Cole Young is the protagonist of the 2021 film Mortal Kombat.


Born and orphaned in the South Side of Chicago, Cole Young lives with his wife Allison and daughter Emily, making his earnings as a MMA fighter with a declining reputation. When Jax Briggs meets up with Cole, Young begins to learn of his heritage and soon finds himself fighting alongside the likes of Sonya Blade, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and the Thunder God Raiden in a battle to protect Earthrealm from Shang Tsung and his Outworld Champions.

Combat Characteristics

Befitting his upbringing as an orphan on the rough South Side of Chicago Cole’s initial fighting style manifested as an extremely aggressive and furious style of mixed martial arts that focused on him pounding his opponents into submission. Early on in his fighting career this style served him especially well and allowed him to defeat former MMA champion Eddy Tobias and claim his title. Over the years, however, Cole’s style began to become less effective as newer opponents began to take advantage of his form’s weaknesses like its lack of defense and poor battlefield control ability. After training at Raiden’s temple and realizing the fuel to his arcana is in fact his desire to not simply win but to protect others though Cole’s style shifts to incorporate more dodging and blocking as well as moves from Okinawan Kobudō, a martial art that emphasizes weapon usage. This transition in fighting style is aided by his arcana, which manifests as a kind of extremely durable metal skin which can absorb the kinetic energy of his opponent’s strikes to empower his own blows and which can also generate weapons in the form of both normal and bladed tonfas from his arms.

Character Development

Cole Young is an original character created for the 2021 Mortal Kombat movie. Screenwriter Greg Russo, in publicity material for the Mortal Kombat film, stated that Cole Young's storyline came in part from his own life. As he began working on the project, he and his spouse were about to have their first child. He incorporated his own questions about what it meant to be a father and if he would be a good dad into the character.[1] Cole was originally envisioned akin to a Shujinko-like character arc (an oft-used narrative tool of introducing a "newcomer"), facilitating the role of (re-)introducing the story via existing characters, providing the audience a new protagonist experience.

Behind the Scene

  • Cole is portrayed by British-Chinese actor and martial artist Lewis Tan, who is the son of Philip Tan, a renowned stuntman, actor and martial arts choreographer.
  • In the HBO Max documentary "From Game to Screen", Cole Young's actor Lewis Tan admits to having played Mortal Kombat as a child and his parents not being happy about it, so he would sneak to play it late at night. "And now, look at me, Mom."
  • In another of these documentaries, "Kombat Evolution", Mortal Kombat director Simon McQuoid describes Lewis Tan as an incredible fighter who just will not stop. Tan explains that he comes from a fighting background and that real martial arts is very similar to him to acting because it's about expression.



  1. Mortal Kombat (2021) Press Kit Revelations. Retrieved on April 16, 2021.


Mortal Kombat Film Characters

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