The upcoming live-action cinematic reboot of the Mortal Kombat gaming series is hoping to set itself apart with a serious, grounded take on the franchise's mythology. One way that the film will do so is with the introduction of a new main character, Cole Young, played by Lewis Tan, an MMA fighter who becomes unwittingly involved in the ancient, interdimensional fighting tournament. The director of the movie, Simon McQuoid, recently explained to Screen Rant that Cole is meant to be a surrogate for those in the audience who are unfamiliar with the franchise.

"The new audience's eyes, was a very important part of it. We knew we needed a device and idea to bring audiences through this very rich, layered, detailed canon that is Mortal Kombat. But we didn't want him just to be completely new; we wanted him to have a connection and really be built out of what the key ingredients are within Mortal Kombat. It's fighting, so he's an MMA fighter."
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Apart from his fighting background, the trailer for Mortal Kombat hints that there is a deeper connection between Cole Young and the world of the tournament since the character is shown to sport a dragon birthmark that is also the logo for the Mortal Kombat games. In the franchise's lore, the dragon symbol is meant to be a depiction of the Elder Gods in their purest forms, the same Gods who have been influencing the outcomes of the tournament ever since it began.

The fact that Cole has had the symbol since birth indicates he has a deep connection to the Elder Gods, and might even be the human avatar of one of them. According to McQuoid, Cole's ancestry is part of the reason he was chosen to represent Earth in Mortal Kombat, and the secrets of his lineage will be revealed in bits and pieces throughout the movie.

"This connection through the film is built, and his arcana and everything is built out of pieces and elements and ingredients from his lineage and so forth. It's really about creating someone who felt new but somehow belonged. That was sort of attempted alchemy at what we were creating there. Lewis did a fantastic job; he did a great job."

It remains to be seen how Mortal Kombat fans warm up to the presence of Cole as the new protagonist instead of Liu Kang, and whether the character will make an appearance in future games in the series.

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 arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on April 16. This news originated at ScreenRant.