Mortal Kombat: Legacy (2011-2013) is an American web series created from the Mortal Kombat video game franchise. The series made it debuted on Machinima.com’s YouTube channel on April 11, 2011. The entire second season was released at one time on September 26, 2013.
The web series is based on director Kevin Tancharoen’s short film, Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, which gave us a realistic background to the original game’s story. Seeking the green-light from the studio for production on a re-imagined Mortal Kombat film, Tancharoen submitted the concept to Warner Bros. Pictures after having presented it to both Midway Games (Warner purchased Mortal Kombat and other assets from the original owners of the property in 2009) and New Line Cinema (the original Mortal Kombat film rights holder became a division/label of the larger studio in 2008), which declined to back the film, despite the attention and positive fan reception. Instead Tancharoen got the go-ahead to shoot the web series.
The first season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy is a prequel to the original game, explaining the background stories of several characters from the series and demonstrating their reasons for participating in the upcoming tenth Mortal Kombat tournament, on which the first game was based. The episodes are non-linear with minimal continuity and each devoted to the story of a specific character or characters. The second season covers the tournament itself.
Numerous talented martial artists and actors had roles in the series.
Michael Jai White, Jeri Ryan, Matt Mullins and Ian Anthony Dale reprise their original roles from Mortal Kombat: Rebirth as Jax, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage and Scorpion respectively. Johnson Phan and Fraser Aitcheson replace James Lew and Lateef Crowder to portray Shang Tsung and Baraka respectively. Kano is played by Darren Shahlavi, Tahmoh Penikett plays Kurtis Stryker, and Sam Tjhia plays Kitana. Episode 4 revealed Aleks Paunovic as Shao Kahn, Jolene Tran as Mileena, Kirby Morrow as King Jerrod, and Beatrice Ilg as Sindel. The characters of Sub-Zero (Kevan Ohtsji), Sektor (Peter Shinkoda) and Cyrax (Shane Warren Jones) were revealed in the first official trailer released April 11, 2011. Ryan Robbins was revealed as Raiden and Michael Rogers was revealed to be playing Quan Chi in the credits of Episode 7. Ed Boon makes a cameo appearance in Episode 3 as Ed Goodman, a TV producer who has previously worked with Cage.
Season 2 featured a considerable shakeup of the cast from the first season. Casper Van Dien replaced Matt Mullins as Johnny Cage, while Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who had played Shang Tsung in the 1995 film, took over the part from Johnson Phan. Tahmoh Penikett did not return as Stryker and was replaced by Eric Jacobus, Michelle Lee took over from Jolene Tran as Mileena, and David Lee McInnis replaced Ryan Robbins as Raiden. The only holdovers from the first season were Ian Anthony Dale and Samantha Tjhia, as Scorpion and Kitana, respectively.
Debuting characters included Harry Shum, Jr. as Kuai Liang (Sub-Zero’s younger brother), Brian Tee as Liu Kang, Mark Dacascos as Kung Lao, Kim Do Nguyen as Ermac, and Daniel Southworth as Kenshi. Jeri Ryan (Sonya), Michael Jai White (Jax), and Darren Shahlavi (Kano) did not return, nor did their respective characters.