Director Kevin Tancharoen created the short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth with the intention of showing Warner Bros. how their dormant film franchise could be successfully re-imagined. The eight-minute clip unexpectedly became a viral sensation that many believed was a trailer for a new video game or movie. Tancharoen may not have landed the feature film deal he was originally hoping for, but his ambition did lead to the studio hiring him to develop the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
The first of nine episodes premiered earlier this week and cemented the fact that unlike Rebirth's revisionist take on the Mortal Kombat mythology, the web series would adhere closely to the established cornerstones of the series. Tancharoen co-wrote each episode with Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing (Spartacus: Blood & Sand) and will use the series to explore the back stories of characters like Sonya Blade (Jeri Ryan), Jax (Michael Jai White), Johnny Cage (Matt Mullins), Sub-Zero (Kevan Ohtsji) and many more.
The premiere of Mortal Kombat: Legacy was designed to coincide with the April 19th release of the new Mortal Kombat video game, but will it pave the way for Tancharoen's vision to expand into other mediums? He's eluded to the possibility of a second season centered around the characters of Liu Kang and Kung Lao - but at the end of the day, a new Mortal Kombat movie was always Tancharoen's primary goal.
The success of the web series will obviously be the most significant determining factor when it comes to the possibility of branching out into other formats, but Warner Premiere's general manager Eva Semple David told The New York Times that plans are already underway to bring Mortal Kombat: Legacy to DVD and television:
As for a new feature film, Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon was extremely impressed with Rebirth and strongly believes that Tancharoen should have first dibs on the project. According to Tancharoen however, that opportunity has yet to present itself:
"We still haven’t gotten the green light to do a full movie, so we still have work to do."
There's no doubt in my mind that discussions about a new Mortal Kombat film have taken place and that Tancharoen's name is in the mix, but it makes sense that Warner Bros. is waiting to see what kind of response Legacy gets from fans before making any concrete plans. I believe that it's only a matter of time before we see Mortal Kombat back on the big screen, but for the time being, I'm just incredibly excited about what this series could potentially mean for the future of web-based content.
The New York Times article also includes the first clear shot of Baraka, confirming that the tease we received last month was the real deal. It's a bit of a departure from the way the character has been presented in the games, but it's certainly a lot closer to the original design than Rebirth's interpretation. Check it out:
To me, this guy wouldn't look out of place running alongside the Orcs from The Lord of the Rings trilogy - but it's possible that viewing him within the context of the episode could make a huge difference. I think anyone who goes into Mortal Kombat: Legacy expecting production values that are on par with a feature film is going to be severely disappointed. All things considered, I think the cast & crew have been doing an admirable job with the resources that they have available to them.
Part of me still wants to see the universe that Tancharoen introduced in Rebirth expanded upon, but I realize that was probably too bold a departure from the source material for most fans. He obviously had a very specific vision mapped out and as much as we all want a Mortal Kombat mythos that we recognize - I just can't help but be a little curious about what Tancharoen would have done with fewer creative constraints.
Be sure to check out the next episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy this Tuesday.
Source: The New York Times