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The eternal battle continues. Nearly a year after the long-awaited, R-rated Mortal Kombat arrived in theaters and HBO Max, Deadline reports that a sequel is moving forward at New Line. Writer Jeremy Slater, best known for his work on projects like Netflix's The Umbrella Academy and Disney+'s upcoming Moon Knight, is set to handle scripting duties.
Last year's Mortal Kombat arrived after a long development road that included fan films, multiple creative teams, and the building of a massive ensemble cast that included Lewis Tan, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, and Joe Taslim. The film finally arrived in April 2021 to a worldwide box office haul of $83 million, which was a solid run considering the pandemic conditions and theater closures at the time. It also gained significant attention via the HBO Max streaming service, where WarnerMedia (New Line's owner) dropped all of its major releases last year in a day-and-date simultaneous release model. Now it seems that attention, combined with a respectable pandemic box office, has proved enough for a sequel to start punching forward.
As for where that sequel might take the story, we obviously don't know yet, but the first film -- directed by Simon McQuoid from a script by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham -- certainly left plenty of opportunities for a follow-up. For one thing, Mortal Kombat introduced Cole (Tan), a down-on-his-luck fighter later revealed to be a descendant of Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada), and thus a Mortal Kombat champion in his own right.
The film ended with Cole realizing his rightful place among Earth's champions, and teased the next phase of his journey by setting him on the path to Hollywood, where he will likely encounter the movie star and fighter Johnny Cage. That, plus Shang Tsung's vow of vengeance after his defeat in the last realm, leaves lots of room for another tournament, and another round of Champions who didn't appear in the already character-packed first installment.
The Mortal Kombat gig comes in the middle of a very busy time for Slater. In addition to Moon Knight, he's also at work on several other film projects, including a new take on Stephen King's The Tommyknockers. There's no word yet on who might direct Mortal Kombat 2, or when we might actually see it, but putting a rising genre star like Slater on scripting duties definitely signals major movement that Warner Bros. wants to keep this version of the franchise fighting for at least one more installment.