As we know, Mortal Kombat 1 aims to be a new beginning for the franchise. As such, fans can expect to see the return of many classic characters, only with new changes to their backstories and roles within the universe. For instance, two of the most iconic characters, Sub-Zero and Scorpion, will both appear in the game. However, rather than starting as mortal enemies, the two are both brothers and allies within the Lin Kuei clan.
While we don’t know every character who will appear in Mortal Kombat 1 yet, nor do we know how they will be different from previous iterations, we do have a pretty good list so far of who to expect in the roster. So, as we near to the September 19, 2023 release date, here is every character in Mortal Kombat 1 so far.
The main roster in Mortal Kombat 1 brings together some of the series’ most popular and iconic staples in new ways. It also reintroduces lesser known characters from previous games with new significance. Here are all the playable characters we know will be on the MK1 roster.
Baraka is a member of the Tarkatan race in the Mortal Kombat universe. The iconic fighter stands out due to his freakish teeth and blades that come out of his wrists. Though originally, the monster-like appearance was simply a feature of his race, things will be different this time around.
Now, Baraka, like the other Tarkata, suffer from a genetic wasting disease, causing the mutations. An outcast, Baraka will lead the charge with his fellow plagued Outworlders. We’ll see what else is in store for Baraka later this year!
Geras is the Guardian of the Hourglass. He first appeared in Mortal Kombat 11, making him the most recently debuted character to join the kast of MK1. Serving a similar role to his previous outing, the time guardian now works alongside Liu Kang to protect the balance of time.
However, Geras worries about how Liu Kang’s new vision will affect destiny. In the game, he warns of a looming threat, caused by Liu Kang’s actions of restarting the timeline of the universe. In terms of gameplay, Geras has a devastating arsenal of time-bending attacks, including a devastating fatality.
Johnny Cage is a staple across the Mortal Kombat franchise, dating all the way back to the original game. Inspired heavily by martial artist and action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, Johnny Cage is a martial artist and actor with a brash ego. Originally, he joins the Mortal Kombat tournament, simply as a means to prove that he does his own stunts and doesn’t rely on special effects.
Though Cage grew and developed over the years, eventually becoming one of EarthRealm’s most trusted heroes, MK1 will take him back to his origins. From what we’ve seen so far, we know that he’s got a nice mansion in what looks to be LA, so his movie stardom persists. We also know that Jean-Claude himself did lend his likeness and motion capture work, so we’ll finally have him in the role he inspired so many years ago.
Kenshi Takehashi made his Mortal Kombat in Deadly Alliance. The blind swordsman is a skilled fighter, who also has the abilities of telekinetics and psychokinetics. He comes from a Eurasian heritage and traditionally helps the Special Forces alongside Jax and Sonya Blade.
It’s unclear where Kenshi will fit into the new world of Mortal Kombat 1. However, we do know that he has some beef with Johnny Cage for having his family’s Sento sword. It’s also worth noting that he still has his eyesight when we first meet him, but later promotional material suggests he will once again go blind.
Kitana first made her debut in Mortal Kombat 2 as a member of the realm of Edenia that joins Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat. She’s a master assassin who has a deadly arsenal of attacks with her razor sharp fans. In past iterations, she starts as a loyal servant to Shao Khan before realizing that the emperor of Outworld slain her true father, thus turning Kitana against him.
It’s unclear how she will play into the new timeline. However, seeing Kitana and Mileena together in trailers suggest the two share a bond. It’s possible the two sisters may ultimately join forces rather than work against each other this time around.
Kung Lao is a Shaolin monk and member of the White Lotus Society. We first met the monk in Mortal Kombat 2. His ancestor, the Great Kung Lao, is a legendary champion, and the Kung Lao we meet in the games is desperately eager to prove himself to be just as worthy.
In the new timeline, we don’t know for sure whether Kung Lao still lives in the shadows of his ancestor. However, it seems like Liu Kang will once more challenge the young monk to test his might as a worthy champion of Earthrealm. Though, that’ll surely play out differently given Liu Kang’s new role.
Li Mei debuted in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and last appeared 15 years ago in Mortal Kombat Armageddon. Formerly a member of the Umgadi, the talented warrior Li Mei is now a constable in Outworld’s police force. In combat, she’ll have a vast array of magical abilities at her disposal.
In the original timeline, her village became enslaved by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi. Afterwards, her people were forced to build a temple from which the Deadly Alliance would summon the Soulnado. However, as everyone in this universe now features a new origin, she’ll forge a brand new path.
Liu Kang has a storied history across the Mortal Kombat universe. Starting off in the original game as one of the defenders of Earthrealm, he eventually grew to become its greatest warrior. Ultimately, it was Liu Kang who finally defeated Kronika to restart the timeline.
Now, as the creator of Mortal Kombat 1’s timeline, Liu Kang serves practically as a god. With powers infused from the previous timeline’s Raiden, along with his own and the power of time, Liu Kang’s significance only grew. Now, we’ll await who, or what, will challenge the ultra-powerful Liu Kang.
Mileena is the mutated clone sister of Kitana. Unlike Kitana, however, previous iterations of Mileena show her remain loyal to Shao Khan and continue down the path of villainy even after his defeat. From what we’ve seen so far, it appears as though her mutated facial features (primarily her teeth) will remain intact.
Additionally, as stated earlier, Mileena is seen with her sister in trailers. So, it’s reasonable to assume they will at least begin the game as allies. However, we don’t know where their paths will diverge from the original timeline.
Aside from Liu Kang, Raiden’s backstory features possibly the greatest changes to Mortal Kombat 1’s rebooted timeline. Previously, the God of Thunder and main protector of Earthrealm, Raiden sees a more humble start in the new universe. As a villager of Fengjian, Raiden peacefully tends to the fields and gives to charity.
However, Liu Kang knows what he is capable of and approaches the peaceful villager when the fate of Earthrealm gets threatened. Though hesitant at first, the new young Raiden will take the call to heroism to prove himself a noble warrior. As to whether he will receive lightning powers, we’re not so certain. Though, I’m sure Liu Kang can give him a hand there.
Rain is a ninja and sorcerer from the realm of Edenia. Having studied at Outworld’s exclusive Imperial Academy of Sorcery, Rain mastered the art of water magic. Over the years, Rain continued to hone his water magic abilities into a fierce weapon as he continues to learn the realms’ darkest and most powerful sorcery.
Though we don’t know much about his role within the new timeline yet, we do know that he has some major enemies. In the trailers, we see that Rain has some serious beef with the Lin Kuei clan as he faces off with Scorpion and Sub-Zero. What more could this new world have in store for the purple water ninja?
Originally, Hanzo Hazashi, better known as Scorpion, was a member of the Shirai Ryu clan whose family he believed to be slain by Bi-Han, leader of the Lin Kuei clan. However, Scorpion would later learn it was truly the sorcerer Quan Chi who killed his family, he remained enemies with the Lin Kuei and the younger iteration of Sub-Zero.
However, this time around, Hazashi will no longer take on the mantle of Scorpion. This time, Scorpion is Kuai Liang, a member of the Lin Kuei, and Sub-Zero is his brother in arms. In the new universe, Scorpion is a dedicated warrior for the clan and its defense of Earthrealm. Will Scorpion remain loyal to Sub-Zero this time around, or will things fall apart, proving the two destined to remain bitter rivals?
Smoke is also a member of the Lin Kuei, first appearing in the background of Mortal Kombat 2. In the next game, he would finally become playable. Originally, Smoke was also cybernetic in a similar vein of Cyrax and Sektor.
However, in Mortal Kombat 1, he will no longer feature with cybernetic abilities. Instead, his backstory shows him as an orphan who was raised alongside Sub-Zero and Scorpion after his family was accidentally murdered by the Lin Kuei. Whoops, I guess! Given his backstory, it isn’t out of the question that Smoke may turn villainous, turning on the Lin Kuei.
Like Scorpion, Sub-Zero is also a staple character in the Mortal Kombat franchise. The leader of the Lin Kuei, the ice ninja has traditionally been depicted at odds with Scorpion. However, that will no longer be the case.
This time around the Lin Kuei devotes its existence to defending Earthrealm. Yet, due to the lack of threats faced, Sub-Zero decides it’s time to expand the Lin Keui as one of Earthrealm’s greatest nations. How will Sub-Zero’s plots of conquest affect the story within Mortal Kombat 1?
Tanya debuted in Mortal Kombat 4. The Edenian has been routinely portrayed as a follower of evil. First aligning with Shinnok as one of his loyal worshippers, she later served Shao Kahn and the Deadly Alliance. Now, however, she sees a new purpose.
In Mortal Kombat 1, Tanya leads the Umgadi warriors, who serve to defend and fight for Outworld. As one of the most skilled and trusted members of the Umgadi, Tanya remains fierce in battle. However, her relationship with Mileena could spell trouble for both of them.
Apart from the main roster, Mortal Kombat 1 will also see the addition of Kameo characters who will join you in fights. These characters primarily pull from classic looks and appearances from the older games. While some main roster characters will also appear as Kameos, we’re dedicating this list to all the side-roster exclusive characters we know about so far.
Cyrax first debuted in Mortal Kombat 3. He is a Lin Kuei assassin-turned cyborg through the Cyber Initiative. Since then, Cyrax has fluctuated between misguided antagonist and supporting character throughout the series. Now, he’ll be able to offer assistance in battle as a Kameo fighter.
Frost originated in the series as Sub-Zero’s greatest apprentice. However, her greed and arrogance saw the aspiring hero turn full villain. Now, however, Frost will be an invaluable ally in battle with her Kameo presence.
Goro is one of the most iconic and feared bosses in all of Mortal Kombat history. The hulkish, four-armed brute always posed an immense challenge as you had to fight him towards the end of the tournament. However, now, you’ll be able to use Goro’s might to your advantage with some devastating Kameo kombos.
One of Earthrealm’s most prolific defenders throughout the series, Jax is also a mamber of the Special Forces. From what we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t appear he has his cybernetic arms in this game like many players grew accustomed to. Featuring a similar look to his debut appearance, Jax will join you in battle as a special Kameo.
Kano is a brash loudmouth, who also serves for some comedic relief throughout the series. With a cybernetic laser eye, this deadly assassin is as also as fast as he is tough. Now, he’ll join you in the fight as a Kameo partner.
Like Cyrax, Sektor is also a cybernetic Lin Kuei assassin. With powerful, jetpack fire attacks, he’s always proven to be a fierce opponent in battle. Now, as a Kameo, you’ll be able to use Sektor’s brutality to benefit you as an ally.
Another member of the Special Forces, Sonya Blade is as tough as it gets. Her leadership abilities and cunning make her even more deadly when paired with her tactical kombat skills. Sporting her iconic look from the first game, Sonya Blade joins the fight as a selectable Kameo fighter.
Kurtis Stryker is one of the most unique characters in Mortal Kombat history. Where most characters offer some sort of supernatural, cybernetic or magical powers, Stryker is just a regular cop. But don’t let that fool you, as he remains a skilled fighter who will certainly prove a worthy Kameo partner and devastating opponent.
As in past entries, Mortal Kombat 1 will also expand its roster through DLC characters. From pop-culture icons to franchise legends, the DLC characters in the new game will further flesh out the already stacked roster. Here are the two add-on characters we know about so far.
Ermac is a red-clad ninja who utilizes telekinesis during fights. He debuted in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Now the soul-infested warrior makes his return for Mortal Kombat 1.
Before NetherRealm Studios confirmed his inclusion in the game themselves, the official TikTok page for The Boys spoiled the superpowered egomaniac’s involvement. The addition of Homelander in MK1 shouldn’t come as too large of a surprise for fans. In the past, Mortal Kombat became known for putting popular characters from film and television in their games. Ranging from Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees to T-800 and Rambo, NetherRealm loves including characters from outside properties.
Omni-Man is the father of Invincible and a member of the alien Viltrumite race, working as a superhero on Earth. The comic book character grew a large cult following largely due to the success of the TV adaptation of Invincible. Now, he’ll fly in to join the battles of Mortal Kombat 1.
Christopher Smith, better known as Peacemaker, is a DC Comics character and member of the Suicide Squad. The antihero gained a newfound popularity following WWE Superstar John Cena’s recent portrayal in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and the hit spinoff show on HBO Max. Now, Peacemaker makes his way into Mortal Kombat 1.
Quan Chi is a demon of the Netherrealm known for his dark magic and necromancy. He serves as a powerful enemy of both Earthrealm and Outworld and works to serve the Fallen Elder God Shinnok. Now, the evil sorcerer returns for Mortal Kombat 1.
Shang Tsung first appeared in the original Mortal Kombat as the final boss. In the second game, he became a playable character. Now, as the pre-order bonus, players will once again be able to take control of the evil supreme sorcerer in Mortal Kombat 1.
Takeda is a Japanese-born ninja who later joins the Chinese assassin clan, the Lin Kuei. After leaving the Lin Keui, he would eventually help lead to the formation of the Shirai Ryu clan. With the new story behind the Lin Kuei in Mortal Kombat 1, it’ll be interesting to see where Takeda’s new allegiance lies.
Mortal Kombat 1 smashes into your home this September
Mortal Kombat 1 hits your PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC on September 19. You can also pre-order the game now to receive Shang Tsung as a playable character. Additionally, pre-ordering the Premium Edition will also give you access to six new playable characters, five new Kameo characters, a Jean-Claude Van Damme skin for Johnny Cage, a week of early access to DLC characters and 1250 Dragon Krystals (In-game Premium Currency).
Who are you most excited to play as in Mortal Kombat 1? As always, let us know down in the comments!