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The Question That's Never Answered In The Scorpion King Movies

The news may come as an alarming surprise to folks who haven't been paying attention to the DVD rack at the mini mart, but The Scorpion King movies just never stopped happening. If you include The Mummy 2, the franchise now has as many feature-length entries as The Terminator, and at least as many shirtless weightlifters. The most recent sequel, Scorpion King: Book of Souls, was released in 2018, and a Dwayne Johnson-produced reboot was announced in November of 2020.

In a way, it makes sense that the adventures of Mathayus the Perpetually Oiled have become a staple of the direct-to-video action genre. If you don't count that weird crossover when Dwayne Johnson showed up as an alien wrestler on Star Trek, the first Scorpion King movie was what catapulted him toward international stardom, and that iconic CGI wrestling bug centaur from the second Mummy movie certainly cemented the lead character's place in the cultural consciousness. With a snarl and a sick electric guitar lick, he skittered into the film's climactic battle sequence and indiscriminately got down to the business of trying to pincer everyone in his line of sight.

In retrospect, this brings up an important question — the kind of question that the five prequel pictures probably should have found the time to get around to by now. Namely, how did the Scorpion King start out as such a good guy, and then suddenly turn into what Egyptologists would call "a big dang Jerk McGurk," anyway?

What ruined the Scorpion King's mood?

The issue is a complex one, but Reddit user Wooting put it succinctly on the site's /r/movies forum, pointing out that "in The Mummy series the Scorpion King is clearly the evil ruler of [the] Anubis army bent on killing innocent people. Then we have the stand alone prequel, where he is obviously a good guy with a good heart (saving the young boy from having his hand cut off, saving the hot princess etcetc.)" In summation, "was this drastic change in character ever even lightly explained?"

It's a fair question. While he's certainly not the worst Egyptian ruler in history, The Mummy 2 depicts Dwayne Johnson's Scorpion King as a cruel, merciless warlord, stuck with a bummer of a bod after making a deal with the god Anubis. The rest of the Scorpion King movies, on the other hand, present the character as a kinder, gentler action hero, one who never once turns into a computer generated monstrosity.

Prospective answers to Wooting's question run the gamut from Mummy Wiki copy-pastes to snarky comments about bad CGI. One user, TheZombieGod, suggested that maybe the issue was one of perspective: "Always thought it wasn't that he was evil, just a different perspective and his situation [...] he might not be literally evil, just a fallen warrior who made a pact with a god that forever makes him a conqueror." A few users, including xEllimistx, suggested that the character was simply corrupted by power.

None of this is spelled out in the prequels themselves, though, which makes for a rather gaping plot hole. The best solution might have come from user dima_socks, who simply replied "Oh man. I've watched all of the scorpion king movies and read the wiki. None of it makes sense at all. Just try to enjoy it my dood." Words to live by.