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The dark truth behind these Mortal Kombat 11 characters

It should come as no surprise that the characters in the Mortal Kombat series have some pretty dark backstories. Although Mortal Kombat has always had a sense of humor about its violent nature, it's still a series that features dismemberment, gallons of blood, and ice ninjas being beaten to death with their own legs. Not to mention it was the central focus of one of the most infamous video game controversies of all time: the Senate hearings on violence in video games in the early 1990s, which came about in reaction to fears that video games caused the people who played them to become violent psychopaths.

Mortal Kombat 11 releases on April 23, 2019, and plenty of details about what fighters are coming to the game and how it will play are starting to trickle out. Today, we're looking at the darkest histories of some of Mortal Kombat 11's as-of-now revealed fighters. Go ahead and kall your senator — things are about to get khaotic!

Baraka's original look is based on a classic horror film

Everyone's favorite Tarkatan, Baraka, is making his return as a playable character in Mortal Kombat 11. Not a lot of Baraka's in-game backstory has been revealed over the years, despite the fact that he has been around since 1993's Mortal Kombat 2. However, the character's terrifying look actually comes from one of horror cinema's classic monsters.

Baraka went through several evolutions when he was first being designed. Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias originally conceived of a demon warrior named Rokuro for the original Mortal Kombat, but the idea didn't get very far. However, the story goes that the MK2 team found a mask at a Halloween shop of the title creature from the 1929 film Nosferatu, to which they added false fingernails (painted silver) to represent rows of razor sharp teeth.

Through the different Mortal Kombat games, Baraka's appearance has evolved to make him more recognizable from the hordes of unnamed Tarkatan that fill out Mortal Kombat's backstory. Just never forget that his original appearance was a Halloween mask with fake fingernails jammed into the mouth.

D'Vorah is just a bunch of insects

Lots of characters in the Mortal Kombat series are gross; D'Vorah probably takes the cake. She belongs to a race called the Kytinn, which are a race of intelligent insects that inhabit the Arnyek Islands.

If D'Vorah were just a big insect, that would still be gross, but pretty par for the course in the world of Mortal Kombat. However, each Kytinn is a colony of insects that inhabit a single body. That means D'Vorah is doing her best Oogie Boogie impression, and she's got whole swarms of creepy-crawlies living inside her.

Throughout Mortal Kombat X's story mode (where D'Vorah was first introduced), she has many quotes where she refers to herself as "this one," implying that the swarms of insects that live inside of her body all share a hive mind. She is also one of the most devious characters in the game, frequently shifting her allegiance so that she can partner up with whomever she deems the most powerful. By the end of MKX, she had shifted from Shao Kahn to Mileena to Kotal Khan, before ending the game as Shinnok's main enforcer.

Jade is an arrogant assassin who betrayed her employer

Considering the bloody and violent world featured in the Mortal Kombat series, it is unsurprising that many of the characters hail from unsavory occupations. Mercenaries and assassins are commonplace in the game's roster, and one of the most notorious is Jade.

Even though she originally appeared as just a palette-swap of Kitana, Jade's personality and characterization has grown over the course of the series. She is such a skilled warrior that Shao Kahn placed her in the position as bodyguard to his daughter, Kitana. The two women developed a friendship over the years, which made for a difficult decision when Kitana turned against her father and the emperor ordered Jade to kill her.

Jade eventually sided with her friend, who she views as the closest thing she has to family. Siding with Kitana in an attempt to fight against the forces of Outworld, Jade held her own and accounted for many victories. However, a resurrected Queen Sindel cut her opportunities short. The last we saw of Jade, her soul was being controlled by the necromancer Quan Chi. Whether she will be able to regain control of her free will is unknown.

Kabal is a murderous psychopath

Kabal's origin story has changed dramatically over the multiple timeline resets Mortal Kombat has gone through. In the latest games, his story has only ever been hinted at in passing. But it sounds awfully similar to his original origin and, if it is, it means Kabal is one of the most dangerous people on Earth.

Kabal's goal is to resurrect the Black Dragon, one of the most notorious organizations in all of the universe of Mortal Kombat. They split off from the Red Dragon crime syndicate, a group who sought to take over the world. The Black Dragon split off because the Red Dragon — remember, a group that sought to conquer the world — was too honorable and placed too many restraints on their members.

Kabal has flit back and forth between bringing the Black Dragon group to their former glory and between fighting alongside Earthrealm against the forces of Outworld, but his criminal past always seems at the forefront of his current actions. Like Jade, Kabal is currently an undead revenant, serving Quan Chi.

Bonus fact about Kabal: when he was first created, he was so ugly that he could apparently scare other fighters to death. Really.

Kano has pretty much betrayed every character

Kano is one of the most dastardly characters in the entire history of the Mortal Kombat series, and it seems like it would almost be easier to list characters that he has not betrayed instead of the other way around. He began as simply a criminal mastermind, leading the Black Dragon syndicate (the same one Kabal seeks to take control of) and escaping the clutches of Sonya and Jax. As generally happens with Mortal Kombat, things got out of control very quickly.

Here's some other things Kano has done: he outfitted Shao Kahn's Outworld forces with weapons so they could be better prepared for Earthrealm's defenses. After being left for dead by Sonya, Kano was eventually conscripted by Sheeva to help overthrow Shao Kahn. Kano betrayed Sheeva to become a general in Kahn's army. He then quickly betrayed Shao Kahn and joined the combined might of Quan Chi and Shang Tsung.

In more recent Mortal Kombat games, Kano has also turned coat against Mileena, Erron Black, and Sub-Zero. Essentially, it doesn't matter your allegiance, your power level, or your charisma: if it doesn't fit with Kano's agenda (which can change dramatically from one moment to the next), you need to watch your back around him.

Kung Lao is a murderous ... pacifist?

Kung Lao first made his debut in Mortal Kombat 2, and is one of the series' most enduring protagonists. He is a member of the White Lotus society, best friends with Liu Kang, and a descendent of one of the most famous warriors in the entirety of the Mortal Kombat universe: The Great Kung Lao, who won the tournament centuries ago before being killed by Goro.

Kung Lao is also an outspoken pacifist, making his skills at murder somewhat out of place.

Kung Lao was originally Raiden's first choice to be the defender of Earthrealm in the original Mortal Kombat tournament but he declined, as he knew it would force him to abandon his pacifist beliefs. Instead, Raiden chose Liu Kang, who went on to win the tournament and set the events of later games into motion.

When Shao Kahn's Tarkatan army invaded and slaughtered Kung Lao's friends and fellow Shaolin monks, he realized the threat against Earth was too immense to ignore. He renounced his pacifist beliefs in order to take his shot against Goro.

Raiden has been all over the map

Canonically, Raiden is one of the most powerful characters in the Mortal Kombat universe, so it's a good thing he has been on Earthrealm's side throughout most of the series' story. However, Raiden has resorted to some pretty underhanded tactics in his history as Earthrealm's staunchest defender.

For example, when Raiden learned that the Dragon God had been resurrected, he took some ... extreme measures to fight back. He actually dug up the corpse of Liu Kang (who had been murdered by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi) and used necromantic magic to bring him back to life. He then sent his undead warrior on a quest of revenge, attacking anyone who Raiden felt had caused harm to Earthrealm.

Raiden has also become an Elder God throughout the course of the Mortal Kombat storyline, but he grew disgusted with the other Elder Gods due to their decision to stay out of Shao Kahn's attempted takeover of the other realms. He eventually gave up his status as a God to fight against Onaga, the Dragon King, and essentially blew himself up to try to stop him.

Darkest of all, Raiden was portrayed by Christopher Lambert in the first Mortal Kombat film. No wonder he's so good at taking off heads.

Scorpion is an undead ninja assassin who, contrary to popular belief, is not evil

Scorpion is a member of the Shirai Ryu, a clan of elite ninjas who are the sworn enemies of another of the major factions in the Mortal Kombat universe, the Lin Kuei. Well, he was, until every single member of his clan (including him) were killed. He was brought back to life by — who else? — Quan Chi to serve as an undead assassin.

Despite this fact, and his terrifying "skeleton cosplaying as an extra in Hellraiser" appearance, Scorpion isn't actually a "bad guy." He eventually figured out that Quan Chi was manipulating him and never planned to help his clan regain their former status, and has harbored a deep hatred for the sorcerer ever since. His initial hatred for Sub-Zero even faded when he learned that the Sub-Zero who was an enemy to his clan was not the same man as the "current" Sub-Zero (more on that in a bit).

Scorpion rarely works directly with the forces of good in Mortal Kombat, but his sense of honor and loyalty to his former clan's ideals keep him on the right side of the fight.

Shao Kahn seized power

Shao Kahn is one of the biggest bads of all, not just in Mortal Kombat, but in all of video games. It should come as no surprise that Shao Kahn has done some nasty things throughout the course of the Mortal Kombat storyline, but even the way he rose to power is full of death and double-crossing.

Shao Kahn began as an advisor to Onaga, the ruler of Outworld. Onaga is known in the lore of Mortal Kombat as the Dragon King, and has cast a looming shadow over the series' storyline. Despite his legendary power, Onaga was no match for the cunning of Shao Kahn. Everyone's favorite skull helmet-bedecked final boss poisoned the Dragon King, killing him and seizing the throne for himself.

It wasn't long before Kahn began invading other realms, enslaving or murdering entire populations, and devouring the quarters of arcade-goers all over the world.

Sub-Zero is actually two different people

Sub-Zero is arguably the most famous and popular character in the entire Mortal Kombat series; he even received his own spin-off title back in 1997, which was not even a fighting game. Two different people have actually taken the moniker of Sub-Zero in the story of Mortal Kombat, and one of them is pretty darn terrible.

In the original Mortal Kombat game, a man named Bi-Han was in the guise of Sub-Zero. He was sent to murder Shang Tsung and steal any treasure hidden in his palace. Hot on Bi-Han's heels was the undead assassin Scorpion, who was under the impression that his entire clan (including himself) had been murdered by the ice-cold warrior. He murdered Bi-Han to take revenge, making it even stranger when Sub-Zero returned to the tournament in Mortal Kombat 2.

MK2's Sub-Zero is actually the younger brother of Bi-Han, named Kuai Liang, who worked together with Scorpion to unite their warring clans. While the two ninjas eventually were able to bury the hatchet, some things just can't stay buried: Bi-Han eventually was brought back as an undead warrior. His name? Noob Saibot.