Mortal Kombat 3 movie gets a fresh start; Christopher Lambert (Rayden), Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Linden Ashby (Johnny Cage) might return

The first Mortal Kombat game-movie was greatCould the videogame based movie Mortal Kombat 3 still be happening or is it lost in development hell forever? It turns out that much like the next Mortal Kombat 8 game, the third movie will get a fresh start as well.

The movie is not going to be a prequel, sequel, or in any form be related to the previous 2 movies. Pretty much like Batman Begins, is going to restart the series with new concepts, stories, etc.,” an insider called “Rayden” told Moviehole.

The second Mortal Kombat game-movie was not greatHe continued: “Threshold had to wait till around early 2000 for the contract with New Line Cinema to end (Threshold blames New Line for the disappointing [Mortal Kombat 2:] Annihilation, talking about forced release dates, limited budget, no understanding of anything. — The reason it is taking so long is the script, so many parts are involved. The team at Threshold (the ones that holds the right to MK) are constantly writing drafts (along with the director), which they have to send to Midway (makers of the game) so the creator of the game (Ed Boon) adds notes and some input to the draft, then to the studio (rumored to be Lionsgate at this moment).”

Here are some of the director’s comments on the movie:

The third Mortal Kombat game* “It is a new telling of the Mortal Kombat universe drawing from the whole universe. As I have said think of it like Batman Begins”.

* “Threshold (Larry Kassanoff) has a staff of writer’s working on the script. The script drafts interacts with all parties involved being addressed with extensive sets of notes. The script is then revised according to these notes and then pushed through the approval process again. This is how the project proceeds. In regards to finishing most scripts it takes along time. Yes certain projects get fast tracked or fast followed into production and they bang the script out as fast as the writer can type and fix the script as they go but this money driven. As most projects finalize the script first in order to trigger all the financing into effect. Which then triggers casting etc… Today most financiers have a lot to say about the scripts as it is their money on the line. So usually when you see a movie that has 11 or 12 producers on the slate each one of them has had a say at the table about the script equal to their involvement financially. As I have said in past on this project Threshold, Midway and the studio all have one or two producers each making comments on the script. So that is where we are at the moment. All of us working on the script with the staff of writers”.

* “Casting adjourned for the moment before we got that far. As I have said in other posts we went back to the script after the initial movement on the project and have been rewriting(per the partied involved Threshold, Studio, Midway) since so no additional casting thoughts and or processes were even continued. As soon as the script is done we will proceed with casting again and all options in all casting areas are still on the table 100%…”

The best news is that he has confirmed that he’s met with the first Mortal Kombat movie cast Christopher Lambert (Rayden) and Robin Shou (Liu Kang) though.

February 2008 update: The new Mortal Kombat 3: Devastation (working title) movie is now set to be directed by Chris “Mink” Morrison, who previously directed a 2005’s Steven Seagal movie Into the Sun. It’s being billed as a reboot and won’t be released until at least 2010.

The director mentioned the movie will be a “re-envisioning of the Mortal Kombat franchise from top to bottom. Today’s audience is a savvy involved group, so the film must be A plus plus in every area, in order to capture the magic of the first film. It is taking the entire concept to the next level across the board in every area: visual design, story, cast, FX, photography and most importantly the fighting scenes. The original Mortal Kombat game was born a child of many visual loves by the creators at Midway, so this latest version borrows heavily from that pioneering spirit and must be thought out and executed at the highest level in order for it succeed in today’s market place. This is no overnight task.”

Further IMDB rumors suggest that Christopher Lambert will return as Rayden and Chris Casamassa returns as Scorpion. Although officially they haven’t begun casting yet, despite a finished script.

April 2008 update: We’ve heard many rumors about Linden Ashby, the actor who plays Johnny Cage in the first movie, returning from the land of the dead; or simply him stating he’d love to reprise his role in a restart of the MK movies. In this video Linden Ashby talks about reading the Mortal Kombat 3 script back in May 2003 on SoapNet. That’s so awesome! He’s definitely looking forward to making a return, take a look.

June 2009 update: With the Mortal Kombat game series creator Midway now bankrupt, debtors are wanting Midway to sell, supposedly in a $33 million sale of Midway assets to Warner Bros. Lawrence Kasanoff — who brought the original Mortal Kombat movie to the big screen (as well as a TV show) — through his company, Threshold Entertainment, petitioned the Bankruptcy Court to preserve his IP rights including copyrights to certain Mortal Kombat series characters. Mr. Kasanoff also wants to retain the right to create derivative film and television projects based on the popular fighting game franchise.

To quote Kasanoff’s Mortal Kombat complaint: “In 1993, Kasanoff visited Midway… with an idea to launch the Mortal Kombat concept in a totally new direction. Specifically, Kasanoff proposed to develop… a full feature-length motion picture, a television series, and other productions. Midway was initially skeptical, as Kasanoff’s idea was revolutionary at the time…

The Mortal Kombat series, as it stands today, is far more a creation of Threshold and Kasanoff than of Midway. Midway’s creative input was almost entirely limited to the videogames. On their own, the videogames provided only minimal back-story and mythology, and only flat, “stock” characters… Kasanoff and Threshold were responsible for virtually all of the creative input that went into turning the videogame concept into a multimedia enterprise.”

For all of us who want to see a third Mortal Kombat movie in the vain of of the great first movie, this guy seems like our best bet to make it happen. Although I still hope that the game’s creator Ed Boon will be involved as well.

June 2010 update: The Mortal Kombat 3 is now tentatively titled Mortal Kombat Rebirth. The director is said to be Kevin Tancharoen, and according to Robert Diggs from the Wu-Tang Clan it should “bring back Mortal Kombat”. You can also see Star Trek Voyager’s Seven of Nine as Sonya Blade. That actress, Jeri Ryan, said about the project (also on Twitter) that “It’s not a game trailer. Actually was made for the director to sell Warner Bros. on his vision for a reimagined Mortal Kombat film. No idea yet what WB’s reaction to it was.”

Take a look at the first live-action teaser trailer for the Mortal Kombat Rebirth movie:

Fans rejoice!

September 2011 update: The LA Times has confirmed that after the successful Mortal Kombat Rebirth teaser was turned into the 9-episode Mortal Kombat Legacy web series (coming to DVD & Blu-ray on November 8th, 2011) we’ll now finally get the “Mortal Kombat 3 Movie” from the same director Kevin Tancharoen. — Not surprising considering the popularity of the latest Mortal Kombat 2011 game, which sold over 3 million copies worldwide. — The stand-alone Mortal Kombat Movie will hit cinemas in 2013 and has an estimated budget of over $100 million!