Inspired by the worldwide video game sensation now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind finds vicious, power-mad Kano determined to take over Earthrealm, one soul at a time. Assisted by a trio of cold Black Dragon mercenaries, he embarks on a brutal assault from town to defenceless town. The choice is simple: Kneel or be annihilated.
But when the cocky and talented but undisciplined Kenshi doesn’t take a knee, Kano and his clan destroy the young warrior, taking his eyesight and his confidence. Under the tutelage of reluctant, retired Kuai Liang, the only one powerful enough to challenge the malevolent Kano, Kenshi finds renewed hope and a clear path to redemption. But will it be enough to stop Kano from decimating all of Earthrealm?
The movie is now available on Digital and Blu-ray, but we have one final interview to share with you. Jeremy Adams has written all of these Mortal Kombat Legends movies, not to mention DC Animated Universe titles like Justice Society: World War II and Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons.
ComicBookMovie.com will be bringing you our conversation about the latter soon, but for now, we have some fun new insights into this standalone adventure directly from the prolific writer. Taking us through the decision to shift focus to the Wasteland for Snow Blind, Adams also sheds new light on his approach to characters like Sub-Zero and Kano.
We also hear from him about the franchise's beloved gratuitous violence and how working on the Mortal Kombat franchise differs from the DCAU. As always, this was a really fun chat with Jeremy, and you can check it out in full below.
It’s great to speak to you again. I can only imagine how excited you must be to have Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind and Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons coming out pretty much back-to-back!
You never know with animation. You don’t know when something is coming out and then, suddenly, there’s two. I’ve only been to Manhattan once, so to be able to go to New York Comic Con is really exciting. This is the first movie I’ve done that I get to see with a crowd because of COVID. When COVID happened, Scorpion’s Revenge had just come out and we couldn’t do a screening. Batman: Soul of the Dragon…JSA…same thing. It will be exciting to be with people who have seen the movies, have a panel, and get those reactions. It will be fun.
After Battle of the Realms, Snow Blind does feel like a standalone story to a large degree, so what led to you moving the action into the future and telling this specific story?
When we did Scorpion’s Revenge and Battle of the Realms, Sam Register, who is the President of Warner Bros. Animation, came to us and said, ‘Hey, those two movies were big successes, but let’s do something different that’s not necessarily within the main continuity.’ We wrote a list of ideas, I sent them up the chain of command, and the executive Brian Jones worked with us and Rick [Morales], and they got to Dominic and Ed Boon at NetherRealm. They all looked at it and we agreed this would be a really great one, mainly because there’s a twist ending that reveals this can actually live in the world of Mortal Kombat as it’s written in the video games. It was great because we weren’t burdened by the massive mythology from those.
We probably tried to cram too much of that into Battle of the Realms, whereas here, we got to tell a more straightforward story about characters that hadn’t really been explored as much in different media. We threw together a bunch of elements from things we loved in genre. That’s the great thing about Mortal Kombat; it allows you to explore the genre space in almost any direction [Laughs]. There’s sorcery, guns, bionics, and all that stuff. I think we wanted to slow it down a little bit. The other two were really frenetic, and this one is much more character-driven. It’s still violent and epic, but we wanted to add a lot of layers of character depth.
Kano is a villain you get to have a lot of fun with here, but what about writing this crazy badass villain did you find brought you the biggest joy?
I remember watching the original live-action Mortal Kombat movie thinking he was so joyful in his insanity. With this movie, in particular, you’re dealing with somebody that has no boundaries. He can and has done everything. There’s a little bit of insanity that comes with that. If you can do everything, then nothing means anything. The more extreme he is in violence, psychologically, I imagine it’s a way for him to be like, ‘Oh, this is how I can feel something again, by doing this horrible thing.’ There’s something about the accent, the power, the twist very early on.
That was so exciting to us in terms of you never think of Kano as the biggest bad guy. He’s always the henchman, and to have him be the big bad and prove that over and over was just really cool. It subverts audience expectations and I think that’s what I like to do a lot in my writing. I’m not saying that in terms of ‘Look at me’ and that snobby crap. It’s more that I want to throw curveballs sometimes so people who think they know what they’re watching will say, ‘Oh my gosh, this isn’t exactly what I thought it would be.’ Kano is the real threat here, not who you think.
I really liked seeing this older Sub-Zero forced into the role of a mentor, but why do you think that arc works so well for him in this story?
We got to explore Scorpion in the first one, and there were certain elements with Sub-Zero here of, ‘Who is this character and what would cause him to hang up his ninja mask?’ There’s a deep love I have of movies with the character who is the reluctant teacher. That’s Karate Kid-style and there are a thousand different ways that’s been done. To be able to try it myself, and write something that touches on that…there still has to be more than that. What is the reason he hung it up? Why did he do it? What is it that makes him come back?
I remember as a kid taking martial arts and my dad and I were goofing around, sparring. I had done some move and my dad did one back and had my hand near my throat and told me, ‘It’s not what you know. It’s what you know and don’t do that makes you dangerous.’ I thought about that while writing Sub-Zero because he knows now what he can do and it’s absolutely terrifying. He’s restraining that monster, Incredible Hulk-style. As he finds himself training Kenshi and remembers his history of fighting the good fight, he starts to weigh the obligation of helping humanity and training this kid against the fact he may go out of control. There’s a great tension there that was really fun to explore and write about.
It does feel like this movie ups the ante in terms of violence; how much fun is it to dive into the blood and guts of this world after working in the DC Universe where that isn’t always possible?
[Laughs] It’s great! It feels like I get to exercise different muscles. With Mortal Kombat, what was surprising to me when I wrote the first script, I remember it being pretty explicitly violent. I wasn’t prepared for how violent the storyboard guys and the team made it. It was so much more violent. Rick had been getting into this terrible habit when we’re doing the audio commentary for the Blu-ray where he just has so much joy about the fact the first time I’m seeing the movie, in full completion, is then [Laughs]. I’m trying to talk about writing the movie and the process of us making it, and then suddenly Rick will be like, ‘Watch this,’ and I’ll see somebody’s head explode! ‘That is so gratuitous!’
It’s a great arena to do that stuff. I enjoy writing it more than I like seeing it, but when you go to a project like Super Sons…originally, I had written that to be Rated G. At some point, they asked us to amp it up a little and shoot for a PG-13. I was pretty resistant until the producer, Jim Krieg, came to me and said, ‘No, this needs to be like a 1980s PG movie.’ We came up with Starro coming out of the mouths and the almost bad word and that really elevated it in terms of, ‘Oh, this is like Monster Squad!’ It feels more real, but I’d let my girls watch it. It’s not over-the-top violence, but it is creepy.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind will be released on Digital platforms and Blu-ray on October 11.