Liu Kang’s Fire God ascension seems to build him up as Mortal Kombat’s new benevolent god, but his evil run was his most interesting character arc.
Liu Kang is one of Mortal Kombat‘s classic heroes, but he sadly isn’t the most interesting and works better as a villain than as a hero. At the climax of Mortal Kombat 11, he ascended to become Fire God Liu Kang, and appears to become a figure on Raiden’s level of power. However, despite this new development, that doesn’t change the fact that Liu Kang has historically been more interesting as a villain.
Liu Kang’s flirtation with villainy was a brief one, but definitely impactful. Even if it was only for the novelty of seeing Earthrealm’s champion as a villain, evil Liu Kang is a very interesting character to watch. Seeing the Fire God turning back to the dark side may be exactly the spark that the next game in the saga could use, especially if Liu Kang seems set to replace Raiden in Mortal Kombat 12 as the series’ resident god.
Liu Kang’s villainy began in Mortal Kombat X, and was not of his own volition. After his death, Quan Chi took his soul and reformed him into an evil version of himself under the treacherous sorcerer’s command. Even after Quan Chi’s defeat, Liu Kang remained as a revenant and became the despotic leader of Netherrealm. Under this new role, the influence of Shinnook’s head continues to drive him further to immorality, to the point that by the beginning of Mortal Kombat 11 he is preparing to invade Earthrealm, the same realm that he had once been sworn to protect. He even attempts to recruit Jason Voorhees in the latter’s MKX ending. Given rumors of Mortal Kombat 12 having a massive roster, an evil Liu Kang could have plenty of opportunities to recruit minions.
Liu Kang’s Best Role In Mortal Kombat Is As A Champion Turned Evil
Liu Kang’s evil phase was interesting, largely because when he’s a hero, he tends to get lost in the fold. Between Jax’s tough-guy charisma, Sonya’s military tech, Raiden’s godlike presence, and Johnny Cage’s hilariously out-of-place antics, Liu Kang tends to stand out the least for being a fairly generic martial artist in comparison. Even his fellow monk Kung Lao has an interesting gimmick in his razor-sharp hat to help him stand out. This is especially notable when Johnny Cage gets promoted to Earthrealm’s champion in MK11, and he has an engaging story as well as entertaining banter with most of the cast, including a younger version of Mortal Kombat‘s Johnny Cage.
With Liu Kang ascending to become Fire God Liu Kang in MK11 Aftermath‘s climax, it seems that he’s going to remake the timeline into a better, more benevolent one. However, the player doesn’t yet know what he will do with this power. It’s possible that Fire God Liu Kang could be the next big villain in Mortal Kombat 12, and Netherrealm may want to give the idea some thought. Not only could an evil Liu Kang with the powers of a god be an incredible enemy to fight, but it would also be fascinating for Liu Kang to have a villainous run that is entirely of his own accord with no outside influences. This could also signal a return of the long-absent Kai to Mortal Kombat, possibly to take up the noble role that his former ally has forsaken.
With the rest of Mortal Kombat‘s heroes being quite strong characters in their own right, another evil turn for Liu Kang could be a good move for the series. Following Mortal Kombat 11, every character’s story is wide open, and with Liu Kang’s newfound power, he could become the strongest villain in the series to date. Fire God Liu Kang may turn out to be a great hero in Mortal Kombat, but he may be more interesting as a great evil.
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