—Past Kung Lao to Past Liu Kang about their fallen present counterparts as revenants in Mortal Kombat 11.
- Mortal Kombat (2011): "Kung Lao's ancestor was defeated by Goro 500 years ago in the pivotal match that saw Shang Tsung attain control of the Mortal Kombat tournament. To him this contest is about more than Earthrealm's freedom. His life's goal has been to slay Goro and win the tournament, thus restoring his family's honor. After being defeated by Liu Kang in a qualifying bout, he disguised himself as one of Shang Tsung's guards to gain admittance. Kung Lao believes he is ready for the challenge. The time to avenge his ancestor is at hand."
- Mortal Kombat X: "Kung Lao trained with the Shaolin Monks to become one of Earthrealm's most skilled defenders. But his immaturity and impetuousness prevented him from being taken as seriously as his friend Liu Kang. Despite Lao's shortcomings, he was able to defeat both Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in Mortal Kombat. But his life was cut short when Shao Kahn brutally murdered him. In death, Kung Lao's soul was collected by Quan Chi, who used it to create an evil "revenant" version of Kung Lao. He now serves Quan Chi and the Netherrealm."
- Mortal Kombat 11: "Shaolin monk and descendant of Great Kung Lao. The younger Kung Lao claimed his greatness by beating the deadly alliance of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in Mortal Kombat. Reckless and rebellious, but courageous and indomitable, Kung Lao fights to prove worthy of his glorious ancestors."
The Shaolin had chosen Liu Kang to represent them in the Mortal Kombat tournament, but Kung Lao, believing that he was Liu Kang's equal, entered the tournament disguised as one of Shang Tsung's guards. He remained hidden until the introduction of Scorpion in one of the tournament matches, at that time Raiden received a vision which told him of the masked guard's true identity. While Shang Tsung asked the crowd of combatants who wished to challenge Scorpion, Raiden approached Kung Lao and told him that the Shaolin had already chosen Liu Kang and, furthermore, that he was not Liu Kang's equal. Determined to prove Raiden otherwise, Kung Lao discarded his disguise and challenged Scorpion, surprising Liu Kang and seemingly upsetting Shang Tsung.
Kung Lao was defeated. He was forced to watch for the remainder of the tournament and give his support to Liu Kang as punishment for his indulgence. After Liu Kang's victory over Shang Tsung, who granted Earthrealm the tournament victory and freedom, Kung Lao joined Sonya Blade, Jax and Johnny Cage to watch Liu Kang being awarded a medal for his victory at a ceremony held at the Wu Shi Academy.
The celebration was short-lived as a revitalized Shang Tsung came to the Wu Shi Academy later that night to propose a tournament to Raiden that would be held in Outworld. Raiden rejected Shang Tsung's proposal which caused Shang Tsung to summon a Tarkatan horde which destroyed the Wu Shi Academy and kidnapped Sonya Blade. After defeating the Tarkatan horde, Raiden received a vision of Liu Kang defeating Shao Kahn at the Outworld Tournament. Raiden accepted the tournament challenge but believed that he had to change the outcome of this vision, in order to prevent Armageddon in the future.
Kung Lao and Liu Kang were sent by Raiden to free their Shaolin masters while Raiden, Cage and Jax went to meet Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung. Later on, Kung Lao and Liu Kang met up with Raiden, Cage and Smoke. They went to the wastelands where they were informed by Jade of Kitana's pending execution and that she was being held captive in the tower of Shao Kahn's Fortress.
Kung Lao and Liu Kang went to the Tower to rescue Kitana, leaving the others to go to the Coliseum to take part in the tournament. Unable to find Kitana at the Tower, Kung Lao and Liu Kang were confronted by Sheeva and Noob Saibot, who told them that Kitana had been relocated. Kung Lao fought and defeated Noob Saibot. After defeating Noob Saibot, Kung Lao noticed a familiar presence within Noob (possibly assuming Sub-Zero). Afterwards, he watched as Liu Kang fought Sheeva, stating that "four arms against two was hardly a fair fight." and asking if Liu Kang needed any help. At that moment Goro arrived, wanting revenge against Liu Kang. Kung Lao challenged, defeated Goro and demanded Kitana's location and to what Goro answered that she was taken to the Coliseum were he had not doubt she was executed. The Shaolin monks went to the Coliseum, where they saw Kitana chained up.
Liu Kang went to Kitana's aid, not willing to take part in the tournament due to Raiden thinking Liu Kang was not the one who was supposed to defeat Shao Kahn. With Smoke and Cage defeated in the tournament and Sonya and Jax no longer in Outworld, Raiden believed that Kung Lao could be the one who should win the tournament and sent him to fight.
Kung Lao went up against the combined might of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi and defeated them, fighting Kintaro afterwards. Hearing the boos of the crowd, he took off his hat and gave a few mock bows, celebrating his victory until Shao Kahn killed him by snapping his neck from behind, enraging Liu Kang, who seemingly killed Shao Kahn.
Later on, Kung Lao was resurrected by Quan Chi along with the other fallen warriors, as his soul belonged to the sorcerer as payment by Shao Kahn for the Netherrealm's allegiance. When Raiden went to Netherrealm for Quan Chi's assistance to defeat the Outworld invasion, Quan Chi sent Kung Lao along with others to kill him, but Raiden defeated them.
The revenant Kung Lao appears in the Netherrealm alongside Liu Kang after Kitana and Quan Chi execute the Oni Moloch and Drahmin. After learning of Havik's partial success in leaving Shinnok's amulet exposed, it is Kung Lao who points out that with Earthrealm and Outworld on high alert after chaos cleric's rampage, the forces of Netherrealm should rely on subterfuge and suggests to his allies they rely on Shinnok's newest acolyte: D'Vorah.
Kung Lao returns in Mortal Kombat X. His first appearance chronologically in the story mode is twenty-five years ago before Shao Kahn's second tournament during the time both he and Liu Kang were still alive. After the raid of the Wu Shi Academy, Kung Lao travels with both Liu Kang and Raiden to free the shaolin monks who were captured by Baraka's tarkatan horde. Kung Lao is angered by the raid and the death of master Wen, but Raiden tells him that there are boundaries not meant to be crossed. As Raiden goes to fight Baraka and D'Vorah, Kung Lao and Liu Kang fight off the tarkatan hordes along the way. Raiden defeats both Baraka and D'Vorah, and leaves Kung Lao and Liu Kang to deal with rescuing the monks, but tells them both to join him in the tournament later.
Twenty-five years after his death at the hands of Shao Kahn, Kung Lao now serves as a revenant of Quan Chi. He is seen with the revenant versions of Liu Kang, Sindel, and Kitana escorting Quan Chi to his fortress to await for D'vorah with Shinnok's amulet. On the way, they are ambushed by the Special Forces consisting of Jax and Kenshi while being aided by Quan Chi's former servant Sareena. While Liu Kang escorts Quan Chi, Kung Lao then faces Jax. He tells Jax to go back, but does not comply. The two of the them fight, but Jax emerges as the victor.
Kung Lao appears at the Sky Temple where Shinnok goes to corrupt the Jinsei. Raiden attempts to stop him, but is surrounded by his revenant servants. They tease him at first, but Raiden proceeds to fight them off. Raiden is temporarily overpowered by them, but manages to shock them all away, but Kung Lao escapes. Raiden orders Kung Lao to stop, but the latter tells Raiden that he serves Shinnok and the Netherrealm. Raiden recalls that he only serves him because of his death by Shao Kahn's hands. Kung Lao responds by saying Raiden allowed his death, and that he will "not be so passive in [Raiden's] demise." Kung Lao proceeds to fight Raiden, only to be defeated by his former mentor.
As Cassie Cage and her team arrive at the Sky Temple, Kung Lao is seen with Smoke talking to Liu Kang. Kung Lao claims to have found Raiden's portal to the heavens, but is blocked by protective wards. Kitana says that the seal must break, and he with Liu Kang and Smoke go to Raiden's portal to destroy the wards. The three of them return later only to find Kitana and Sindel attacked by Cassie's team. Jacqui and Takeda offer to stay behind to hold off the undead revenants.
Part 1: Mortal Kombat 11
Kotal Kahn attempts to execute the Kollector, but is interrupted by Kronika. Shao Kahn, Skarlet, Baraka, and younger versions of Kung Lao, Kano, Erron Black, Jade, Raiden, Kitana, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Jax, and Scorpion, including Kabal appear from the past.
Kung Lao and the time displaced heroes decide to help Kotal Kahn drive back the time displaced Shao Kahn and his forces. The heroes emerge victorious and Kung Lao returns to Earthrealm with Liu Kang and Raiden to discover what had happened that caused the three to appear in the present.
Dark Raiden is erased from existence, leaving Shinnok's amulet behind. Kung Lao, Liu Kang and Raiden show up at the base after forging an alliance with Kotal Kahn. They learn that there is an energy signal in a grotto under the Wu Shi Academy. Before the monks set off for the Academy, they learn from Cassie Cage and Jacqui Briggs about the fate of their future counterparts. When Liu Kang and Kung Lao arrive, they discover many Shaolin had been slain protecting the entrance to the Dragon Grotto. The monks eventually encounter Scorpion and caused him to retreat, but after Scorpion fled, Liu Kang and Kung Lao were trapped with poisonous gas. The revenant version of Jade appears alongside the time displaced Scorpion and the monks defeat them both. Liu Kang and Kung Lao engage in kombat against their future counterparts in the Grotto and eventually defeat them. Kung Lao throws his hat at Geras and decapitates him but he eventually resurrects. The two Shaolin Monks then engage Kronika's subordinate and during the fight, Liu Kang successfully knocks the Jinsei vials out of Geras' hands. The monks defeat him but before they could leave, Geras rises back up and Kronika stops time taking the vials herself.
As the Lin Kuei Temple, Raiden’s Sky Temple and the Special Forces Desert Base were overwhelmed, Kung Lao and his surviving allies shelter in the Shirai-Ryu’s Fire Gardens, where they learned from Raiden of Kronika’s connections to her children Cetrion and Shinnok, including her schemes through them. As Raiden was informed by Cetrion that Kotal Kahn and Jade are captured, Kung Lao and Liu Kang ask Raiden to reunite them with Kitana in Outworld, rescuing Jade from Skarlet (thought the Shaolin’s disguises failed due to Skarlet’s blood magic senses easily spotting them), and battle Baraka in order to secure an alliance with him and Sheeva. With their aid, Kitana successfully defeats Shao Kahn, uniting the Outworld factions and inheriting the throne from a now crippled Kotal, much to Kung Lao and Liu Kang’s pridefully surprise in relief.
When Raiden realizes that his battles with Liu Kang in different timelines were a part of Kronika's machinations, Kronika kidnaps Kang. With Kharon recruited, Kung Lao, Raiden, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Cassie, Jacqui, Kitana, Sheeva, Jade, and Baraka lead a joint Special Forces/Shaolin/Outworld task force to assault Kronika's Keep.
Kronika sends revenant Liu Kang to attack Raiden. Raiden merges with him, and becomes Fire God Liu Kang. Kung Lao and Kitana breach the Keep with him, only for Kronika to restore history to its beginning, except for Kang. Kronika then sends the upgraded revenant versions of Lao, Kitana, and Jade against the fire god, who destroys all three of them.
Part 2: Aftermath
In the Netherrealm, the Revenant Kung Lao, along with Jade and Kabal, are preparing their army to defend Kronika's Keep, while the time-displaced Kung Lao and Liu Kang are preparing their Shaolin army to assault her Keep.
Prior to the final battle and due to the timeline changes thanks to Shang Tsung, Fujin and Nightwolf taking Kronika's Crown, Kitana's ship is attacked by Shao Kahn and Sidenl's forces. Kung Lao arrogantly challenges Shao Kahn, believing he was about to best him before they were all whisked away earlier. Sindel or Shao Kahn fight and easily defeat Kung Lao, tossing his hat overboard and throwing Kung Lao after it, forcing Kung Lao to drown in the Sea of Blood. However, since Revenant Kung Lao was alive to battle Shao Kahn, Sindel, and Shang Tsung in the final chapter, it is unknown what happened to his body. It’s possible that the Living Kung Lao might have drowned sometime after the final battle.
- Mortal Kombat (2011) (Non-Canonical): "Kung Lao had avenged his ancestor's death and saved Earthrealm from Shao Kahn's brutality. In quiet reflection with Raiden at the grave of the Great Kung Lao, he touched the modest stone marker. Images of past events, moments of someone else's life, flashed through his mind, concluding with a lost battle against Goro. Raiden theorized that Kung Lao had unlocked memories of his past life. The Kung Lao that stood before Raiden was in fact the reincarnation of the Great Kung Lao, who had been defeated by Goro 500 years ago. He had accomplished in the present what he could not in the past."
- Mortal Kombat X (Non-Canonical): "After Shinnoks defeat, Kung Lao found himself trapped in the Netherrealm, his soul corrupted by Quan Chi's dark magic. There he would have remained but for the aid of his cousin Kung Jin. Together their Shaolin strength repelled the evil sufficiently enough for Kung Lao to escape the dark realm and control his inner demons. Compromised but not lost, Kung Lao now exists as an agent of vengeance. He will show evil no mercy."
- Mortal Kombat 11 (Non-Canonical): "Of course I defeated Kronika. And when I did, there was only one thing i wanted to do with the Hourglass. Undo the defeat of my ancestor, the Great Kung Lao. In my timeline, the Great Kung Lao is the undisputed Mortal Kombat champion. Earthrealm never loses another tournament. For generations, his example inspires millions to join the White Lotus Society and defend Earthrealm. They in turn inspire rebels to overthrow Shao Kahn in Outworld. The realms make peace. Until, inevitably, a more powerful enemy comes along... ...and finds Earthrealm backed by Kung Lao, Immortal Lord of Time and Warrior Supreme. Beat that, Liu Kang."