead Pool.

If you saw a picture of Ed Boon smiling maniacally in the Dead Pool with the words "MKX Character Deadpool" in front of it and expected a Rob Liefeld comic book character -- consider yourself better informed! If teacher gives you guff for reading up on MK, tell them you're learning! [Okay, but what are Deadpool's chances of being in MKX?] Quiet you.

Fret not! It hasn't been all doom and gloom! Characters dismissed have ultimately been the minority. For every fighter rebuked, several favourites have been... not rebuked. That is to say - don't expect any explicit character confirmations from the man in charge. Ed Boon is keeping mom! He has, however, shared some character tweets that we think could point toward the positive.

Who's next? Register to share your speculation with us on the Mortal Kombat X forum! There are already loads of topics, including the Supreme Mortal Kombat Champion - where you decide who's next! We'll be covering the next character reveals as MKX invades E3.