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Last month Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Kevin Tancharoen on the eve of the release of his web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy. We recently caught up with Tancharoen to talk about the success of the series, what the future holds for Mortal Kombat: Legacy and how he’d also like to take a stab at another iconic 80s franchise.
The web series, which bowed in conjunction with the highly anticipated release of the updated video game, was released online by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution exclusively with gaming entertainment site Machinima.com and gives fans a look at the origins of some of their favorite iconic Mortal Kombat characters. Check out our previous interview here and the follow-up discussion below.
As a fan of Mortal Kombat, writer/director Tancharoen knew going into the web series that different characters were going to call for different approaches since some of them hail from Earthrealm, some from Netherrealm and some from Outworld, which can make it difficult when trying to get storylines to intersect in a web series. “I knew when making this series I had to balance the stories between realism and fantasy because that’s the nature of the Mortal Kombat world that these characters exist in. I felt like Legacy had to start off in the real world, much like the approach we took with the initial short film I did before this series, because that was what the fans responded to initially. I think they were expecting it so it was a natural way to open up the series.”
“Since I’m trying to stay true to these iconic characters, the only time I’ve been comfortable in taking the story to the fantasy world is when it’s called for. Jax and Sonya are very real-world characters so it wouldn’t make sense to put them in a different realm. But for characters like Kitana and Mileena, who both have roots in this other world, we knew we had to approach their story differently so that’s why we used animation to tell their story,” added Tancharoen.
And even though Mortal Kombat: Legacy has been highly successful since its online debut in April, there are of course the detractors online who have picked apart Tancharoen’s efforts. The director addressed some of the criticisms he’s faced since the web series premiered in April.
“My main goal since I started Legacy has been to tell stories about these characters in a way that feels organic to their mythology,” explained Tancharoen, “but with anything you do these days, there are such avid Mortal Kombat fans out who pick up on every little thing so there’s no way they will ever be 100% happy. Honestly, though, I feel like you aren’t doing well unless someone out there is complaining, and I like to open up the discussion on what we can do to tell these stories better in the future. I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone, and so I’m still just doing the best that I can to tell these stories because at the end of the day I’m just as big of a fan and I want to do the Mortal Kombat mythology justice, too.”
With only a few episodes left to the first season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy ahead of him, Tancharoen addressed what the future holds for both the web series and the potential of a feature film adaptation as follows: “We are definitely talking about the future of Mortal Kombat: Legacy now; whether it’s a feature film or another season of the web series, I definitely think we’ll be coming back for more. The thing is, there are so many interesting characters in Mortal Kombat that I actually feel like we could do both at the same time and wouldn’t be reaching to try and tell good stories either. But I certainly wouldn’t want to try and cram too many characters into a feature film either- Mortal Kombat 2 tried to do that and I think the movie suffered for it.”
“We are planning a DVD/Blu-Ray release for the first season later this year, but I don’t have an official date yet. But I think those sales combined with our web series traffic will be what helps us decide if we can move forward with a feature film,” added Tancharoen.
And even though working on Mortal Kombat: Legacy has kept the director very busy, there is another iconic 80s franchise that Tancharoen would love to tackle in the future as well that is centered around some pizza-loving heroes in a half-shell.
“I would absolutely love to do a live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I loved the first movie so much- in fact, I just rewatched it a few weeks ago, and I forgot just how dark and almost disturbing parts of the movie are. You’ve got kids in gangs that are smoking, stealing and running away from their parents. Then there’s so much violence going on with Shredder, the Turtles, the Foot Clan; and don’t forget there’s even brainwashing, too. You don’t see those kinds of themes in ‘kids’ movies anymore so I’d love to bring that feeling back to that franchise. I heard they haven’t finished a script yet so that would be something amazing for me to get involved with if I could. I love those stories,” said Tancharoen.
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