The upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot promises to entertain long standing fans of the franchise and newcomers alike. Despite almost every single original fighter making it into director Simon McQuoid’s version, one of the franchise’s biggest stars is notably absent. Hollywood heart-throb and action movie extraordinaire Johnny Cage will not be in the upcoming movie. However the stacked cast has thoughts on who should take up the role in a potential sequel.
Ahead of Mortal Kombat’s release I had an opportunity to chat with the cast of the movie. Of course, I had to ask them about Johnny Cage’s absence and who they think could fill the characters high-kicking shoes. Josh Lawson, who plays Kano, had this to say:
Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again. The one person I kept thinking about, and he's a buddy of mine, James Marsden. I just, I dunno, he's got a Johnny Cage vibe to me. Maybe I'm wrong, but yeah, something about it. He's got that Hollywood look, you know, and I think he could, I think he could pull it off.
Now that’s a casting I could see. James Marsden already has action experience from his time as Cyclops in the X-Men trilogy, so he could be a great fit for Cage. While Josh Lawson had someone specific in mind, Jessica McNamee, who plays Sonya Blade, is more concerned about the audition process rather than the actor:
I'm not sure. It's really tough. I don't know. I'm of the mind that I'd like to make them audition. Like we had to audition, make them go through the hard storms like we had to. No, but I would love to see it. You what would be a great for me? I would love if I got to go in on the auditions and audition against people. I've always wanted to do that. So I'm going to have to just leave it up to see who puts their hat in the ring.
Imagine walking in to audition for Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade is just standing there, ready to kick ass. I suppose that would set the tone. Jax actor Mehcad Brooks echoed McNamee's sentiment, suggesting that whoever ends up playing Cage needs to be able to fight:
You know, I don't know. I'm gonna leave that in the capable hands of Warner brothers and Todd Garner and Simon McQuoid and New Line, and everybody who is going to weigh in on that decision. However, it would have to be somebody who could fight. Every actor has really, really brought everything that they could to the table when it comes to doing their own fight scenes. So, we'd have to keep that up, I think, and also have to be somebody who can pull up the comedy. So I don't have anybody, I don't have any favorites. I think there's plenty of good options out there and I think that's a penthouse problem that we're willing to deal with. Because that means there's a sequel.
Lewis Tan, who plays franchise newcomer Cole Young, agreed with Brooks, and went on to suggest multiple candidates for the perfect Johnny Cage :
That's a champagne problem. I think that Johnny is such an iconic character and I think that we were building a new energy for this movie. We're building something that is respectful of the franchise from before, but we're also bringing a new era, like the trailer said, you know what I mean? That's how we really feel about it. So there's many ways that it can go in my mind. There was an April fool's joke on Twitter that I saw where it was like Keanu Reeves is going to play Johnny Cage,’ and I was like, that's a pretty interesting casting. Then there's guys like Scott Atkins, who was an incredible martial artist and an actor. And I think that that would be kind of a cool way to go about it.
While having to hunt down the perfect actor to play Johnny Cage is certainly a good problem to have for the cast and crew of Mortal Kombat, Tan also mentioned that some new blood in the franchise couldn’t hurt:
There's another route, which is we can just find somebody completely new. Something that's so fresh and hold auditions and find the perfect Johnny Cage. And then there's guys like maybe Chris Pratt or someone who has those comedy elements to him, but also is known in the action world.
Certainly the list of potential Johnny Cage actors is a long one, but director Simon McQuoid is everything but concerned about the casting:
Well, I have no idea. I can't give you a name cause I haven't really thought about it in a great deal. We, I always said that if anyone said the S word [sequel] on set, I'd always say to them, Hey, let's, let's just attempt to get this right. We'll put a little join a piece on the end. So if we're lucky enough that the fans like it and they want another one, then we've got some rails to continue with. But beyond that, I haven't really thought about it.
There you have it! I know I’m not the only one who is a bit disappointed Johnny Cage didn’t make it into Mortal Kombat’s comeback movie. That being said, it sounds like there are plans in place for a potential appearance in a sequel. Hopefully, the upcoming reboot performs well enough to garner a franchise. Seriously, give me the MCU but it’s rated R and dudes are constantly punching each other's heads off.
Although fans will have to wait for a sequel to potentially see Johnny Cage back in action, they can check out the rest of the original roster when Mortal Kombat releases in theaters and on HBO Max tomorrow. If you just can’t wait, be sure to check out the first seven minutes of all the beautiful brutality right here.