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Why Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match Had 80s Timeline

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match

With the evolution of technology, 2D animations that rocked the 90s and 2000s now feel like old school. However, that is the format preferred by Mortal Kombat Legends. The first full trailer of Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match was released at the just concluded San Diego Comic-Con.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match

The first time I heard about Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match, I imagined the Mortal Kombat battle taking place in a WWE-like cage match. However, the cage here is not the metal bars you know. It is talking about Johnny Cage, the movie superstar that eventually became the protector of the Earth realm.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match takes us back to the 80s during the rise of action movie classics. At the center of the entire action is Johnny Cage, a fast-rising Hollywood star with the ambition of making it to the A-list.

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“When his costar, Jennifer, goes missing from set, Johnny quickly discovers the City of Angels has more than a few devils in its midst,” explained the trailer description. “He faces off against a sinister secret society plotting a nefarious scheme.”

This time, Johnny Cage will be fighting alongside other Mortal Kombat legends to save humanity and his career. The new original feature-length film inspired by the Mortal Kombat game will be available for purchase from October 17, 2023.

One interesting thing that NetherRealm did at the San Diego Comic-Con was presenting fans with two trailers. One was called the Green Band trailer while the other was called the Red Band trailer. I saw both trailers and it was obvious more scenes were added to the Red Band trailer—which made it longer too.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match doesn’t seem to conform to any timeline

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match will be the fourth animated feature film to spin out of the Mortal Kombat game. The first of such was Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. It was followed by Battle of the Realms where Johnny Cage continued his aloofness and crush on Sonya Blade that nearly cost Earth realm the battle—although he later found his inner power and redeemed himself.

While Battle of the Realms was a sequel to Scorpion’s Revenge, the third release called Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind was a clear deviation from the first two. It was a tribute to Kenshi’s origin. In that release, NetherRealm played with the idea of time travel a lot.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match

NetherRealm has been playing with ideas in the game beginning from the change in timeline. The upcoming Mortal Kombat game is considered a reboot of the entire story. Instead of Mortal Kombat 12, it was called Mortal Kombat 1.

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Some fans don’t care about the changing timelines—as long as they get great combat. However, a poll we conducted shows that some fans of the game hated the idea of the changing timeline because it makes it harder for them to follow the story.

Are you comfortable with the always changing Mortal Kombat story?


From the trailers that were released at SDCC, it is almost certain that Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match is set in a different timeline that separates it from all the other Mortal Kombat Legends released before it.

One logical explanation for this is that NetherRealm chose this time (80s) to coincide with the rise to fame of Jean-Claude Van Damme whose likeness they want Johnny Cage to take in the game. This is a smart attempt to merge the two characters.

Also, the Johnny Cage that features in Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match is different in appearance from the one featured in Battle of the Realms. The Johnny Cage that will feature in Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match wears earrings rather than the earbuds we saw in the previous release.

Is Johnny Cage finally getting a proper backstory?

One problem I have found about the characters of most fighting games is that they often lack a fully formed backstory that would make it easier for fans to connect deeply with them. This is a direct contrast to what Marvel does with its superheroes.

The first movie about any new superhero in Marvel is always about how they got their powers and became who they are. However, in fighting games, the best that fans often get is a quarter to half a page of narration.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match

It is really interesting that NetherRealm has realized the importance of building out its characters. Before the announcement of Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match, we have always known that Johnny Cage was an action superstar—or wannabe in some cases. However, it has always been hard to connect his career with his sudden call to become one of the defenders of the Earth realm.

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At least now I know that he was bullied a lot as a teenager before his mom took him to a local dojo where he learned how to fight and defend himself. These tiny details give the character a personality that embeds in the minds of gamers.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match will likely connect the dots and tell us more about the life of Johnny Cage and why he acts the way he does. It would be nice for NetherRealm to give every Mortal Kombat character a “Mortal Kombat Legends” story.

Do you think it would be a nice idea to have a feature film for all the characters in Mortal Kombat that will talk about their origin? Share your thought in the comment box below.

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