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The Classic Movie Character That Inspired Mortal Kombat's Raiden

Mortal Kombat's Raiden has been there since the very beginning of the series. The Thunder God played a pivotal role in the most recent installment, as his actions in previous games drove the events in MK11. Some may view him as one of the cheapest characters, while others might think he's one of the more bizarre combatants in a fighting game. Whatever the case may be, the dark truth is that he's done some pretty sinister things for someone who is supposed to be the protector of Earthrealm.


Whether you like him or not, Raiden is an essential part of the Mortal Kombat series. As a new movie adaptation is close at hand, fans can be certain that his character will play an important part in the new story

While Raiden gears up to return to the big screen, fans should be aware that the creators got their inspiration for the mighty God of Thunder from a classic John Carpenter movie: Big Trouble in Little China.

An ode to action movies

Before Mortal Kombat hit arcades in 1992, it was originally going to be a Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle. The project never came to be, as JCVD refused the role in this game. After that, it was time to regroup and figure out another idea for the digitized fighter.


The next plan was to create an all-star brawler that featured Bruce Lee, the Terminator, ninjas from the movie American Ninja, and two characters from Big Trouble in Little China. Such an idea did not pan out, so all of these licensed fighters were reimagined into original designs. One of those characters from Big Trouble in Little China – Lightning — was transformed into Thunder God and Earthrealm protector Raiden.

When you see Lightning from Big Trouble in Little China, the connection becomes clear. Obviously, there's the fact that his whole body is engulfed in electricity. The way he bends and fires electrical bolts is also very reminiscent of Raiden. He flies like Raiden and has lightning in his eyes. The biggest giveaway, though, is the hat. While it's not exactly the same, Raiden's creators clearly took inspiration from the movie when giving him his iconic headgear.