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What Mileena From Mortal Kombat Looks Like Out Of Costume

In the world of "Mortal Kombat," Mileena is a pretty formidable character. The antagonist in the fantasy fighting game franchise originated as a mutant clone of another character, Kitana. She's generally seen with a face mask that covers her unnaturally large mouth and jaw, rimmed with long, sharp teeth that's a result of Baraka's Tarkatan (a warrior species) DNA used in her creation. As you can imagine, Mileena's bite is something to be feared. She also has yellowish-orange eyes and is especially skilled with the Japanese melee weapon called the sai.

As if that wasn't enough, Mileena hangs with a bad crowd. Created by villainous sorcerer Shang Tsung, she's an adopted "daughter" of evil Outworld emperor Shao Kahn and acts as one of his personal enforcers. In the "Mortal Kombat" movie from 2021, actress Sisi Stringer plays the agile and powerful Mileena, who comes to a rather brutal (and premature) end at the hands of Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), after Sonya's been accepted into the Mortal Kombat fold. 

Mileena's grotesque appearance is part of her charm, of course. It makes her even more intimidating when her seemingly normal form gives way to such a giant maw. But if you've never seen the actress who played her in the latest "Mortal Kombat" movie outside of the film, you may be wondering what she looks like without the makeup that turns her into a fearsome predator. 

Sisi Stringer wore layers of prosthetics and war paint to get her Mileena look

For Sisi Stringer, the experience of playing Mileena was one she relished, especially because she's always known about "Mortal Kombat." She told Nerdist, "Everybody is kind of aware of 'Mortal Kombat.' It's a cultural phenomenon! Even if you've never played the game you'll come into contact with it. You still remember the catchphrases, Babalities, Fatalities, and all of that kind of thing. And obviously, the X-rated violence — it's a classic."

Regarding her turn as Mileena, Stringer told Australia's Student Edge that director Simon McQuoid wanted a darker, grittier, more three-dimensional portrayal of the video game characters than had been shown on screen in the past. "It's gory and it's as it should be, and I think that's what the fans needed," said Stringer. "And I think they'll respect those choices, and I just tried to be as vicious as possible."

Indeed, the role was physically demanding, but Stringer has said that her dancer's training carried her through it. And while Mileena isn't sexualized in the film, the actress did wear some skin-tight duds as part of her costume. Then, there was the process required to transform her mouth into Mileena's hideous grin. Fortunately, these aspects helped her get into character. "I always would get most into character by putting on the suit, this very tight leather corset! I had layers of prosthetics for the scars and then the war paint she uses to cover them," she shared with NovaStream Network

Could Sisi Stringer come back as Mileena's 'sister' and rival, Kitana?

There's still a question, of course, about whether or not Sisi Stringer will even make it into a second "Mortal Kombat" film, given her character's demise — a film moment that CBR.com calls "a very weird decision." Fans of the franchise agree, given that Mileena has appeared in so many of the games and having her die in the film eliminates any possibility of future movies exploring the complicated relationship between Mileena, an imperfect hybrid clone, and Kitana, the fierce warrior whom she was meant to replace. One Reddit user pointed out that the future introduction of Kitana would be "dull and boring" without the rivalry between the two women.

On the other hand, the existence of Kitana (who was noticeably absent from the 2021 movie) does open up a new opportunity for Stringer to return as one of the good guys next time. In an interview with TooFab, she said she'd definitely be up for that role. Actually, she phrased it a bit more intensely than that. "I would get on my knees and pray for it," said Stringer. "I would sacrifice someone for it. I would make a deal with the devil for it. So, yeah I want it. You could say I want it."

That said, the "Mortal Kombat" universe is a world full of magic, which could always be used to bring Mileena back. A sequel for "Mortal Kombat" hasn't been officially greenlit yet, but here's hoping.