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The Mortal Kombat 2 Theory That Could Change Everything

Much like "Sonic The Hedgehog" and its sequel, the 2021 "Mortal Kombat" movie fought hard against the stigma of being deemed just another box office failure. Fortunately, thanks to a simultaneous premiere on HBO Max, the film became enough of a hit to earn an upcoming sequel. The "Mortal Kombat" movie brought an entirely new protagonist to the franchise with Cole Young (Lewis Tan), an MMA fighter who finds himself a destined champion for Earthrealm. Despite its many clever Easter Eggs you might have missed, the film contains some interesting new spins on established lore and characters of the "Mortal Kombat" franchise, notably how they can do their special moves.

In the film, Arcanas are the super abilities of the fighters. They're inner powers bestowed upon a chosen Earthrealm Champion, and they're also a conveniently mystical way to explain how Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) could shoot fireballs from his hands or Kano (Josh Lawson) could produce a laser from his right eye. The film notes that Arcana powers belong to those that possess a Dragon Tattoo. There also seems to be no set way for them to manifest; Cole's powers come out while trying to protect his family from Goro, and Kano simply gets his from a heated argument with Kung Lao (Max Huang). But what if, in the sequel, the introduction of a series fan-favorite takes an unexpected turn with this power?

Johnny Cage already has his Arcana powers

At the end of 2021's "Mortal Kombat," Cole says he is making his way toward Hollywood to find a particular action star. Johnny Cage was shockingly absent from the film, but a poster and Cole's destination suggest that the beloved character will appear in the sequel. It's probably expected that Cole will take Cage to Raiden, where he'll learn how to unlock his Arcana. But what if Cage doesn't need an introduction to his powers in the sequel? Maybe Cage has already been displaying his Arcana powers for years. This would line up nicely with his lore in the games, as Cage's only reason to join could be to prove he's no Hollywood fake.

For most of the game series, Cage's reason for entering the "Mortal Kombat" tournament is to show that the action he does onscreen in his films isn't from stunts or CGI. In "Mortal Kombat 9" (via YouTube), during a story mode fight with Kano, the actor famously says that those aren't special effects in his films — it's all him. We never get to explicitly see Cage's work, but it's heavily implied that the special moves he shows off in the games, such as his Shadow Kick, have also been seen in his films.

The sequel could even feature Cage only able to tap into a bit of his Arcana already, saving the full reveal for later in the film. With that in mind, the film sequel could instead show Cage fully unlocking the limit to his Arcana instead of having Cole give the actor a beginner's course in the abilities.

Could Johnny inherit his powers from Cole?

An action movie star using special powers to achieve massive fame seems shallow. And that also fits with the beginning personality and story of Cage, which is why the character already having his powers makes sense. Yet, one fan theory on Reddit suggests that Cage may go a completely different route. The post theorizes that the actor may inherit his powers thanks to Cole, who could potentially sacrifice himself to save Cage. The act would change Cage's flippant attitude about the tournament for the better. It would also cause him to technically finally manifest his powers within the rules of the first film.

It's an interesting take for Cage and could help the character organically grow from comedic relief to Earthrealm defender, much like his game counterpart. And some fans expressed that they liked how the theory at least further raises the importance of Cole as a main character. But others couldn't help but point out one glaring problem: "Why would they bother searching for Johnny if he didn't already have the marking?" aromano1989 wrote. The first film's ending suggests that Raiden has sent Cole to find Cage because the actor already has the Dragon Tattoo. And if he's got that mark, then Cage should already have his Arcana. Still, we've probably got a while before we'll hear about an official release date for "Mortal Kombat 2." Until then, the writers could completely change the rules on Arcana powers unexpectedly.