Warner Bros. should follow the highly successful formula of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to create a Mortal Kombat story centered on its own Thanos.

One of the things that fans immediately noticed about him Mortal Kombat reboot trailer is that the movie has a very full cast. That’s great news for video game fans who want to see as many heroes and villains as possible blasting a bloody path through the tournament as the forces of Raiden and Shang Tsung fight for the fate of all kingdoms.

However, that could result in a cluttered and convoluted movie, with characters and certain arcs not getting enough time in the limelight. However, with Warner Bros. looking to map this universe and tell a longer story, it should follow the formula of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and make Shao Kahn its Thanos.

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While MCU fans first teased Thanos in the 2012 post-credits scene the Avengers and appeared in cameos thereafter, it wasn’t until infinite War who became a main character that the audience could see in action. This approach created suspense, wonder, tension, and most importantly, anticipation.

He also slowly built precursor stories, not necessarily using the Mad Titan, to inform his goals. The MCU used the Guardians of the Galaxy, Loki and Thor, and others to map out the Infinity Stones, what Thanos wants them for, and why he’s working with certain dark figures to get them, making it easy for the Russo brothers to contextualization. he wants to wipe out half the galaxy.

Shao Kahn, seen as a statue in the trailer, has an equally imposing figure; mind you, he’s not so altruistic. He wants absolute power and control, starting with Outworld, but there’s a lot of depth to him too. As emperor, he stormed Edenia, killed the king and took Queen Sindel, then made Kitana, Mileena and so many others his lackeys. There are other forces that intersect as well, such as Baraka’s Tarkatans, Sheeva’s Shokan race, and Reptile’s Saurians working under him, not to mention the rivalry with Kotal Kahn and how Shang Tsung wanted to betray him.

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Including that even in a trilogy would be a challenge, but if Mortal Kombat has spin-offs in addition to the main movies, it could cover all that ground. This would give the aforementioned characters, as well as Goro, Kintaro, and other loyal soldiers, enough time to show why they sided with Kahn and prevent the soldiers from falling short of the narrative.

In this series, loyalty is important, so it must be explored with a variety of intriguing characters such as the Black Dragon, the Red Dragon, and of course, the Elder Gods. It would also highlight why people like Raiden, Shinnok, Dragon King Onaga, and Quan-Chi did what they did to control the kingdoms. In short, everything and everyone who is connected to the Emperor would help build this mystique of why he is the most powerful living being, why he is feared, and why he must be overthrown.

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WB has already rushed Darkseid, and that hasn’t created as much pomp and circumstance as Thanos. The studio must be careful with a property that has so much franchise potential. This approach would add nuance, for example when Kitana has to betray Kahn and join the heroes. In this way, WB has many parts that move smoothly as one to build a more cohesive story like Marvel’s Infinity Saga.

It can also cover many genres: action with the Special Forces team that Sonya, Jax and Stryker have; comedy with a Johnny Cage spin-off about the less superhuman heroes; mystical adventures with the Shaolin monks; science fiction with Lin Kuei making robots like Cyrax, Sektor, and Smoke; and even horror that involves Netherrealm, Quan-Chi, and Smoke looking for specters and monsters. This opens doors to different aesthetics. Furthermore, this long-term, patient guidance means that the studio can assess how it is going and correct any errors. This way, when everyone comes together for the final fight à la Avengers Endgame, we will really understand your motives.

Directed by Simon McQuoid and produced by James Wan, Mortal Kombat stars Lewis Tan as Cole Young; Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade; Josh Lawson as Kano; Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden; Mehcad Brooks as Jackson “Jax” Bridges; Ludi Lin as Liu Kang; Chin Han as Shang Tsung; Joe Taslim as Bi-Han and Sub-Zero; Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi and Scorpion; Max Huang as Kung Lao; Sisi Stringer as Mileena; Matilda Kimber as Emily Young; and Laura Brent as Allison Young. The film hits theaters and at HBO Max on April 16.

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