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The Mortal Kombat Fight Fans Thought Would Be Much Different

After spending an eternity in development limbo, first-time film director Simon McQuoid's "Mortal Kombat" has become a reality. It made a splash on HBO Max and theaters alike on April 23, hopefully finding enough success to do what its predecessors from the 1990s failed to: launch an extensive franchise. 1995's "Mortal Kombat" and its abysmal sequel, "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" from 1997, certainly made an effort to bring the famed video game series to the big screen, but they ultimately fell short. Their missteps likely influenced their successor, acting as a template in how not to adapt the "MK" universe at the cinema.

When comparing the two continuities, the new "Mortal Kombat" flick clearly improves on many of the issues that plagued those that came before it. The costumes, sets, and visual effects are especially notable, but it's the fights that the reboot really took great care in getting right. Showdowns like the two between Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) as well as newcomer Cole Young's (Lewis Tan) fight for his life against Prince Goro (Angus Sampson), for example, were highly entertaining and well-planned out. Not to mention, the film's many fatalities served as the bloody icing on the cake.

Even still, there's one face-off in particular from "Mortal Kombat" that left some fans a bit confused. Here's why they expected it to be vastly different than the final product.

Fans had a different outcome in mind for Kung Lao versus Nitara

A large chunk of the new "Mortal Kombat" is dedicated to Earthrealm's champions training at Lord Raiden's (Tadanobu Asano) temple. Having abandoned the rules of the Mortal Kombat tournament, the Outworld sorcerer Shang Tsung (Chin Han) attempted to ambush the heroes with combatants of his own, including Kabal (Daniel Nelson/Damon Herriman), Reiko (Nathan Jones), Mileena (Sisi Stringer), and Nitara (Mel Jarnson). Though Raiden set up defenses to fend them off, Kano (Josh Lawson) betrays Earthrealm and lowers them, leading to a full-on invasion. It resulted in the tragic death of Kung Lao (Max Huang), whose soul is stolen by Tsung. 

Though the average viewer would have no reason to question the way this moment played out, some die-hard "Mortal Kombat" fans were a bit lost. "Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Nitara the one who killed Kung Lao in the 2018 script?" wrote Reddit user DonPinstripelli, citing a leaked "MK" movie screenplay that surfaced online several years ago. They add "She definitely had a larger role then. They probably got cold feet with her, thinking she wasn't well known to get all that spotlight." 

They're not wrong about Nitara's obscure nature, seeing as her last playable video game appearance came in 2006's "Mortal Kombat: Armageddon." In the 2021 movie, she receives hardly any development or dialogue, so doing something as shocking as killing off Kung Lao would have come out of left field. In fact, Nitara's defining moment is her gruesome demise, where she's sliced in half by Kung Lao's razor-edged hat. With both characters now deceased, it's clear that the moment from the 2018 script is officially off the table for potential "Mortal Kombat" sequels.