Despite being the world's premier fighting game franchise, Mortal Kombat hasn't had the best of luck when it comes to its live-action endeavors. As soon as everyone thought it had cracked the code with the Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series, Season 3 vanished deep into the spiked pit of Shang Tsung's Island.
The history of Mortal Kombat: Legacy can be traced back to director Kevin Tancharoen's short film titled Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. Tancharoen produced the project in an effort to land Warner Bros.' backing for a full-length feature. While the studio declined to push forward with the film, he did receive the green-light to shoot a Mortal Kombat web series, which debuted on Machinima's YouTube channel in April 2011.
After the successful release of Season 1, New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. announced that Tancharoen would also helm the next big-screen adaptation of Mortal Kombat, as well as continue with the web series. Everything seemed to be on track for both projects, and even before Season 2's release in in September 2013, Tancharoen spoke about the third season as if it was a done deal.
Then, in October 2013, Tancharoen departed the Mortal Kombat movie. "After 3 years of Kombat, I've decided to move on to other creative opportunities," he explained on Twitter. "I wish everyone involved in the movie big success. Thanks!"
His message caused much confusion, with many wondering if it meant he'd departed Mortal Kombat: Legacy as well. In fact, actor Casper Van Dien, who portrayed Johnny Cage in Season 2, asked on Twitter, "Am I being #CAGED? This cannot be true. Unless we are shooting #NinjaMime."
Tancharoen attempted to clear up matters in March 2014, revealing that he was still onboard with Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Speaking to Nerd Reactor, he said, "We are starting to talk about [Season 3] literally this week. I’m starting to talk to Warner Bros. and the video game creators, so hopefully we can see it through."
The conversations proved productive. Season 3, now titled Mortal Kombat: Generations, was announced in early 2015. Throughout this time, Van Dien and stunt coordinator Garrett Warren revealed that training and filming for the new season had commenced, promising the third season would be released in early 2016.
Well, three years have passed since then, and no one seems to know what happened to Mortal Kombat: Legacy's infamous third season. Several posts from the actors and production crew have been deleted on social media, and Tancharoen ignores any and all questions from fans.
Of course, it's no secret that Warner Bros. pushed forward with plans for a feature film, which is set to be produced by James Wan. However, that would theoretically be a non-issue, as the movie appears to be far from entering production and the web series would have been released years ago. What is evident is that Season 3 was filmed and readied, but something occurred before its release. But what? The answer could be Machinima.
For years, the popular YouTube channel was a hub of entertainment and featured a host of web-exclusive content. As it grew bigger, though, some of its business decisions drew criticism from fans and creators alike.
A notable example was the release of the Street Fighter: Resurrection webseries, which aired exclusively on go90. While the first season, Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist, debuted on YouTube, the new season was largely unavailable to audiences outside of the U.S. The creators of the series engaged with fans on Facebook, revealing it was out of their hands and they were trying to negotiate something with Machinima, which held the broadcast rights. Eventually, it released on Amazon Prime (but not for all territories) and the creators moved on to create a Street Fighter TV series with eOne.
In 2016 Machinima was acquired by Warner Bros. Digital Networks. When Warner Bros. was acquired by AT&T in 2018, the company was re-organized into Otter Media and subsumed by Fullscreen. In January 2019, however, Machinima's YouTube channel set all its videos to private, ceasing operations a month later. Since then, all the rights have reverted to the creators.
With the dissolvement of Machinima, it's possible that Season 3 of Mortal Kombat: Legacy could now see the light of day. Unless, of course, Warner Bros. decides that it's been far too long and opts to focus on the future with the live-action film and purported animated movie.
If it's all filmed and ready to go, though, odds are it will eventually be released in some form. Fans still want closure and a satisfying ending after Season 2's cliffhanger, so why not wrap up Mortal Kombat: Legacy before moving onto the next MK project? At the very least, the cast and crew deserve a sendoff, as do the fans who've refused to give up hope on this series.