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Every Confirmed Mortal Kombat 1 Fighter (So Far) Explained

The Fatalities just keep coming. The next installment in the "Mortal Kombat" franchise promises to deliver an exciting revamped story that's got all the blood-soaked battles that fans have come to expect from the series. "Mortal Kombat 1" might seem like a strange title for the newest entry in a series with three decades of history, but it's a signal that fans should ready themselves for an experience that will feel brand new.


In almost every "Mortal Kombat 11" ending, Liu Kang attained godlike abilities and created his own world. "Mortal Kombat 1" picks up in that new universe, and though there are many familiar faces, every character has a new role and new history. In many ways, "Mortal Kombat 1" will serve as a new origin story for many of the franchise's beloved characters.

It may be a brave new world, but that doesn't mean the old one is being totally discarded. The characters of "Mortal Kombat" have a rich history, and if that history is being rewritten, then we all need to understand what's about to be changed. Here's the full breakdown of where every main "Mortal Kombat 1" fighter has been seen before — not counting DLC, Kameos, or hidden unlockable characters — as well where the future may lead them.



Although "Mortal Kombat 1" certainly holds more surprises for fans, one of the game's biggest reveals leaked a bit early. After someone got their hands on a review copy of the game for the Nintendo Switch, they posted a video of the character select screen on social media, alerting fans to the fact that Nitara was the 22nd fighter on the roster.


The vampiric Nitara is a surprising choice for "MK1," given the fact that she hasn't been playable since 2006's "Mortal Kombat Armageddon." She has since made a surprising appearance in the 2021 film adaptation, where she was played by actress Mel Jarnson. Here, she's voiced by Megan Fox, a self-professed fan of the "Mortal Kombat" franchise. Judging from the character announcement trailer, Nitara has not lost any of her ferocity, and will be happy to chow down on Earthrealm and Outworld warriors alike. Her Fatality is especially devious, as the character will grab Kombatants by their entrails and fly them up into the air like the world's most disturbing kite.

Liu Kang

Liu Kang has been around since the very beginning of the franchise, but he's more important than ever before in "Mortal Kombat 1." For as long as "Mortal Kombat" has existed, Liu Kang has been one of Earthrealm's most powerful fighters. On multiple occasions, Liu Kang has gone head-to-head with Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn and come out on top.


The last time we saw Liu Kang was in "Mortal Kombat 11," when he was determined to defeat Kronika and restart the entire "Mortal Kombat" timeline to save the universe. By the end of that game, he ascended to godhood, and rebooted everything. Liu Kang hoped his new world could fix the mistakes of the past, but we have a feeling it will be every bit as violent and conflict-ridden as the world he left behind. Still, it's not clear who will be able to pose a real threat to Liu.

Johnny Cage

Johnny Cage has been around since the very first "Mortal Kombat" game. He's a regular human from Earth who finds himself wrapped up in the violent mysticism of the "Mortal Kombat" universe, but Johnny didn't start out as a fearsome warrior. Johnny was originally an action movie star with all the arrogance of a stereotypical Hollywood jerk, but the work ethic of Keanu Reeves.


Even though some imagined that Johnny's fighting prowess was nothing more than showbiz magic, in reality he went above and beyond when working on his fight scene choreography. Johnny is a bona fide martial arts expert, and when he started fighting the other characters in "Mortal Kombat," he got the chance to prove it. "Mortal Kombat 1" just might offer Johnny the chance to restart his journey from actor to warrior, allowing him to reclaim his glory days in the limelight.


Compared to many of the other playable characters in "Mortal Kombat 1," Kenshi is a relatively new addition to the franchise. He made his first appearance in 2002's "Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance." Kenshi has been a fighter in several games since then, but he isn't exactly a "Mortal Kombat" mainstay. Kenshi was only a DLC character in "Mortal Kombat 11," but maybe now is his chance to rise to the top.


Kenshi has often been defined by his enemies. His primary nemesis is longtime villain Shang Tsung, who first appeared in the original 1992 game and who serves as a preorder bonus character in "Mortal Kombat 1." In "Mortal Kombat X," Kenshi went on a quest for revenge against an evil organization called Red Dragon, which was responsible for killing his wife. Kenshi's son Takeda eventually came to help him murder every member of Red Dragon, so fans are hoping for an equally heartwarming father/son story in "Mortal Kombat 1."

Kung Lao

Kung Lao didn't appear until "Mortal Kombat 2," but his signature weapon has made him one of the most iconic characters in the entire franchise. What appears to be a humble straw hat on Kung Lao's head is actually a deadly chakram. The hat's brim functions like a razor blade, and Kung Lao's bloodiest moves involve throwing the hat and slicing his enemies to ribbons.


Many characters in "Mortal Kombat" have obligations to fight due to their background, but Kung Lao's ancestry puts a very particular weight on his shoulders. He's a Shaolin Monk named after the first Shaolin champion to enter the Mortal Kombat tournament on Earthrealm's behalf. The original Kung Lao overcame his own weaknesses to defeat Shang Tsung and become a champion, and our Kung Lao has wrestled with that history for the entire time he's been a part of the franchise — but "Mortal Kombat 1" might give him some new responsibilities.

Li Mei

Li Mei has only been around since "Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance." "Mortal Kombat 1" will only be the seventh time that Li Mei has featured in the franchise, and only the sixth time she's been a playable character. Because she's only made a few appearances, she doesn't have a history quite as storied as many of the other characters, but that makes her perfect for this reboot's clean slate.


In her earliest appearances Li Mei had her soul stolen — and then was killed in battle not long after getting it back. She was luckily resurrected by Raiden, but fans haven't seen much of her since. Her last appearance was in "Mortal Kombat X," but she wasn't a playable character and didn't have a big role to play in the story. Li Mei's future is once again wide open due to her role in the latest "Mortal Kombat" game, so hopefully she'll have an easier go of things than she did in the past.


Baraka made his first appearance all the way back in "Mortal Kombat 2," and since then he's remained one of the most terrifying fighters in the series. Thanks to his razor sharp teeth, Baraka has a smile that will haunt your nightmares. He also has fingernails that look more like talons and the ability to extend blades from his forearms to slice his enemies when they least expect it.


Unlike most of the other fighters in "Mortal Kombat," Baraka comes straight from Outworld, a brutal realm at the edge of reality. Baraka is part of a mutated race of demonic warriors called the Tarkata, and he spent years rising through the ranks of his tribe to become their ruler. Historically, Baraka doesn't fight for glory, revenge, or personal gain. Instead, he's typically just trying to look out for his people, and he's willing to do anything if it'll benefit the rest of the Tarkata. It's unclear how these goals align with Liu Kang's new reality.

General Shao

"Mortal Kombat 1" reimagines Shao Khan, the franchise's most frequent antagonist, as General Shao. Throughout the history of "Mortal Kombat," Shao Khan dominated the throne of Outworld as a brutal tyrant and served as the final boss across multiple titles. However, in the narrative of the new universe, General Shao is an engineered super-soldier with loyalty to the realm of Outworld above all else. General Shao's power levels have seemingly decreased compared to his previous iterations' godlike cosmic and political power, but he's no less dangerous.


General Shao's relationship with his father was fraught with tension, as he was the sickly and frail son of a father who expected to raise a warrior. To fix this, according to Shao's bio on the official "Mortal Kombat 1" site, his father designed an "extreme program to build his son's strength and endurance." The plan apparently worked, because General Shao is a hulking brute. On top of that, Sindel introduces him as "The Victor of the Tavarian War" and "Conquerer of the Quaton Planes" in the game's "Rulers of Outworld" trailer. Despite the praise from Sindel in public, however, General Shao and Sindel are locked in a bitter and potentially realm-splitting feud over relations with Earthrealm.


As in previous games, Shao employs his extraordinary strength as part of a bloodthirsty fighting style. He gets in close, softens opponents with strikes and grapples, and finishes them with bone-crunching axe flourishes. This less magical, berserker-soldier style of General Shao will be a blast to pilot and has fans wanting to know more of his new backstory.


Sindel, the scream-queen of Edenia, is set to play a significant role in "Mortal Kombat 1." Originally introduced in the franchise in "Mortal Kombat 3," Sindel has died, been resurrected, then turned evil and then good and then evil again. "Mortal Komat 1" seems to return Sindel to her benevolent side, with intentions of preserving justice and peace as the Empress of Outworld. Her disposition sets her at odds with General Shao, who would wage war against Earthrealm instead of showing fealty to Liu Kang.


Sindel's backstory in "Mortal Kombat 1" is tragic. She married a local noble, Jerrod, to maintain the power she attained as Empress. This marriage proved fruitful for Sindel, Jerrod, and the realm at large. They had two daughters, Mileena and Kitana. When all seemed too good to be true, Jerrod was murdered, and her daughers' right to the throne lost some legitimacy amidst warring factions. Thus, Sindel is cast as a fierce maternal protector of her realm and her family's destiny.

Fans will be excited to learn that Sindel's iconic hair-whipping attacks are back. Her affinities for aerial and psionic magics allow her to levitate and fly across the battlefield, then unleash screams that stun opponents. Only time will tell if Sindel's hair is powerful enough to secure the future of Outworld for her daughters.



Kitana may just end up playing an integral role in "Mortal Kombat 1." She made her first appearance in "Mortal Kombat 2" as a 10,000 year old Edenian warrior with the appearance of a young woman. Kitana has a close relationship with another "Mortal Kombat" fighter: Mileena. Depending on the timeline, the two have been clones or twins, and their relationship as siblings will certainly play a role in "Mortal Kombat 1."


In the years since her debut, Kitana has fought countless battles, died, been resurrected, and (maybe most importantly) fallen in love with Liu Kang. Kitana played an integral role in "Mortal Kombat 11," helping Liu Kang on his quest to restart the timeline. In the game's best ending, Liu Kang defeats Kronika and reboots the universe with Kitana at his side. Now we'll finally get to see what the two of them decided to create together, and whether or not their relationship will continue in their new universe.


When she was first introduced in "Mortal Kombat 2," Mileena was depicted as a clone of Kitana created by Shang Tsung and imbued with Tarkatan blood that gave her abilities similar to Baraka. Since then, some franchise retconning has made Mileena Kitana's sister by blood, but no matter what her origins, Mileena has typically been a villain. Her Tarkatan blood gives her some extremely powerful combat abilities, but it also makes her wildly bloodthirsty. For a brief time, Mileena even became the empress of the Outworld, but this office was eventually torn away from her.


"Mortal Kombat 1" is positioned to give Mileena a more sympathetic origin and a more emotional tie to her sister Kitana. In this new universe, the twins are depicted as the daughters of Sindel, a character who's been around since "Mortal Kombat 3." Mileena is now not only royalty, but also infected with a disease that gives her the powers she's had in previous games.


Tanya is another character who has gone through a dramatic transformation heading into "Mortal Kombat 1." After making her first appearance in 1997's "Mortal Kombat 4," Tanya has gone on to have a relatively quiet role in the franchise. However, her presence as a background player and supporting character actually undersells the power she has as an Edenian warrior.


Over the years, Tanya has aided many of the evil groups in the "Mortal Kombat" mythos. She's worked alongside Shao Khan and the Deadly Alliance, but through her various exploits, she's also developed a strong bond with Mileena. In "Mortal Kombat 1," that bond is stronger than ever. Tanya serves as a sworn guardian of the Outworld's royal family, which means she works in close proximity with Mileena and her sister Kitana. Despite that, only one of them has Tanya's truest loyalty, and that's bound to be fodder for conflict in the latest game.


Oh, how the tables have turned for Raiden. Before the events of "Mortal Kombat 11," Raiden was the God of Thunder. His status as a god gave him the ability to teleport, fly, and shoot lightning, which not only made him a fearsome figure in the story, but also one of the most fun characters to play. Because he was so powerful, Raiden often acted as a teacher for other Earthrealm fighters (when he wasn't being corrupted into an antagonist) and he once mentored Liu Kang.


Now that Liu Kang has created a new universe and ascended to godhood himself, the two are in reversed roles. Liu Kang is now the legendary warrior with seemingly all-powerful abilities, while Raiden is the up-and-coming champion who needs guidance and instruction. The premise of "Mortal Kombat 1" puts Raiden in a position that we've never really seen him in before, but watching him work his way up as a fighter will undoubtedly be satisfying.


When it comes to godlike characters, most "Mortal Kombat" fans think of Raiden (and for good reason), but Rain definitely qualifies, too. Rain is a demigod, but just because he already has a tremendous amount of power doesn't mean he's going to stop chasing down more. Thanks to Rain's demigod status, he can command water and use it to decimate his enemies.


Rain comes from the heavenly realm of Edenia, but he's attempted to rule over Outworld with an iron fist. Rain wasn't able to hold onto the crown in the previous timeline, but Rain is at an earlier point in his life in "Mortal Kombat 1." He's studying sorcery in Outworld and honing his water-bending skills in order to become an unstoppable force. Like before, Rain wants two things: knowledge and power. Attaining either in the many realms of "Mortal Kombat" means getting your hands dirty, but Rain is up to the task.


Explaining the relationship between Sub-Zero and Scorpion requires a quick trip back to 1992. When "Mortal Kombat" was first being developed, memory was the biggest constraint on video game development. The colored-swapped ninja duo were originally imagined as a way to feature two separate characters while still saving some space and reuse a character model. Out of that, a rivalry was born.


As his name implies, Sub-Zero's powers allow him to control ice. His mastery of the element has turned him into one of the deadliest fighters in the "Mortal Kombat" multiverse. Sub-Zero has found himself at odds with Scorpion on many occasions — as has his family — and "Mortal Kombat 1" is no exception. Now that he's risen to be the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei clan, Sub-Zero has his own ideas about how to change the clan's future. His brother doesn't share his views, and in a different franchise maybe the two could talk out their differences. Fortunately for gamers, there's only one way to solve conflict in "Mortal Kombat."


Would it even be a "Mortal Kombat" game without Scorpion? He's been around since the very beginning of the franchise, and he's arguably the most iconic character in the entire series, a warrior who is always present in some form. No amount of new Fatalities could ever make up for removing Scorpion and his iconic kunai from the "Mortal Kombat" equation. However, things have gotten even more complicated for Scorpion: In this version of the timeline, Scorpion is Sub-Zero's brother. No longer is Scorpion the undead alter-ego of Hanzo Hasashi. Instead, the role is filled by Kuai Liang, who took up the mantle of Sub-Zero after his older brother was murdered in the previous timeline.


Regardless of his true identity, Scorpion has a long and complicated history that has seen the warrior with that name fighting for both good and evil over the years. In "Mortal Kombat 1," he has to face some problems closer to home. As one of the senior members of the Lin Kuei clan, he's supposed to protect and obey the clan's Grandmaster, Sub-Zero. Unfortunately for Scorpion, Sub-Zero has no intention of following the clan's typical traditions or properly preparing to defend Earthrealm from danger. Once again, Scorpion will have to decide where his loyalties really lie.


Pretty much every character has had their backstory altered in "Mortal Kombat 1," but Smoke might be going through the biggest transformation of all. The character debuted in "Mortal Kombat 2," but at the time he was just an unplayable hidden enemy. When Smoke finally entered the roster for real, his story became just as complicated as anyone's. Smoke was a cyborg created by the Lin Kuei, and without his original human memories, he was essentially a killing machine.


Smoke won't be battling against his robotic programming in "Mortal Kombat 1." He seems to be a regular human this time around, but he holds a special place as the adopted brother of Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Smoke has had to work to earn his new magical abilities, and his dedication will likely put him in conflict with at least one of his brothers as the next Mortal Kombat tournament commences.


Reptile is a trendsetter within the "Mortal Kombat" franchise. He was the first hidden character in series, making him the stuff of schoolyard legend in the early 90s. By deciphering hints layered throughout the game, players could unlock Reptile, and that process set the stage for all of the other hidden characters in the series.


Reptile's name isn't just a reference to the green hue of his ninja garb; he's actually a member of a reptilian species from the forgotten realm of Zaterra. Throughout the years, Reptile's primary concern has been his homeland, but scheming on the behalf of the Zaterrans has put him at odds with various "Mortal Kombat" heroes on more than one occasion. 

In "Mortal Kombat 1," players can expect to once again dive into Reptile's opaque motivations and take advantage of his shapeshifting abilities. There's nothing quite like transforming into a human-sized lizard before delivering a brutal Fatality to your foes.


"Mortal Kombat 11" first introduced fans to Geras, but despite his status as a franchise newcomer, Geras has the potential to be one of the series' strongest fighters. Geras originally served Kronika, working as a guardian of the mystical hourglass that holds all of time and reality in place. Because of his special position, Geras possesses incredible powers that make him borderline immortal. There's no wound that will put Geras down for long, so even characters who manage to beat him in combat still need to watch their back.


At the end of "Mortal Kombat 11," Liu Kang completely reconstructed the timeline, but he decided to keep Geras as he was. Geras gets to hold on to his memories from past timelines, but now instead of serving Kronika, he works under Liu Kang's orders. Geras is one of the primary defenders of Liu Kang's new universe, and his strength (and loyalty) is going to be put to the test in "Mortal Kombat 1."


Ashrah joined the franchise in "Mortal Kombat: Deception," but she embodies a character archetype that's as old as time. Ashrah was born in the Netherrealm, the "Mortal Kombat" equivalent of Hell. She's a demon by nature, but unlike other demons, Ashrah isn't really committed to horror, violence, and torment. She instead fights against her inner nature whenever she has the opportunity.


Upon first leaving the Netherrealm, Ashrah discovered that the other dimensions are more beautiful and peaceful than her homeland. Rather than immediately sewing chaos and pain in traditional demon fashion, Ashrah felt an overwhelming urge to protect the wonderful realms she had discovered. Luckily, Ashrah soon discovered a blade imbued with heavenly power. With her mighty weapon in hand, Ashrah set out to slay other demons and defend peaceful realms from her destructive brethren. She'll no doubt work to protect Liu Kang's new peaceful timeline in "Mortal Kombat 1."


Havik offers "Mortal Kombat" fans a look at some of the franchise's other unique realms. In previous timelines, Havik came from Chaosrealm. He had a natural proclivity toward disruption and disorder, but he notably wasn't outright evil. Havik was willing to partner with anyone willing to help him spread chaos, but he wasn't necessarily concerned with causing harm to others. After all, there are plenty of times when disruption can actually be a powerful force for positive change.


Liu Kang's new reality puts Havik in a particularly interesting position. He's a citizen of Seido, a realm defined by its strict adherence to order. True to his original self, Havik spends his days fighting against the rigid order of his land and doing everything he can to spread anarchy in Seido. His goal isn't exactly honorable, but thanks to his particularly nasty fighting techniques, there's no doubt Havik will find loyal fans in this new era.


Reiko made his debut in "Mortal Kombat 4," and considering that game's reputation, he hasn't gotten quite the same level of respect as some of the other characters in this game. However, his status as Shao Kahn's most bloodthirsty general has made him something of a notable figure among "Mortal Kombat" enthusiasts, even earning him an appearance in the 2021 film adaptation.


Some things haven't changed in Liu Kang's new timeline, and Reiko is still General Shao's trusted second-in-command. Here, the two met when Reiko was very young, having survived for months as a prisoner before encountering Shao and his men. When Shao saw how the boy managed to kill the people who'd imprisoned him, he gave the lad a place in his army. It's safe to say he only became more terrifying in the years since. Grateful for his new lease on life, Reiko has become the most loyal and feared soldier in General Shao's employ.

Shang Tsung

Although it's wild to think of Liu Kang reviving so many of his greatest enemies in this new timeline, it wouldn't be a "Mortal Kombat" game without Shang Tsung, right? In the original timeline, Shang Tsung left a trail of bodies in his wake, stealing souls to prolong his life and allying himself with whomever could offer him more power.


In "Mortal Kombat 1," Shang Tsung is not quite the same wizard seen in previous games. This take on the character is more of a low level conman, making a living by fooling people with meager magic tricks. However, this drastic de-powering won't last forever, and soon Earthrealm will once again learn to fear the name Shang Tsung. His new background also means new tactics, as the reborn Shang Tsung uses potions to reduce his enemies to a bloody mess. Though technically an unlockable character, Shang Tsung is a huge part of the plot and is immediately available to players who preordered the game, so he feels like part of the gang from the get-go.