The new Mortal Kombat film has arrived in theaters and proven a hit in the pandemic world of cinema, topping the box office in its premiere week domestically and gracing viewer screens at home as well on HBO Max. The new film offers a fresh look at the world of Mortal Kombat, seen through eyes of new character Cole Young, who discovers a deep connection to this world as the film's events unfold. Viewers too are taken on this journey, but whether you're new, returning, or a regular, it couldn't hurt to brush up when it comes to the series's long-established mythos. With the help of the Mortal Kombat wiki's bureaucrat, Riley Heligo, we're here to give a look at what you need to know about Mortal Kombat lore, from the world of Earthrealm to clans such as the Lin Kuei...


  • Earthrealm - Earthrealm is one of many realms in the Mortal Kombat universe. As the name implies, it is a representation of Earth and is the main target of invasion for the forces of evil, primarily Shao Kahn and his forces. Raiden, the God of Thunder serves as the protector of Earthrealm.

    As the Mortal Kombat film opens, Earthrealm finds itself under threat from Shang Tsung, who serves as the film's primary antagonist and is set to invade should Earthrealm lose one more Mortal Kombat Tournament. Cole Young, one of Earthrealm's champions, is an orphan from Chicago, Illinois, while Sonya Blade, who has been studying the mythology of Mortal Kombat for years, hails from Gary, Indiana.


Shang Tsung in Outworld

  • Outworld - Outworld is one of many realms in Mortal Kombat universe, originally ruled by Onaga the Dragon King, his rule was usurped by the current ruler, Shao Kahn. Outworld is a large and hostile realm with its landscapes housing numerous hazards including vast deserts, wastelands, forests with animated faces that consume unfortunate victims.

    In the Mortal Kombat film, Shang Tsung serves as the ruler of Outworld. Remorsless and devious, he has assembled an army of cunning fighters to his side and has won repeatedly in large part by cheating.


  • Netherrealm - The Netherrealm functions identically to the typical telling of Hell. The Netherrealm houses demons, monsters and beings of the purest evil and has been described as being "the darkest region of reality", magical beings such as Raiden are unable to enter the Netherrealm without the risk of their magic being drained away.

    As Mortal Komat opens, the renowned warrior Scorpion finds himself banished to the Netherrealm following his death at the hands of Bi-Han.


  • MK Tournament - The Mortal Kombat Tournament serves as a way for realms to defend themselves against invasion. Should the invading realm win ten consecutive victories then the defending realm will be merged with the invading realm. Whenever Mortal Kombat is declared, neither party are able to refuse. The winner of a tournament is crowned as the "Grand Champion" and is immune to aging and functionally immortal until they are either defeated or win the consecutive victories for their realm and resulting in the successful defense or merger.

    As previously mentioned, in the Mortal Kombat film, Shang Tsung and his forces have already won nine victories against Earthrealm. Shang, no stranger to cheating, seeks to thwart a mysterious prophecy and slay the warriors of Earthrealm before the net tournament can even begin, thus making Outworld the winners by default and allowing him to invade Earthrealm. To even be considered to fight in Mortal Kombat, one must first possess the dragon marking that shows they are capable of unlocking their arcana, a supernatural power.


Sub-Zero, a Cryomancer

  • Cryomancer - The Cryomancers are a race of beings capable of manipulating ice to either enhance their attacks or use as a form of defence, originally a race hailing from Edenia they were at some point banished to Outworld where they eventually died out. While there are no known pure Cryomancers left, there are several characters who are descended from Cryomancers, these characters are Kuai Liang, Bi-Han and Frost.

    In the Mortal Kombat film, Bi-Han, now going by the name of "Sub-Zero," possesses the icy powers of the Cryomancer. His abilities include the power to freeze off opponents' limbs and trapping people in ice.


  • Shirai Ryu - The Shirai Ryu were a clan of ninja who served as a splinter faction of the Lin Kuei, originally founded by a former Lin Kuei assassin known as Takeda who had become disillusioned with the Lin Kuei and offered his services with his followers eventually serving as the original members of the Shirai Ryu. Hanzo Hasashi, a member of the Shirai Ryu was one of the many casualties of the Shirai Ryu massacre concocted by the sorcerer Quan Chi, and was soon reborn as the spectre known as Scorpion, who now fights to avenge the murder of his clan through any means necessary to find the perpetrator of the massacre.

    Similar to the greater mythos of the franchise, in the Mortal Kombat film, the Shirai Ryu are the tribe of Hanzo Hasashi, or Scorpion. They are in direct opposition to the Shirai Ryu.


  • Lin Kuei - The Lin Kuei are a clan of ninja who serve as a rival to the clan the Shirai Ryu, originally serving as a clan of assassins, they have eventually grown out of this after they begun to serve as a force of good in the protection of Earthrealm, however they still remain a secretive faction. Eventually Kuai Liang overtook the previous leaders and now leads the Lin Kuei as a force for good and to serve as a protector of Earthrealm.

    In the Mortal Kombat film, Bi-Han, now going by Sub-Zero, acts as an assassin under the Lin Kuei clan. He considers everything he does to be "for the Lin Kuei."


Entrance to Raiden's temple

  • Lord Raiden's Temple - Raiden's temple is a place of worship for the thunder god known as Raiden. Located on Earthrealm, the temple is treated as sacred and while Raiden doesn't necessarily reside at the temple, it has served as his mainstay for meditation.

    In the Mortal Kombat film, Lord Raiden's temple is no longer quite the holy place it once was. Though it had served as a place of worship for thousands of years, the temple has degraded as the mythos of Mortal Kombat has largely become lost to the outside world. Nevertheless, now warriors gather there once more, seeking to train for the next tournament before it is too late.


Now that you're all caught up on the locations and lore, visit here for our guide to the film's characters if you haven't already, and be sure to check out Mortal Kombat in theaters or on HBO Max.

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