Mortal Kombat: Rebirth Gets Expansion

UPDATE: Release confirmed

UPDATE: Official word from Warner Bros. now confirms that the webisode series will be available through Warner Digital Distribution in the spring. The shorts will explore "the history of warriors such as Liu Kang, Scorpion and Johnny Cage." Hey, Cage made it after all!

Remember that short Mortal Kombat movie from last summer? For a while nobody knew quite what Rebirth actually was, until it turned out to be an elaborate pitch by director Kevin Tancharoen to reboot the moribund movie series, based on the uber-violent videogames.

Heads were turned and notice was taken, and now it seems we can expect further instalments. Michael Jai White (Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs in Rebirth) has confirmed to the Bagged and Boarded podcasters that more Mortal Kombat webisodes are on the way, possibly leading to a full feature.

White doesn't reveal much, partly because he can barely get a word in around his interviewers, but does confirm that Tancharoen ("a real talented cat") is once again behind the camera, and that filming is due to start shortly in Vancouver. "The next salvo is going to be hard-edged," he promises. "We're taking it to the next level. We're going to do these shorts right before we do the major film."

Bloody Disgusting, meanwhile, filled in some further information. Mr Disgusting's sources tell him ten webisodes are in the works, written by Tancharoen, and Todd and Aaron Helbing. Aside from the centre-stage Jax, we can apparently expect to see Shang Tsung, Liu Kang, Sub-Zero, Durak, Kabal, Kitana, Mileena and (C'mere!) Scorpion. Seven of Nine fans will be disappointed that there's no mention of Sonya Blade (played by Jeri Ryan in Rebirth). And given what happened to him last time, it's unlikely we'll see Johnny Cage. BD have no word on a full movie.

The plot of the shorts, natch, involves saving the world from big bads Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung, but it's the execution that's the thing. Rebirth ditched the fantasy Big Trouble In Little China vibe in favour of a downbeat Nolan Batman approach, where MK's cast of freaks were presented as real-world villains: outlandish but grounded in some sort of vague reality.

Rebirth was impressive, but whether further instalments will expose it as Not Such A Good Idea After All remains to be seen. Shooting on the webisodes starts next month, with no release date yet.