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What Only Hardcore Mortal Kombat Fans Know About Nitara

Contains minor spoilers for "Mortal Kombat"

In the 2021 live-action "Mortal Kombat" movie there are two main factions fighting against one another. On one side are a rag-tag group of warriors brought together by Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) to train in order to protect Earthrealm from being overtaken by the forces of Outworld. On the other side is a sinister collection of fighters assembled by the sorcerer Shang Tsung (Chin Han) whose goal is to eliminate Earthrealm's defenders. Among Shang Tsung's henchpeople is the winged hunter Nitara (Mel Jarnson).

All in all, Nitara has a very small role in this version of the "Mortal Kombat" story. While fans of the character are no doubt thrilled to see her included, she doesn't serve much purpose in the action of the film other than to be introduced to Kung Lao's (Max Huang) hat buzzsaw face first.

She may not be the most consequential character in the world of the game series, but she does have much more backstory than the movie chose to include. From her mysterious origins to her distinct motivations, Nitara is a unique character in the annals of "Mortal Kombat" history.

Here's what only those who have a deep knowledge of "Mortal Kombat" lore know about Nitara.

Nitara is member of a unique species of vampire

Nitara's bat-like wings and ability to fly sets her apart from the rest of the characters introduced in the "Mortal Kombat" film. The movie doesn't dive deep into this, but Nitara is a member of a vampire species from a realm known as Vaeternus (via Mortal Kombat Wiki). She has the distinction of being one of the only representatives of her species in the "Mortal Kombat" canon (or kanon).

The character debuted in the 2002 game "Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance," a revival of sorts for the franchise that introduced many new mechanics and characters. Nitara and her vampiric kin are described as traveling among the many realms looking for other beings to feast on. Similar to other vampiric legends, the vampires of "Mortal Kombat" are unable to withstand the rays of the sun of Earthrealm and are only able to feed on humans there after-hours. 

At some point before the action of "Deadly Alliance," Nitara's realm was subsumed into Outworld by its emperor Shao Khan. Her motivation throughout the action of the game is to secure a magical orb that will enable her to free her realm from Outworld's control.

In the games, Nitara only looks out for herself

During Nitara's short stint in the 2021 "Mortal Kombat" film, she mostly acts as one of Shang Tsung's lackeys, similar to Kabal (Damon Herriman and Daniel Nelson) and Mileena (Sisi Stringer). However, while working with the baddies isn't out of character for her, in the world of the video games, the only person Nitara has allegiance to is herself and her people.

While many of the characters in the "Mortal Kombat" canon either fall on the side of good or evil, Nitara is distinctly neutral. When she was introduced in "Deadly Alliance," her motivations were solely to destroy the magical orb that is keeping her realm tethered to Outworld. She uses deception and manipulation to get other characters to help her with this task. "Deadly Alliance" even reveals that she helped facilitate the execution of Outworld Emperor Shao Khan, but only insofar as it advanced her personal agenda (via Mortal Kombat Wiki).

As the character gets little screen time during the film, it's hard to say exactly what her motivations for teaming up with Shang Tsung are. But if she is anything like her video game counterpart, she was likely much less loyal to him than it appears.

Nitara has only made a few appearances in the Mortal Kombat franchise

Like many other fighting game franchises, "Mortal Kombat" is known for having characters come back for multiple repeat appearances throughout the series. Despite the fact that she's one of the more unique fighters, though, Nitara is also one of the more underutilized characters in the franchise. The only three games to feature her as a playable character are "Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance," "Mortal Kombat: Armageddon," which featured every character up to that point in the series, and the GameBoy Advance entry "Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition." She has been referenced and made cameo appearances in other games, though.

One of the cheekiest of these nods comes in the latest game in the series, "Mortal Kombat 11." If the characters Erron Black and Skarlet are facing off against one another, before the fight Erron will announce, "I stepped out with Nitara before you." Skarlet responds to this by saying, "You clearly have a type, Erron." This is a reference to the fact that Nitara is a vampire and Skarlet utilizes blood magic in her fights.

Nitara's elusive nature in the game series makes it even more of a thrill that she was included in the "Mortal Kombat" film, even if it was a brief appearance.