Fans were largely ecstatic over the news that a new adaptation of the fan-favorite video game fighting series Mortal Kombat was heading to theaters over a decade after the last live-action movie. However, there were some misgivings when it was revealed that a new character was going to be added to the movie.
That character was Cole Young. His inclusion in the movie caused a bit of division among fans and remains one of the most discussed additions made for the movie. So we're going to take a bit of time today to get to know the newest fighter in Mortal Kombat and examine Cole Young's starring role in the live-action MK franchise.
10 Lewis Tan Plays Cole Young In Mortal Kombat
Cole Young is played by Chinese-British actor Lewis Tan. He's the son of famed actor and stuntman Philip Tan, who trained Lewis in various martial arts since he was a child. Obviously, he was well-prepared for the martial arts heavy role of Cole Young.
More recently Lewis Tan starred in projects like Into The Badlands, Netflix's Iron Fist, and Wu Assassins before taking on the role of Shatterstar in Deadpool 2, albeit very briefly. Tan's role as Cole Young is his biggest starring role yet, and one set to further propel the actor's career.
9 He Was Created Specifically For The Mortal Kombat Movie
Greg Russo was the screenwriter for 2021's Mortal Kombat movie. He revealed in an interview with GameRant that the character of Cole Young was created specifically for the movie at the request of Warner Bros., as the studio wanted a unique live-action protagonist.
This move worked well in bringing new fans into the lore-heavy story, as Cole young learned about Outworld and the Tournament along with the viewers. However, some fans are critical of the decision to put so much focus on a new character rather than one of the franchise's established icons.
8 Cole Young Is A Mixed Martial Artist With A Failed Career
When fans are first introduced to Lewis Tan's Cole Young in 2021's Mortal Kombat, he is preparing for a mixed martial artist fight by wrapping up his hands in yellow tape, which would become a signature color for Cole Young over the course of the movie.
Young's failed career as an MMA fighter is teased by the fight promoter and Young himself, who reveals that he has fallen in status over the years and is now forced to accept dangerous matches for cash instead of chasing a career in the ring.
7 His Fighting Style Is Aggressively Offensive With No Defense
The fight promoter who books Cole Young for his introductory fight in the film not only reveals Young's failed career through his conversation with the fighter, but he also comments on his fighting skills or lack thereof.
Cole Young's career as an MMA fighter took off due to his aggressively offensive style, though as the fight promoter reveals, he's also known as the "Punching Bag" due to his lack of defense. Young's biggest development over the course of the film (besides his arcana) is a change in his fighting style that sees him become a more well-rounded fighter.
6 Cole Young Is The Descendant Of Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion
While 2021's Mortal Kombat mostly takes place in the modern-day, it began with a bit of history as enemies Bi-Han and Hanza Hasashi had their final battle. It would leave Hasashi dead and trapped in Hell while Bi-Han became Sub-Zero, proceeding to serve Shang Tsung and Outworld.
The death of Hasashi was due to a prophecy about his bloodline, which is eventually revealed to be carried on by Cole Young as the descendent of Hanzo Hasashi, who returned to fight Sub-Zero alongside Young as the fan-favorite Scorpion.
5 He Is A Family Man And Has A Daughter
One of the biggest details about Cole Young that further separates him from the other fighters in 2021's Mortal Kombat is that he is a family man. He is seen from the very beginning alongside his wife Allison and their daughter, Emily, as they helped him prepare for his MMA match.
Young's dedication to his family makes his fight against the forces of Outworld personal after they target them. But it's his love and desire to protect them that ultimately helps him unlock his true power and makes him unique among the other fighters of Earthrealm.
4 He Was Born With The Chosen One's Birthmark
2021's Mortal Kombat adaptation introduced a few new elements into the established lore of the video games, like the dragon insignia that marks the chosen defenders of Earthrealm. The mark of the Chosen One is seen passing from fighters to those who killed them, though Cole Young was born with his birthmark on his chest, which made him an early target.
Keen-eyed viewers will notice Hanzo Hasashi's own mark fading from his arm as he dies in the opening scene. However, it didn't pass to his killer Bi-Han, and instead became a generational connection to Scorpion's prophecy that passed on to Young.
3 His Arcana Forms Over His Body As Generational Protection
The dragon marking also enabled the chosen fighters to access the powers of their arcana, which was the movie's explanation for the various abilities and special powers wielded by the human fighters in the video game. Cole Young is one of the last to unlock his arcana, which manifests as a protective woven golden body armor that can absorb damage and rechannel it destructively.
While some have called this ability literal plot armor, it does fit in with the theme of generational protection of the Hanzo Hasashi bloodline and Young's own desire to protect his family. The design of the armor even references both the woven baby basket of his predecessor and the bracelet from his daughter.
2 He Wields Normal And Bladed Tonfa As Weapons
Cole Young's arcana armor forms over his body, but also extends further to create a pair of deadly golden tonfa that he wields to great effect during the fight with one of Mortal Kombat's most recognizable characters, Goro.
Young wields two different types of the classic Japanese tonfa weapon — the classic club-like version and one with a bladed edge. The tonfa was used primarily in Okinawan martial arts, which Cole Young begins to work into his fighting style after he manifests his weapons.
1 Cole Young Will Lead The Search For Earth's Champions
One of the biggest surprises in 2021's Mortal Kombat was the lack of the actual tournament from the video games in the adaptation, though Earthrealm's fighters were able to challenge Sang Tsung's forces in their own version that earned them the first victory in their fight against Outworld.
Cole Young's continued role in the Mortal Kombat cinematic franchise was teased as he revealed his plans to head to Hollywood and begin the search for more of Earthrealm's chosen fighters, beginning with the only original video game character missing from the movie, Johnny Cage.
NetEase called it a bug, but others called it a feature.