Personally, Scorpion from Mortal Kombat has always been one of my favorite video game characters of all time. One of the original seven playable characters in the first Mortal Kombat video game, Scorpion is a wraith from the Netherrealm. He was once a human named Hanzo Hasashi, and he was a part of the Shirai Ryu clan. He was ended by the original Sub-Zero, who was a member of the rival clan called the Lin Kuei. He was resurrected by the sorcerer Quan Chi, and became Scorpion.
Neither good nor villainous, Scorpion has always been labeled as a true neutral throughout the many different conflicts within the Mortal Kombat series. While he isn’t strictly villainous, he also has his own motivations and goals that cause him to have direct interactions with every major character in the series.
Scorpion is undeniably a cool character, and there’s a reason why he’s the de facto mascot of the franchise. Unfortunately, despite how much I love the character, there’s a lot about him that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. For example, why was so loyal to Quan Chi for so long? Also, what was up with his portrayal in the Mortal Kombat movies? These are only some of the things about Scorpion that make no sense, and I’ll be going over twenty on this list.
Scorpion is the mascot of the Mortal Kombat series. Some fans may argue he and Sub-Zero share the moniker of series mascot, but Scorpion is featured more heavily in promos. Ed Boon, the co-creator of Mortal Kombat, has even said that Scorpion is his favorite.
Despite all this favoritism, Scorpion is never really all that important in the main plot of the series. He may be on the cover of every Mortal Kombat game; however, he would rarely have a major role in the story. He usually has his own side-story, yet that’s separate from the main narrative. More recent titles have made more of an effort in making Scorpion a vital player in the story, though he still overshadowed by the heroes.
Scorpion was somehow missing in the original Mortal Kombat 3 arcade game, despite being the face of the franchise. The reason is a little complicated. The characters in the original MK games were portrayed by live-action actors. One of these actors, Daniel Pesina, portrayed the characters Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion.
Before Mortal Kombat 3 went into development, Pesina did an ad for a different game as Johnny Cage. This got him fired from Midway, the publishers of Mortal Kombat. All of Pesina’s characters didn’t return in the third installment, except Sub-Zero, who was given a complete redesign. There was still no in-game reason why Scorpion wasn’t in the game, and he was eventually added in the upgraded version of 3 called Ultimate.
I’ve stated that Scorpion is neutral within the greater Mortal Kombat conflict. That is true, but it is kind of muddled throughout the franchise.
He looks villainous with his flaming skull, and his fire powers literally come from the Inferno. He is also portrayed as a straight up villain in several of the spin-offs, including the live-action movies and the cartoon. He was even on the Forces of Darkness side in the final battle in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. This is also not including his many years as Quan Chi’s servant, and helping Netherrealm take control of Earth. You know what? Maybe Scorpion isn’t as neutral as they claim.
Scorpion was essentially just a yellow ninja in the original games, but he evolved through the course of the series. He eventually started adopting more samurai-like qualities to his design and persona. His Mortal Kombat: Deception design was more samurai than ninja, honestly. Recent games have returned him to his more ninja roots, though there are still samurai elements in his appearance and move set.
Since the Shirai Ryu clan is fictional, I guess Scorpion could be anything really. It's just that the games don’t specify what he really is that makes it confusing. To be fair, there are some people in the world that were both samurais and ninjas, so I guess Scorpion could be one of them.
The first eight Mortal Kombat games were published by video game developers Midway Games Inc. Midway was also the publisher of the popular NBA Jam series from the 90s. Since Midway owned the rights to the Mortal Kombat characters, the developers of NBA Jam Tournament Edition decided to include some of them as secret characters. Scorpion was one of them.
The Mortal Kombat characters were quickly taken out of the game, probably because the NBA didn’t want to be associated with a series like MK. There is an alternate timeline where Scorpion, a ninja from the fiery depths of the underworld, can play basketball against the most popular athletes of the 90s.
Mortal Kombat without Scorpion is absurd; just look at the original Mortal Kombat 3. Scorpion without his iconic spear is equally absurd; how else will he be able to get opponents and yell out “Get over here!”?
Of course, Scorpion is in the first live-action Mortal Kombat movie, yet his spear was given a complete overhaul. A very unnecessary overhaul; the film made Scorpion’s spear a living thing. It was now a snake that literally comes from within Scorpion’s palm. There was no reason for the filmmakers to change Scorpion’s spear, unless somehow that was cheaper for them. I don’t know, I’m don’t make films for a living.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was a crazy crossover that mostly worked, excluding the toned down ends. The crossover allowed MK characters like Scorpion and Sub-Zero to face off against beloved superheroes from the DC Universe. The in-game reasoning behind how normal dudes like Batman and Sonya Blade can fight against Superman is that there’s an entity that is fluctuating the powers of the characters.
Most of the Mortal Kombat characters are also capable of using magic, and Superman is weak against magic. Despite all these handicaps against Superman, Superman should still be totally adept enough to take down Scorpion. Yet, somehow, Scorpion still won in the story mode. I guess Scorpion had really strong magic powers.
Kenshi is a blind swordsman who fights with the other heroes on Earthrealm. When his son became a target for the nefarious Red Dragon Organization, he had a lot of different options to keep his son safe. He is acquainted with Raiden and the Earthrealm Special Forces; either one of those things would have been adequate in protecting Kenshi’s son.
Instead of going with either of those two options, Kenshi instead left his son with the recently resurrected Scorpion. Scorpion may be an honorable person deep down; however, he was also someone who tried helping Netherrealm conquer Earth. Doesn’t matter how close Kenshi and Scorpion were as buds, Kenshi shouldn’t have left his son with a former spawn from the underworld.
While Scorpion is generally portrayed as neutral (or straight up villainous), there was a brief moment within the Mortal Kombat series where he was the universe’s only hope. When the Dragon King Onaga was reborn within Reptile’s body, the Elder Gods needed a champion to stop him. It was essentially up to Scorpion to save all the realms, but he was beaten to the punch by the warrior Shujinko.
After Armageddon, it is never brought up again that Scorpion was, for a hot second, the Elder Gods' chosen champion. It is never elaborated why the Elder Gods chose Scorpion of all people to be their champion, especially since he is such a loose cannon.
Scorpion started as a normal human, until he was ended by the original Sub-Zero before the events of the first Mortal Kombat game. He is then resurrected as a wraith. The games don’t really go into detail what kind of powers wraiths have, or if they even age. Most of the main heroes of the 2011 version of the Mortal Kombat game became wraiths by the end. In the sequel, Mortal Kombat X, they remain wraiths, and they don’t seem to have aged at all. So does that mean Scorpion was an immortal as a wraith? If that’s the case, why would anyone not want to be a wraith? Oh yeah, you become mind controlled by a villainous wizard.
This is the thing about Scorpion that probably makes the least amount of sense. As I’ve written throughout this piece, Scorpion is kind of the wildcard within the Mortal Kombat universe. He is neither good nor villainous, he simply does whatever he sets his sights on. When the series was rebooted in the 2011 Mortal Kombat game, it is established that the sorcerer Quan Chi resurrected Scorpion. Scorpion has since been following Quan Chi’s orders up until he turned back into a human in Mortal Kombat X.
There can be an argument made that Scorpion remained loyal to Quan Chi for so long because he was mind controlled. I personally doubt it, since Scorpion seems to have enough free will to rebel, and simply didn’t.
Scorpion and Sub-Zero got pretty gypped in the first Mortal Kombat movie. Despite being the undisputed mascots of the franchise, their only role in the first film was being Shang Tsung’s henchmen. They didn’t talk, and they only served to add in some extra fights in the movie. Scorpion didn’t even get to fight against Liu Kang, the protagonist, and he was instead stuck fighting Johnny Cage.
It is never explained how exactly Shang Tsung was able to take control of Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Did he end them, and turned them into undead wraiths for him to control? Or was it just simple mind control?
Like, I get Scorpion is supposed to be an undead wraith, who may or may not be immortal. Nonetheless, it is never stated in any of the games that he can’t be ended. In fact, he seems completely capable of being ended within the context of the games. So when Scorpion is defeated by Johnny Cage in the first Mortal Kombat movie, he blows up. That should be the end of him, yet somehow he comes back in the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. The how and why is never explained. I presume the assumption was that since Scorpion is part of the undead, he can always come back. However, that is never stated directly in the games, so how would we know?
In the first Injustice: Gods Among Us video game by Netherrealm, Scorpion was added in as a playable character through DLC. In his intro against every opponent, he is randomly summoned to the DC universe. In Scorpion’s arcade mode ending, it is revealed that he was summoned to the DC universe by Trigon, the super powerful demon and father of Raven.
It is assumed that Scorpion being in the DC universe is all not canon; it’s not even canon in the Injustice universe. It also doesn’t make sense for Trigon to summon Scorpion all the way from his own universe, when there were literally more villainous options for him.
Scorpion was chosen by the Elder Gods to be their champion in Mortal Kombat: Deception. His goal was to stop the Dragon King Onaga, and he was blessed with the powers to do it. So why didn’t he do it?
The main story mode in Deception shows that Shujinko being confronted by Scorpion at the very end. The two fight, with Shujinko somehow prevailing against the ELDER GODS’ CHAMPION. It is assumed that Shujinko prevented Scorpion from accomplishing his goal, yet that still didn’t make sense. Shujinko didn’t end Scorpion; Scorpion was still completely capable of ending Onaga. However, somehow it was canonically Shujinko who defeated Onaga. Despite failing to stop Onaga, Scorpion was still “rewarded” with the resurrection of his clan.
After aiding the Elder Gods in Mortal Kombat: Deception, Scorpion was rewarded with the resurrection of his clan. The downside is that his clan was reborn as wraiths like himself. This angered Scorpion, so he decided to take his revenge on the Elder Gods by trying to stop their plans to prevent Armageddon. Scorpion set his sights on Taven, one of two warriors with the power to stop Armageddon.
It is never said how exactly Scorpion knew to look for Taven, especially since Taven was in deep slumber for centuries before the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Maybe Scorpion learned it during his time as the Elder Gods' champion, though that’s kind of stretching it.
Scorpion is labeled as a neutral within the Mortal Kombat series. In spite of that, he is more often or not more of a hindrance towards the heroes of the franchise. Not only did he end the original Sub-Zero, but he also tries to end the second Sub-Zero multiple times. He used to be under the control of the malicious Quan Chi, and fought against Earthrealm during the Netherrealm invasion. He then eliminates Quan Chi as revenge, despite the protest of Earth’s protectors.
The Earthrealm warriors should really just put an end to Scorpion so that they don’t have to deal with his shenanigans. He rarely helps them, so he is really no use to them.
Sub-Zero’s clan, the Lin Kuei, are the rivals of Scorpion’s clan, the Shirai Ryu. Sub-Zero eliminated Scorpion during the events of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. Scorpion was resurrected as a wraith, and gets his revenge on Sub-Zero in the original Mortal Kombat game. The name Sub-Zero would then be passed onto the original’s younger brother.
The rivalry between Scorpion and the current Sub-Zero is kind of confusing. Some of the early games say that Scorpion felt bad for ending Sub-Zero’s brother, so he decided to be his guardian. Then there are other times when Scorpion hates the current Sub-Zero just as much as the old Sub-Zero. Mortal Kombat X makes it seem as if the two have finally buried the hatchet, though who knows how long that’ll last.
Scorpion’s iconic catchphrase, “Get Over Here!”, is kind of perplexing. He yells it every time he stabs his opponent with his spear and pulls them closer to him. The strange thing is that once the series started including voice acting, Scorpion’s voice when he yells his catchphrase doesn’t match his main voice.
The reason why is because Scorpion’s “Get Over Here!” is voiced by none other than Ed Boon, co-creator of Mortal Kombat. Boon continues to do voice work for the iconic line, even though Scorpion himself would have a totally different voice actor doing his main voice. That explains the behind the scenes reasoning why Scorpion appears to have two voices, but there’s never any in-game reason for the discrepancy.
Scorpion is a cool character and has some of the best moments within the story of the Mortal Kombat series. Yet in spite of all that, Scorpion is so gosh darn gullible. He was Quan Chi’s obedient servant for years, even though it was clear that the sorcerer was manipulating him. He falsely believed Sub-Zero ended his family and clan. It was also super obvious from the beginning that Quan Chi was the true architect of the end of Scorpion’s family and clan.
Anyone could have put two-two together and would have realized Quan Chi was totally lying to Scorpion. However, somehow Scorpion believed in every word that Quan Chi has told him. I love Scorpion, but man, he is one gullible ninja (or samurai).