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|“||Instead you will learn... there are worst things then death.||„|
|~ Liu Kang fighting Jackson Briggs in Mortal Kombat X.|
|“||Consider to whom you speak.||„|
|~ Liu Kang to Johnny Cage.|
|“||I will be glad to win again.||„|
|~ Liu Kang to Ermac.|
Liu Kang also known as Dark or Revenant Liu Kang, is a major character in the Mortal Kombat series. Usually portrayed as a hero and often main protagonist of the series, starting in Mortal Kombat 9, he began going down a darker path. He serves as a major antagonist in Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11 and he returns as the main protagonist of its DLC Story Mode Aftermath.
Original Timeline and Background
He is the Mortal Kombat Champion of Earthrealm, and a protege of Raiden, the protector-god of Earthrealm. He was the main protagonist in Mortal Kombat 1-4, a cameo character in Deadly Alliance, an anti-villain in Deception and Armagadeon (as his corpse was revived by a corrupted Raiden and sent on rampage to destroy those who harmed Earthrealm), and one of 2 deuteragonists in vs DC Universe (alongside Batman).
In the majority of the games, he was on the side of good. But in Mortal Kombat 9, he takes an increasingly antagonistic role as he and Raiden take different views in regards to protecting Earthrealm. And in Mortal Kombat X, he appears as an antagonist (alongside Kung Lao, Sindel, Smoke, Kitana Stryker, Nightwolf and Kabal), having been revived as a revenant minion for Quan Chi and Shinnok, and served as the necromancer's right-hand man. His revenant form also serves as an antagonist serving Kronika, opposite his heroic past self.
Mortal Kombat (2011)
Though Liu Kang starts out as Raiden's protege and as a hero, the relationship between mentor and protege becomes increasingly strained as he watches Raiden continually fail in his duties as protector of Earthrealm. The first crack appears after Kung Lao's death at the hands of Outworld's ruler, Shao Kahn.
He accompanies Raiden to see the Elder Gods. They try to convince the Elder Gods to stop Shao Kahn, but the Elder Gods refuse to intervene. After returning from their meeting with the Elder Gods, they find to see most of the Earthrealm warriors killed off at Sindel's hands (Nightwolf sacrifices himself to stop Sindel's rampage, while Kitana lays mortally wounded). Kitana dies while holding Liu Kang's hand, and the Mortal Kombat champion becomes convinced that Raiden is slowly losing his grip on sanity; the fact that the thunder god sought Quan Chi's aid further strains this relationship.
After Raiden returns from the Netherrealm, finally correctly deciphering in what he must do to prevent Armageddon in the future. Liu Kang, being told that Shao Kahn must succeed in conquering Earthrealm, becomes enraged. Believing that the god of thunder has lost it, he attacks him out of anger. Raiden is forced to defend himself, but in the process, accidentally injures Kang with an lightning blast. The thunder god, aghast at what has happened, desperately begs Kang to forgive him, but even in his dying breaths, the former champion curses Raiden for his failures.
His Mortal Kombat (2011) ending shows him coming to believe that he should be made Earthrealm's protector over his mentor Raiden, and that the thunder god was more of a burden than an ally. In a one-match Mortal Kombat tournament, he defeats his former mentor and is made the new Protector of Earthrealm. Shang Tsung's ending in the same game shows the sorcerer with newly increased but out-of-control magical power being trained by Bo' Rai Cho after absorbing Shao Kahn's life essence and sorcery in order to defeat Liu Kang, who had descended into madness by becoming a power-hungry tyrant after usurping Raiden's position as protector of Earthrealm.
Mortal Kombat X Comics
Due to a contract made between Shao Kahn and Quan Chi - all souls of the deceased during the Outworld-Earthrealm War were sent straight to the Netherrealm. It is then revealed that Liu Kang's soul was used by Quan Chi to create an undead version of the former Mortal Kombat champion - and Kang actually appreciates his newfound status as a revenant due to the intense contempt he has for his former mentor Raiden.
He appears in the Netherrealm alongside Kung Lao and Kitana, questioning Quan Chi of their next course of action after Havik's failure to deliver them Shinnok's prized amulet. Kitana states they should go after it directly, though Lao reminds her that both Earthrealm and Outworld are on high alert after Havik's rampage, and suggests subterfuge using Shinnok's new acolyte D'Vorah, to aid them in stealing the exposed amulet.
Mortal Kombat X
25 years later, it is shown that Liu Kang is still an undead revenant serving Shinnok a fallen Elder God and ruler of the Netherrealm, and Quan Chi.
Although not shown directly, his fireball was shown shooting down two of the Special Forces' Chinook helicopters en route to stop Shinnok's forces from reaching Raiden's sky temple during the first chapter.
He was seen again immediately after the sixth chapter. He, along with the undead revenant versions of Kung Lao, Kitana, Smoke and Sindel become Quan Chi's primary enforcers (with the former champion becoming Quan Chi's right-hand man), and they go to the necromancer's fortress where D'Vorah would be arriving with Shinnok's amulet.
As they arrive at the fortress, a Special Forces team led by Jax ambush them, with the major (a former revenant turned to the side of good) intending to capture Quan Chi and take him to Earthrealm. Jax and Sareena even lament that Quan Chi's magic has turned the fallen heroes into killing machines, with some of them (Liu Kang, Kitana, Sindel, and to a smaller degree, Kung Lao) actually liking their newfound status as revenants. Kang himself expresses disdain for Jax, telling him that Raiden failed everybody, yet the major still follows the thunder god. Jax replies that Raiden did everything he could to save his realm and minimize losses. Their arguments reaching an impasse, the two former comrade-in-arms fight, but the former Earthrealm champion is defeated and Quan Chi is captured.
Liu Kang is then shown in at the end of Scorpion's chapter (ninth), where he (along with Kitana, Kung Lao, Sindel, and Smoke) pledge their allegiance to Shinnok, before proceeding to take Johnny Cage hostage and attacking the Sky Temple. After arriving at the Sky Temple, Kang taunts his former mentor, telling Raiden that it was his fault that he and Lao ended up becoming revenants. After Raiden defeats everyone including Lao, Kang recovers and proceeds to fight his former mentor. Before their fight, Raiden desperately tries to reach out to his former student by telling him that this is not his destiny. Kang retorts by sarcastically asking Raiden if he still has visions of the future. He then reminds Raiden of his death at the latter's hands. Raiden claims it was an accident that continues to torment him, but Kang thanks Raiden for "freeing" him and declares that he will help Shinnok overthrow the Elder Gods. The two fight, and Kang is defeated by his former mentor but not before badly injuring the thunder god in the duel.
He is then seen in Cassie Cage's chapter, where he and the revenants are discussing with D'Vorah on next steps after Earthrealm is destroyed, with Kitana suggesting an assault on the Elder Gods, while Liu Kang looks for the portal to the Heavens.
After Shinnok was defeated at the hands of Cassie Cage, it is shown that he and Kitana have become the Netherrealm's new rulers. Raiden, now bearing a menacing appearance (after he purified the Jinsei and became corrupted as a result), declared that he will not sit by and watch Earthrealm get invaded, but will actively hunt down and destroy those who have threatened Earthrealm in the past. To make his point, he tosses Shinnok's severed but still-alive head, warning that there will be "fates worth than death", leaving Liu Kang and Kitana to stare at the fallen Elder God's head.
His Mortal Kombat X ending indicates that without Shinnok's controlling power, the Netherrealm had fallen into chaos. Though not a sorcerer or a god, Liu Kang's skills as a former Shaolin monk were more than enough to beat the Netherrealm's oni into submission. After this, he assumes control over the realm, and ponders on the thought of conquering other realms. In Jason Voorhees' MKX ending, the former champion turned emperor of Netherrealm takes note of the zombie's killing spree, and offers him to take on even more bodies. But Jason, not liking this arrangement, simply responds by killing Kang - as Jason's loyalty lies only to his mother.
Mortal Kombat 11
The revenant Liu Kang has been further corrupted by Shinnok's influence and now plans to invade Earthrealm. After Raiden and the Special Forces destroy the cathedral in the Neatherrealm, he and the other revenants ally themselves with the keeper of time, Kronika, who plans on creating a new timeline without Raiden in it.
Thanks to Kronika's temporal anomalies, the younger Liu Kang prior to his death is brought to the present timeline alongside his friends and enemies. However, the past Kang remains heroic, as opposed to his villainous revenant self. The revenants of Kang and Kung Lao protect Geras from their heroic past selves, while he gathers energy from the Shaolin grotto.
After Raiden realizes Kronika's plan of keeping him and Liu Kang at odds, due to fearing their combined strength, the time keeper kidnaps the younger Kang so that his revenant counterpart can absorb his soul to fight Raiden once more, which keeps the hero alive but only barely. After which Kronika sends the powered up revenant to fight Raiden, though he is defeated by the thunder god. Raiden tells defeated revenant that he must conquer the darkness within him, as the revenant angrily states his former mentor will have to kill him once more, but the thunder god had other idea in mind: purify the revenant form of Liu Kang and make him a new god. Gods exist outside of normal laws of time, which means that with gods, past and present selves cannot exist together. As Raiden purified the revenant Liu Kang and possessed him with his godly powers, both Kangs merge with each other and became Fire God Liu Kang, effectively erasing the evil revenant out of existence, while providing his knowledge of Kronika's Keep.
This makes the revenant version of Liu Kang the final revenant to be redeemed (After Sub-zero, Scorpion, and Jax), as the revenants of Kung Lao, Kitana and Jade are destroyed and the rest are MIA.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath
Though he started out as Raiden's protege, he becomes increasingly impatient with the Thunder God's inaction, becoming convinced that his mentor is losing his grip on sanity. The two eventually come to blows, and Liu Kang is killed as a result, but not before the former Mortal Kombat champion calls his mentor out for his failures. This incident would continue to haunt Raiden for years to come. Little did he know that his Liu Kang's death would change his former protege for the worst.
Throughout Mortal Kombat X 's story mode, he becomes increasingly cynical and rude, thanks to his status as a revenant. Some of his intro quotes have him becoming more of a rude and self-centered warrior, is jealous of Johnny Cage taking his spot as Raiden's champion, and even sees himself as above Kung Lao. Revenant Liu Kang is arrogant and refuses to forgive Raiden for killing him after what happened Liu Kang believes that he would be a better protector then the thunder god. While he says Raiden is the blame for many of the heroes death and the change of timeline Liu Kang believes that he has been freed from Raiden's lies and thinks that he now knows the truth about the thunder god. After becoming the new ruler of the Netherrealm and his wishes to become champion again and become the new protector of Earthrealm. As a revenant who has given into his evil side Liu Kang has a desire for control this is strongly shown in his MKX ending by wanting to conquer more realms after taking control over the Netherrealm.
It is revealed that after his death at the hands of Raiden and his revival at the hands of Quan Chi Liu Kang has has more of an ego it is shown in his fights against his opponents. Although Liu Kang is correct that Raiden has ended up making huge terrible mistakes how ever Liu's anger blinds him making him unable to forgive Raiden. Liu Kang refuses to believe the thunder god when Raiden wishes to fix the mess he has made. Although his former friends are now his enemies Liu Kang still cares for Kitana during their fights with each other. Also while Liu Kang now believes that he is more superior to Kung Lao the two still think of each other as bothers. Liu Kang shows loyalty to Quan Chi in the story mode of MKX but despite that during his fights with the sorcerer Liu believes that he can defeat Quan Chi. Liu Kang shows this during his fights and after Quan Chi's death and Shinnok's decapitation, he believes he doesn't have to follow, listen or be loyal to the sorcerer anymore just like he believes he doesn't have to do the same thing with Raiden. Liu Kang wants to be his own master now rather than follow others and have them control him or give him commands.
As a revenant, Liu Kang only possesses his worst traits, worst characteristics and non of his good ones. He is overconfident and believes because he was champion that no one is better then him. Liu Kang also believes that he hasn't fallen instead Liu Kang believes he is free now. He thinks he has now seen the truth and thinks he is better then he was before. He seeks revenge on Raiden and kill anyone who has taken his role as champion. People he once considered his friends have now become his enemies. This is most apparant when his attack on Soyna results in her having to give her life; an action so vile that Cassie outright refuses to reason with him anymore. This version then crosses an even bigger line near the end where he uses the Dark Arts to take his past self's soul.
However, once revenant Liu Kang is assimilated with Raiden and the younger Kang, his past self's heroic psyche takes control and the evil of the revenant is no more.
- Revenant Kung Lao (destroyed by Fire God Liu Kang)
- Revenant Kitana (destroyed by Fire God Liu Kang)
- Revenant Jade (destroyed by Fire God Liu Kang)
- Quan Chi (killed by Scorpion)
- Brotherhood of Shadow
- Netherrealm Demons
- Revenant Kurtis Stryker (MIA)
- Revenant Smoke (MIA)
- Revenant Sindel (MIA)
- Revenant Kabal (MIA)
- Revenant Nightwolf (MIA)
- Shinnok (decapitated, regenerating)
- D'Varoh (MIA)
- Tarkata (formerly)
- Baraka (formerly)
- Old Kano (ceased to exist after Young Sonya killed his younger-self)
- Noob Saibot (MIA)
- Frost (Shutted Down by Raiden)
- Young Erron Black
- Skarlet (MIA)
- Kollector (MIA)
- Red Dragon
- Drahmin (killed by Quan Chi)
- Moloch (killed by Kitana)
- Reiko (killed by Havik)
- Havik (killed by Scorpion)
- Young Kano (from original timeline, killed by Young Sonya)
- Young Sektor (from original timeline, killed by Old Kano via self-destruct detonation)
- Young Cyrax (from original timeline, formerly, later shutted down)
- Young Kabal (from original timeline, MIA)
- Young Scorpion (form original timeline, formerly)
- Earthrealm heroes
- Raiden (currently retired mortal advisor to young Liu Kang)
- Elder Gods
- Old Scorpion
- Old Sub-Zero
- Bo' Rai Cho (former teacher)
- Li Mei
- Old Sonya Blade (sacrificed herself)
- Old Johnny Cage
- Kotal Kahn
- Special Forces
- Old Erron Black
- Old Jax Briggs
- Takeda Takahashi
- Jacqui Briggs
- Cassie Cage
- Kung Jin
- Shao Kahn
- Young Liu Kang (from the original timeline, currently a god)
- Young Kung Lao (from the original timeline, current leader of the Shaolin monks)
- Young Kitana (from the original timeline, current empress of Outworld)
- Young Johnny Cage (from original timeline)
- Young Jax Briggs (from original timeline)
- Young Scorpion from original timeline, current leader of the Shirai Ryu)
- Young Sonya Blade (from original timeline)
- Despite seeing like that all the revenants are unwillingly evil thanks to being under the control of Quan Chi and Shinnok, according to some of Liu's quotes and other heroes' quotes about him, Kang (along with Kitana) seems to be willingly evil as he tells Raiden that he will help his Lord destroy the Elder Gods and thanks him for "freeing him". In his Arcade ending after Shinnok's defeat, Liu Kang can be seen to have converted back to his human form and become ruler of the Netherrealm regardless of what variation he was chosen, implying that he indeed was willingly evil. This alone shows what an impact the death of him at the end of MK 9s story mode had. The latest game outright conforms this with him eventfully becoming irrdeemable by asorbing the soul of his past self, and trying to kill Past Raiden.
- In one his interactions with himself, he says "the creator mocks me with duplicates?" which could be a nod to the series' creator, Ed Boon, but as his clone replies "the creator does not give a whit about you", something which is clearly opposite of Boon's opinion on Liu Kang, it could be that Liu was either referring to Raiden or more likely: one of the Elder Gods.