The 'Mortal Kombat' Director Explains the Movie's Major Last-Second Reveal

Simon McQuoid talks about the end of 'Mortal Kombat' and the prospect of a sequel.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

This post contains spoilers for the end of 2021’s Mortal Kombat.

Simon McQuoid knows that taking on the reboot of Mortal Kombat for his first-ever Hollywood directing gig sounds like a brash, kinda nutty decision. “‘What were you thinking?'” quipped McQuoid, whose past work on commercials, many of which were for video games like Call of Duty or consoles, were no small production feats. “When I first saw the Mortal Kombat script, I felt that there was an opportunity to elevate this into a really beautiful, brutal, big, fun, cinematic experience that this title had never been to before. And that was a very exciting prospect for me.”

The result of that cool confidence is a fist-pumping success, a blood-soaked sparring spree that includes fun interpretations of some of the games’ most famous fighters from the Nine Realms-Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Kano (Josh Lawson), Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Goro (CGI), etc.-and introduces a brand-new character, Cole (Lewis Tan), as the movie’s bloodline, quite literally, leading viewers toward the big showdown between the icy ass-kicker Bi-Han/Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) and Hanzo/Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada), summoned fresh out of Hell.

But notably missing from the roster here is the slugger and action star, the centre of Paul W.S. Anderson’s 1995 Mortal Kombat adaptation, Johnny Cage-that is, until the final seconds of the movie before the credits roll. Having beaten back the Outworld champions, who tried to sabotage the millennia-old tournament before it even started, Cole and co. are setting off to find Earthrealm’s successors. Cole says he’s off to Hollywood before the camera pans to a movie poster hanging on the wall sporting, very largely, the credit “Johnny Cage.” (I, personally, SCREAMED.)

It’s a brief moment that raises approximately one hundred questions, chiefly: Does that mean we’re getting a sequel?? Was McQuoid’s entry meant to serve as a sort of prequel when you also consider, in the games’ canon (kanon?), that Bi-Han’s younger brother Kuai Liang picks up the Sub-Zero mantle? Who else might show up? (“I get asked about Kitana just as much as I get asked about Johnny Cage,” McQuoid said.)

Believe it or not, no: A sequel was not necessarily top of mind for McQuoid and his team. “We really didn’t dig in too much to any sequel talk,” he said. “We just didn’t talk about it. We understood the importance of Johnny Cage, and we knew he was too big a personality to put in the film that we were trying to build a foundation for. But we also knew we wanted to lead to him and make sure he was looked after.”

Still, one of the main criticisms lodged at the film thus far is how a certain follow-up felt baked in, an overcalculated attempt to start up yet another new franchise of existing IP. McQuoid would bristle at that insinuation, asserting that the Johnny Cage tease was just an on ramp for something more-if the fans wanted it. (We want.)

“We didn’t want to be so presumptuous that we thought, ‘Oh, we’ve nailed it, obviously.’ No one ever thinks that. That is the worst thing we can do,” McQuoid said. “But we knew that we needed to lay a few little rails out for potential. That’s all it is: It’s potential.”

Leanne Butkovic is an entertainment editor at Thrillist.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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