Liu Kang and Raiden have always had a special relationship that expressed itself in different ways. Mortal Kombat 11 This was wonderfully demonstrated with its poignant timeline-spanning montage and subsequent merging. Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms changes that dynamic a bit by eliminating rivalry and focusing solely on the positives of the father-son relationship that were right beneath the franchise’s injured and blood-soaked skin. And that was intentional.

However, it is impossible to look at Raiden and Liu Kang in this movie without examining them individually. Jeremy Adams, the screenwriter for both animated films, spoke about it as he tried to delve deeper into Raiden. While the bond between Liu Kang and Raiden is typically there The Scorpion’s Revenge, Adams wanted to pause and focus more on the god of thunder. It is said that it is rather strange for a being to devote thousands of years of life to defending the earthly kingdom. The games haven’t dealt with this aspect as intensely and leave Adam’s room to strike like lightning.

“I think it was really important that this movie really got to grips with the relationship between Raiden and Liu Kang as father and son,” he said. “That was what really caught my eye while writing, and I had a lot to explore about who Raiden was and why he was protecting Earthrealm. What’s his deal? “

Dave B. Mitchell, Raiden’s voice actor in these films, was able to expand on that notion of what makes sense for the person who lived the lines that Adams wrote. A fan of the games from the start and a Sector stan, Mitchell said he thought this movie does the best job of them all Mortal Kombat Media that look into Raiden’s soul and humanize the divine being by showing his inner struggles.

“What I like about Raiden is the fact that he still has that Zen quality and that divinity, but the way I portray him in it you can feel some of the burden he’s been carrying for millennia,” he said. “You can feel how some of it bothered him, and especially when we explore a different side of him than we saw before, when he relates to the different characters, the tournament and Shao Kahn.”

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The “weight” that Mitchell speaks of is shown in Battle of the Empires. Raiden has been fighting in this Mortal Kombat tournament for so damn long. Earthrealm even won the last tournament that should have brought a thousand years of security, but here he has to fight everything again; a tiring, never-ending struggle goes on.

It is evident when Raiden quickly accepts Shao Kahn’s offer to ask the Elder Gods for another Mortal Kombat tournament to end the bloodshed and sacrifice his divinity to further commit to stop fighting. Mitchell explained how all of this made Raiden so tired it becomes visible – the former god even talks about looking forward to his first night of sleep – but not too tired to shirk his responsibilities.

“Raiden has a very personal interest this time around and is committed to the safety of Earthrealm,” he said. “You can see that this was his mission: to defend Earthrealm. You see the toll it has taken over time. It’s a never-ending fight for him. Because of some of the choices and sacrifices he makes in the process, it is one of the first times that we see some of his inner struggles with him and realize that despite his calm and serene facade that he gives to everyone else, there is some weight there. And it’s taken its toll and he’s not going to give up, but he’s definitely affected. “

The fatigue gives the film an opportunity to give Liu Kang’s arc more meaning. The Shaolin Monk wasn’t very popular at the end of the first movie, where he won the tournament just by Scorpion’s willful surrender. This “mistake” resonated with him, as his brief exchange with Raiden just before the credits shows. This context brings Liu Kang to a greater rise in Battle of the Empires, something that Raiden plays a crucial role in making it happen.

How Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms completed Raiden & Liu Kangs Bond

Unfortunately, this comes at a high price, as the now mortal Raiden dies in a particularly gruesome battle at Shao Kahn’s hand. When prompted for his final words, Raiden is cut off and it is strongly implied that he wanted to say that he loves Liu Kang. Adams basically filled in the rest of Raiden’s last sentence.

“We saw him express his love for Liu Kang before he died,” said Adams. “As if he were his chosen one. And he trusts him so much that he is ready to die over it. I think it’s pretty powerful. It really gave me a hook for Raiden as a character and a hook for Liu Kang as a character. “

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Adams also talked about how he viewed Raiden as a father who wanted his adoptive son to succeed and that Liu Kang would not rise without that sacrifice. Realizing his destiny to become the defender of Earthrealm, the weight mentioned above took off his shoulders and Liu Kang reached height and filled that role, satisfying his parental instincts. This act fulfills Raiden in two ways. Mitchell, who referred to Liu Kang as an “avatar for the big picture” in Raiden’s eyes because of his innate purity, combined the themes of fatigue and fatherhood and at the same time related them to Liu Kang.

“It shows the depth of Raiden’s commitment that he was literally willing to give up the deity and sacrifice his life not only for Earthrealm but also for Liu Kang,” he said. “We have seen Liu Kang struggle with doubts throughout the history of MK in lore, especially since we explored the depth of the characters in the later games. I think whatever doubts may have crystallized his understanding and commitment to “that’s me”. This is my responsibility. That’s what I’m here for. And I cannot fulfill my destiny under any circumstances. ‘”

Performing a Fatality on Raiden (although Adams quickly noted that “anyone can come back anytime”) wasn’t a late choice either. Producer Rick Morales said the team got on board early and said it “just made sense” to evolve Liu Kang’s character.

“It was one of the earliest decisions we made about who to kill in this movie,” he said. “To the Mortal Kombat, I think you need these deaths, which may be unexpected, but everyone is fair game. Anyone can die in the games. In these films I want to have the feeling that you might think that someone is safe, but not necessarily. “

How Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms completed Raiden & Liu Kangs Bond

Some of these deaths have profoundly shaped Liu Kang. His parents are brutally treated at the beginning of the film and his buddy Kung Lao is torn in half like junk mail. All of this is in addition to having his father figure’s neck broken. Adams said he believed “it took the trauma for him” to be “able to go outside on his own”. Meanwhile, in the film, Raiden says that Liu Kang never blames anyone for his trauma, which proves his soul’s innocence; the innocence that showed why he should play a bigger role.

It’s a tough way of life, but Jordan Rodrigues, who portrays Liu Kang in the film, has conveyed a similar feeling. He said that Liu Kang’s patience paid off and the trauma only “fueled the fire in Liu Kang’s burning heart.”

“Once he rose to god status, everything became clear and all-knowing,” said Rodrigues. “And I think when you reach this ethereal, if that’s a word, everything becomes calm and one. I had to portray that in my acting. I think it’s really cool to see how he becomes the chosen one. “

Mortal Kombat Movies often struggle to keep track of all of their fighters, and many of them have clichés, if any, or flat arcs. Of course, Battle of the Empires also has the same problem as some of the biggest faces in the series have either rushed personal stories or none at all. but Battle of the Empires has focused on at least two of his marquee fighters, Liu Kang and Raiden. Both grew up as a couple in ways that strengthened their resolve as individuals and gave life to the characters in a series so obsessed with killing and death.