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What Is Sub-Zero's Real Name?

Though Sub-Zero has featured in the Mortal Kombat series for almost three decades, for many, the man behind the mask remains a mystery. What is the true identity of the ice slinging fighter?

Two different people have used the Sub-Zero codename since the character debuted in the original Mortal Kombat game in 1992. Bi-Han first takes on the moniker, entering the tournament after receiving orders from the Lin Kuei to kill the host, Shang Tsung, and steal his treasure. The Lin Kuei kidnapped Bi-Han and his brother, Kuai Liang, as children, shaping them into the ultimate assassins. The siblings, descendants of the Cryomancers, an Outworld race, both possessed the ability to create and control ice despite being born in Earthrealm. 

Bi-Han fails his mission, dying at the hands of Scorpion, who sought retaliation for his own murder. Following his brother's death, Kuai Liang, previously known as Tundra, mastered the powers of ice, taking on his sibling's codename. In Mortal Kombat 2, the Lin Kuei send Kuai Liang to complete Bi-Han's mission. He enters the tournament intent on completing his task and seeking revenge against his brother's killer. Kuai Liang later leaves the Lin Kuei, who plan to turn their warriors into cyborgs, instead joining the rebellion against Shao Kahn.

While Kuai Liang continues to use the Sub-Zero alias throughout the Mortal Kombat franchise the original Sub-Zero reappears as Noob Saibot in later games. After dying and descending into the fifth plane of the Netherrealm, the sorcerer Quan Chir resurrects him as a vengeful revenant. Stripped of his compassion and other noble qualities, Noob Sailbot proves a far cry from the man Bi-Han once was, instead manifesting as a living personification of evil. He first appeared as a secret, unplayable character in Mortal Kombat 2, with his original identity as Bi-Han revealed in Mortal Kombat: Deception.