Photo Credit: Panagiotis Pantazidis/ Amazon Studios
Karl Urban is reportedly in final talks to join the cast of the Mortal Kombat sequel. As per The Wrap, The Boys star is joining the sequel to New Line's 2021 live-action adaptation in the role of Johnny Cage, the confident action movie star with immense martial arts background. Simon McQuoid will return to direct the sequel, from a script penned by Jeremy Slater (Moon Knight, The Umbrella Academy). It's not surprising for Urban to take on a blockbuster role either, having been involved in franchises like the aforementioned The Boys, The Lord of the Rings movies, and Thor: Ragnarok.
Urban has prior experience starring in video game projects as well, such as 2005's Doom — in which he played Doomguy — and a voice role in the upcoming Ark: The Animated Series. For the uninitiated, Johnny Cage is one of the central characters in the Mortal Kombat titles, sworn to protect the Earthrealm from threats, while being largely concerned about whether he looks cool when doing it. He was the only lead character, who was left out of the 2021 film, albeit a post-credits scene teased his appearance in a potential sequel, at the time. The new Mortal Kombat movie is essentially a grittier reboot — compared to the 1990s films — bringing in fatalities (brutal finishing moves) to the mix.
Mortal Kombat was released simultaneously in theatres and HBO Max during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, and was largely focused on the origin story of Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero's (Joe Taslim) feud. The film also starred Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden, Mehcad Brooks as the cybernetic Jax, and Jessica McNamee as special forces officer Sonya Blade. In the games, she's also depicted as the love interest of Cage. Mortal Kombat grossed $84.4 million (about Rs. 689 crore) at the worldwide box office, against a production budget of $55 million (about Rs. 449 crore). The figures might seem small, but that has to do with its simultaneous release on HBO's streaming service. As per Business Insider, it was the most-streamed movie among the films Warner Bros dropped in theatres and HBO Max at the same time in 2021, garnering an opening viewership of 3.8 million.
The news about Urban's involvement in Mortal Kombat 2 comes exactly a year since WWE superstar Mike ‘The Miz' Mizanin expressed his interest in playing Johnny Cage in a potential sequel. “I have been working on my splits, I've been working on my kicks,” he said on a podcast from last year (via IGN). “As soon as I saw that Mortal Kombat was out and there was no Johnny Cage yet and my name was literally trending Worldwide No. 1, 'We want Miz as Johnny Cage,' I was like, 'If they want that to happen, I need to basically make sure that I am prepared and ready that if that opportunity presents itself then I will be ready and focused.” The wrestler is known for being a complete showman on WWE, with even MK creator Ed Boon endorsing him. Sad day for The Miz indeed.
Currently, there are no release details for the Mortal Kombat sequel.