The upcoming Mortal Kombat movie reboot casts its Shang Tsung and Scorpion actors, and the choices should prove quite popular with franchise fans. For as much success and staying power as Mortal Kombat has shown in the video game realm – the occasional misstep notwithstanding – it’s never really translated well to either the big or small screens. While the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie is fondly remembered by many, and features some good performances and action scenes, its PG-13 rating prevented it from truly capturing the blood-soaked spirit of the property.
Then there’s 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which almost nobody would attempt to defend. Sporting a cast overhauled for the worse, Annihilation was a critical and commercial flop, and is today best known for producing incredibly cringe-worthy scenes such as Liu Kang’s poorly rendered CGI dragon transformation. There was also a short-lived live-action series called Mortal Kombat: Conquest that failed to impress anyone, and an equally short-lived animated series subtitled Defenders of the Realm that also failed to make a splash.
With all that in mind, 2021’s James Wan-produced Mortal Kombat reboot has a lot of high expectations riding on it, as fans hope to finally see a proper adaptation of the games they love. Writer Greg Russo has helped hype fans up by promising the inclusion of game-accurate Fatalities, and that the film will likely be a hard-R when it comes to violent content. Recently, several casting announcements have been made, and now Variety reports that the movie has cast its versions of popular fighters Shang Tsung and Scorpion. Playing Shang Tsung will be Chin Han, while playing Scorpion will be Hiroyuki Sanada.
On the surface, both men appear to be cast quite well, especially Sanada, who’s been a popular fan choice to play Scorpion for many months. Han’s knack for playing well-spoken, smarmy jerks with a touch of class should also make him a great Shang Tsung. Chin Han of course played scheming banker Lau in The Dark Knight, and also played wealthy villain Frank Chen on Arrow, although he’s since portrayed nobler characters in Independence Day: Resurgence and Skyscraper.
Sanada has a long history of playing martial artists, having appeared as such in projects like The Last Samurai, The Wolverine, 47 Ronin, and Rush Hour 3. Sanada more recently played the Yakuza boss killed by Hawkeye early in Avengers: Endgame. Sanada also counts among his long resume appearances in the films Sunshine, Life, and Ringu, and TV shows like Lost, Revenge, and The Last Ship. Previously cast Mortal Kombat fighters include Sonya Blade, Kano, Liu Kang, Jax, Mileena, and Scorpion’s nemesis Sub-Zero, played by The Raid: Redemption’s Joe Taslim. So far, Wan and director Simon McQuoid seem to be casting based on talent and appropriateness for the role above notoriety, as the cast is so far all comprised of up-and-comers or veteran supporting players.
More: The 10 Best Mortal Kombat Characters