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Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms Ending Explained

The "Mortal Kombat" franchise has seen something of a resurgence recently outside of its typical video game platforms. Not only did the series receive a modernized live-action adaptation, but Warner Bros. has positioned the franchise for a healthy animated series of films under the "Mortal Kombat Legends" banner. The straight-to-video release for these films also offers the series a chance to further capture the visceral, gore-filled and blood-soaked nature of the franchise. Additionally, the animated films bring fans a fresh take on the tried-and-true narratives within the "Mortal Kombat" world.

"Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms" follows the franchise's animated debut, "Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge," which introduced viewers to a new iteration of the "Mortal Kombat" characters we know and love. The "Scorpion's Revenge" title may be a tad misleading — the original tournament that brings series heavyweights Liu Kang, Raiden, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage together is central to the film's plot, while Scorpion's story almost feels secondary. However, the film certainly had an impact, as the sequel followed rather quickly. Here's the ending of "Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms" explained.

Where did Scorpion's Revenge leave Liu Kang and the rest of the crew?

To begin discussing "Battle of the Realms," it's important to understand where "Scorpion's Revenge" left off in the world of Mortal Kombat Legends. As usual in most retellings of the famous original Mortal Kombat Tournament, Lord Raiden, protector of Earthrealm and god of Thunder, brings together Earth's champions to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament — designed by the elder gods to allow the realms a chance to fight for power over one another. In Earthrealm's case, it's a chance to protect Earth from an incursion by the forces of Outworld. In the final moments of the tournament, Scorpion intervenes and beheads Goro just before the monster can deliver a finishing blow to Liu Kang. Scorpion also manages to trick Shang Tsung and obtains a special key to free the mad elder god Shinnok.

Thanks to Scorpion's interference, Earthrealm wins the tournament and Liu Kang is crowned the winner as a result. Scorpion kills Sub-Zero (Bi-Han), believing him to be the culprit behind the orchestrated deaths of his family and clan, but it's revealed that the Netherrealm sorcerer Quan Chi actually committed this heinous crime. Scorpion finally obtains his revenge as he brutalizes the sorcerer before finishing him off. In the aftermath of that fight, Scorpion resigns himself to another death as the island crumbles around him.

Outworld ignores the rules

"Battle of the Realms" quite literally begins with a battle between realms. Sometime after the tournament, Outworld plans and enacts an invasion of Earthrealm. Kitana, who is still under the thumb of Shao Kahn, is leading the forces of Outworld in an all-out offensive. Special forces figures like Sonya Blade, Jax Briggs, and Curtis Stryker take up defensive positions against the incursion with the help of Kung Lao and Lord Raiden. Apparently, Earthrealm's victory of the Mortal Kombat tournament is being ignored by Shao Kahn.

During the battle, Shao Kahn enters the battlefield, but not to fight. He offers Raiden a chance to resolve the conflict through one final tournament, and Raiden agrees despite being rebuffed by his champions, seizing the opportunity to save future generations from the responsibility of defending Earthrealm by ending it all here and now. Shao Kahn and Lord Raiden petition to the elder gods to make the tournament happen. Shockingly, Raiden also sacrifices his godhood in order to participate in the tournament alongside his heroes.

Scorpion's debacle

While the rest of the characters are waging war against one another, Scorpion finds himself back in Netherrealm following his fated battle with the villainous Quan Chi. However, instead of Quan Chi this time, it's Shinnok, a corrupt elder god, who greets him. Waiting patiently, Shinnok seeks to use the key Scorpion obtained from Shang Tsung to unlock an ancient power. The problem is that the key has now fused itself with Scorpion's soul, so Shinnok threatens Scorpion with eternal pain and torment should he not use the power of the key on the Temple of Elements. But Scorpion doesn't take kindly to threats, and he quickly ditches the elder god and his minions.

Elsewhere, Kuai Liang and Smoke, members of the Lin Kuei, train before being commanded by their grandmaster to bring Scorpion in alive. Liang is reluctant to accept the mantle of Sub-Zero, but is emboldened by the thought of killing Scorpion, who murdered his brother Bi-Han. Ultimately, the grandmaster betrays his own clan by damning them to a life of programmed servitude as cyborgs, and Cyrax and Sektor appear as newly constructed cybernetic warriors. The grandmaster wishes the same for Sub-Zero and Smoke, and in their struggle to escape Cyrax and Sektor, Smoke is taken by the cyborgs and eventually converted into one himself.

The tournament to end all tournaments

As promised by Outworld's ruler Shao Kahn, as well as Lord Raiden, a tournament commences that tests the mettle of each realm's champions. True to the video game franchise, the fights pack a bone-crunching punch followed by countless buckets of blood and gore. Some combatants lose, but are lucky enough to be spared a grisly death like Johnny Cage and Jax. Others aren't so fortunate. Quickly, Curtis Stryker and Kung Lao are eviscerated by prominent Outworld combatants Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn. On the flip side, D'vorah and Kitaro, among others, are pulverized by the heroes of Earthrealm. The combat is bloody, vicious, and thrilling for fans of the franchise.

At a pivotal moment, Kitana is ordered by Shao Kahn to fight Raiden, and while both are competent fighters, Kitana gains the upper hand. Ready to unleash a killing blow, Kitana strikes — seemingly hitting her true target, Shao Kahn, in the heart with her own blade. Seeking freedom from his tyranny for herself and all of Edenia and the other realms, she defects and joins those opposing Outworld. Shao Kahn, however, isn't finished; he vows to make Kitana watch as he destroys the realms. The tournament continues with Liu Kang and Shang Tsung. The sorcerer disables one of Liu Kang's arms with a curse, but the Shaolin warrior manages to defeat Shang Tsung regardless.

Who is the Lin Kuei's mysterious client?

Despite being manipulated by his grandmaster and losing Smoke, his friend and mentor, to the cyborg program, Kuai Liang still harbors deep-seated anger toward Scorpion for the murder of his brother Bi-Han. Interestingly, Scorpion regrets killing Bi-Han, and has learned that vengeance is an empty pursuit. Despite their differences, the duo determines that they must join forces against the Lin Kuei cyborgs to stop them from using the key to unleashing disaster upon all the realms.

Their attempt to stop the impending doom is foiled, however, when the two are overwhelmed by the cyborgs. Scorpion is taken to the Temple of Elements and forced to place his hands upon the door to open the ancient vault. Inside the temple lies a Kamidogu, one piece of many that when collected summon the power of the One Being. The Lin Kuei grandmaster delivers this piece of the Kamidogu to Shinnok, who is revealed to be the clan's client. This may have not been so "secretive" — Shinnok stated in the beginning that he wanted to find someone who could track down Scorpion after the ninja warrior fled his grasp in the Netherrealm.

Who is the One Being?

In the lore of the "Mortal Kombat" video games, particularly "Mortal Kombat: Deception," the One Being is considered the progenitor of the realms in the Mortal Kombat storyline (Earthrealm, Netherrealm, Orderrealm, Edenia, Chaosrealm, and Outworld). Before life as we know it among the realms truly began, the One Being and the elder gods existed as the deities within the universe. The elder gods sought to remove the One Being's limitless power by dividing the deity among the realms as artifacts known as Kamidogu. Anyone capable of uniting the Kamidogu pieces with a sacred amulet would obtain the godlike power of the One Being.

As the story goes in "Battle of the Realms," it is known that the mad god Shinnok has vigorously sought the One Being's power so he can merge the realms and wipe them out of existence. After all, what would be the ultimate prize for a deity who is known simply as a god of death and destruction? The Lin Kuei grandmaster and his cyborg puppets merely act as mindless mercenaries doing Shinnok's bidding. Upon realizing Shinnok's true identity after giving him the final Kamidogu piece, it's apparent that the grandmaster knows he's made a terrible mistake. But he doesn't get to sit with that reality long, as Shinnok calls upon the forces of the Netherrealm to destroy the grandmaster and his cyborgs. By the time Kuai Liang and Scorpion arrive, it's too late: Shinnok has started merging with the power of the One Being.

Who is crowned champion of the final tournament?

After a long and arduous tournament with plenty of death to go around, the tournament delivers one final blow: Raiden accepts the challenge to face Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat. The barbaric dictator bests the former thunder god and kills him, much to Liu Kang's horror. But before Liu Kang's friend and mentor meets his end, he is sure to tell Liu that even though his parents died when he was very young, they died protecting and loving him.

This is the fire Liu Kang needs heading into his fight with the Outworld leader. After finding some inner strength and harnessing his chi, Liu Kang is able to dispel Shang Tsung's curse on his arm and defeat Shao Kahn. He then frees Kitana from her imprisonment, and the group begins to celebrate the victory. But, unfortunately, they're unable to get too far along in the celebration before the elder gods appear and alert Liu Kang to the impending challenge ahead.

Just how omnipotent is the One Being?

Shinnok takes on the power of the One Being and grows to the size of a Kaiju. With the absorption of the deity's power comes the merging of the realms. All the realms begin blending together, which means humans in Earthrealm are now at the mercy of the ravenous denizens of Outworld. While the realms are consumed in chaos, the elder gods lend their power to Liu Kang so he can attempt to defeat a seemingly invincible being.

With his newfound power, Liu Kang takes the form of a massive dragon not unlike the one you see in the famous Mortal Kombat logo. Through the history of the video game series, Liu Kang has been known to perform fatalities and animalities where he can morph into a dragon and chomp on his opposition, so we're in familiar territory with this one. While Shinnok (as the One Being) and Liu Kang engage in a Kaiju-level royal rumble at the center of the merging realms, the rest of Earth's champions scatter to assist helpless civilians from the chaos of the moment. Liu Kang almost meets his match, but the deadly duo consisting of the newly adorned Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang) and Scorpion intervene before the giant Shinnok-One-Being monstrosity can deliver a killing blow to dragon Liu Kang. The dragon then manages to retaliate and finishes off the giant deity for good. Then, using his divine power, Lui Kang separates the realms and puts things back in order.

Can we expect a third film?

Nothing has been confirmed regarding a "Mortal Kombat: Battle of the Realms" sequel, but it's a strong possibility. After all, why create a new MK series brand called "Mortal Kombat Legends" and stop at only two titles? Also, a few threads are left open for potential future storylines. Shao Kahn has been defeated, but he wasn't killed. In fact, Jax poses a question in the film's final moments, asking what will happen if Shao Kahn returns or someone else attempts to take Earthrealm by force once again. Lui Kang simply replies that they'll stop any future invasions.

On a happier note, the elder gods likely restored Raiden to both life and his full thunder god glory. As the camera pans out of the arena into the end credits, we can see the clear silhouette of the thunder god followed by lightning striking down onto the arena. We simply have to see Liu Kang and Lord Raiden's reunion. Raiden's death was tragic for the young warrior and it'd be nice to see the two tackle a new world-threatening issue together. "Mortal Kombat" lore is filled to the brim with heroes and villains, so there's no shortage of possibilities for the future of this animated series.