Mortal Kombat producer Todd Garner has taken to Twitter to attempt to clarify comments he made in an interview regarding Johnny Cage’s absence from the upcoming movie.
In an article published by Inverse on March 17th, Garner stated, “I feel like if I was getting to make a movie with a diverse cast, it felt weird to have a white actor, literally Johnny Cage, be the hero of the story.”
Now, Garner has tweeted out a story from Digital Spy that provides a completely different answer for Johnny Cage’s removal from the Mortal Kombat film.
Garner posted to Twitter, “I love Johnny Cage and can’t wait to do more with the character.”
In the article, which was posted on March 18th, but appears to be from the same press conference as the quotes from Inverse, Garner explains the reason Cage is not in the first movie is because they are saving him for a sequel.
Garner stated, “I want to make a sequel, and I’ve now got Johnny Cage, which hasn’t been used in the first one.”
He would go on to say, “So I have a big stick and carrot that maybe they’ll let me have a Johnny Cage real presence in the second one. And secondarily, when you think about Mortal Kombat, if you just think about the patina of the movie, it has a very Asian feel to it. And I early on felt uncomfortable having a white male lead kind of lead that charge in that movie.”
The producer then stated, “Is it a cop-out to all of a sudden have Ryan Reynolds, not him, but… As the lead felt a little disingenuous to me and super easy to bring him in, in a big bombastic fun way in the second.”
Digital Spy concluded their coverage with Warner stating, “And he deserves that as a character. I love these characters, so we thought hard about it.”
Warner would also respond to Mortal Kombat fans on Twitter questioning his comments about Johnny Cage.
In a back and forth with Twitter user Rodrigo Ybañez , Garner would address criticisms regarding his comments on why Johnny Cage wasn’t included in the film.
Garner responded, “Ah man that’s not what I want at all. I love JC. His story just didn’t fit into this story. If you see the movie and disagree. Hit me up.”
When challenged further on his comments, Garner stated, “It’s more about his story. I want to focus on that story. We have a story we love that we are telling and We didn’t want to short-shrift JC in that story.”
He then responded again saying, “No. He’s a huge character so we have somewhere totally new to go with the sequel. Think about how MCU adds characters. That’s it. We never want to rehash.”
When questioned why he didn’t clarify the comments in the interview, Garner said, “Because we did interviews for 6 hours in groups of 10 over zoom for 15 mins each. Not an excuse. Just facts. If anyone wants to get unfiltered answers. I’m here.”
In response to another fan, Garner would again claim the decision was made for story purposes and he wants to make Cage the focal point in a possible sequel.
He wrote, Not true. Just want to make sure his story is the focal point in the sequel… if there is one.”
And then to another one he stated, “I just felt like telling JC’s story (over all the others) didn’t feel right in the first movie. That being said, when you see the movie you will see we obviously have plans for JC.”
I would ask him to confirm if he did indeed say, “I feel like if I was getting to make a movie with a diverse cast, it felt weird to have a white actor, literally Johnny Cage, be the hero of the story.”
He responded, “I said that in the context of We felt that it didn’t feel right to start with JC’s story over the stories we chose. That being said, when you see the movie JC is locked and loaded.”
Garner would then respond to OAN host Jack Posobiec who tweeted, “Mortal Kombat producer confirms Johnny Cage removed from the movie because he is white.”
He responded writing, “After you see the movie you will see it’s not true.”
Then in response to Twitter user Crypto_Horsey, he wrote, “Yes. He is too important and too big a character to just jam into the story we told. We have a big story for him, but felt we had so much story to start with [in] terms of the rules, lore and history of MK.”
Garner would go on to confirm that Cage is set up in the upcoming Mortal Kombat film. He tweeted, “Absolutely. He’s set up.”
On the one hand, Garner does indeed double down that Cage wasn’t included because he was white, not only in the coverage by Digital Spy, but also in his response to me on Twitter.
On the other hand, he claims that Cage is set up for a sequel in the movie and he plans for him to have a significant role in a possible sequel.
But, again as reported by Digital Spy he stated, “So I have a big stick and carrot that maybe they’ll let me have a Johnny Cage real presence in the second one.” And that seems pretty clear that a sequel is not greenlit and that he’s still trying to convince people to give Cage a real presence in a possible sequel.
What do you make of Garner’s clarification? Do you believe him?