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Mortal Kombat Star Lewis Tan Weighs In On Who Should Play Johnny Cage - Exclusive

Contains spoilers for "Mortal Kombat" (2021)

While the long-awaited "Mortal Kombat" reboot tapped many of the video game's most beloved fighters, such as Sub-Zero and Scorpion, to many fans, there was one unforgivable and glaring omission — Johnny Cage. The cocky-Hollywood-superstar-turned-Earthrealm-defender has been a staple of the franchise ever since the first "Mortal Kombat" game rocked and shocked arcades back in 1992.

After narrowly defeating Shang Tsung's forces at the end of the film, Earthrealm's heroes are tasked with recruiting new warriors for the pending Mortal Kombat tournament. In the final scene, newcomer Cole Young (Lewis Tan), reveals that he's off to Hollywood to track down one of those Kombatants, as the camera zooms in on a nearby movie poster displaying a very familiar name and belt buckle. Yessiree, Johnny Cage is indeed being set up for the sequel. This, of course, sparked a whole new wave of fan casting and speculation.

One of those on the fan wish list is none other than "Deadpool" star himself, Ryan Reynolds, who playfully teased his awareness of all the Johnny Cage clamoring in a recent Twitter post. In an exclusive virtual interview with Looper, we asked "Mortal Kombat" star Lewis Tan himself just who he thought might play the man he's searching for in the film's inevitable sequel.

"Obviously, I love Ryan. We worked together on 'Deadpool 2,'" Tan said, when asked to chime in about the hoopla over Reynolds. "Ryan is a gentleman, and his comedic timing is incredible. I think that Ryan would be an interesting choice."

Scott Adkins 'is an interesting choice, too'

As many of his fans already know, Tan is a skilled martial artist and former stuntman who also happens to be the offspring of Taekwondo champion and Hollywood stunt coordinator Philip Tan. Much like his "Mortal Kombat" co-stars, the cast already consists of talented martial artists like Ludi Lin (Liu Kang), Joe Taslim (Sub-Zero), and Max Huang (Kung Lao). Tan feels they could continue the tradition of finding an actor who also already possesses the essential fighting chops.

"I like the idea of using someone who also knows how to fight," he told Looper. "I think Scott Adkins is an interesting choice, too, because Scott Adkins is a great martial artist and maybe hasn't been given the biggest platform to play that type of role yet. And I think that he could pull it off, and he's very experienced."

Surprisingly, Tan also suggested another veteran actor who happens to be not only one of the hottest action stars of the 1990s, but also the original inspiration behind the Johnny Cage character from the first video game. That person, of course, is the legendary Jean Claude Van Damme, whose casting would certainly bring the character full circle. "You could even go and make Johnny Cage a little older, and go Jean-Claude Van Damme-style or something," said Tan. "There are so many different ways that you could do it. And obviously, not everyone's going to be happy about it. There are probably some people like, 'What?' But look, Ryan Reynolds is a great option."

"Mortal Kombat" is currently in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max