Reptile is one of the most changed fighters in the 2021 Mortal Kombat movie. Here’s how the Saurian Syzoth is originally depicted in the video games.
Reptile is one of the Mortal Kombat fighters who went through the most drastic changes for the movie. Simon McQuoid’s 2021 live-action adaptation of the Mortal Kombat video game franchise is jam-packed with iconic characters, including the Shokan prince Goro, the vampire Nitara, and the half-Edenian, half-Tarkatan Mileena. Although the plot of the movie focuses on Cole Young and his fellow human allies, some other iconic figures also play an important role. For instance, Scorpion avenges his family by defeating Sub-Zero, and Reptile manages to hurt Kano’s eye before succumbing to the latter’s chest-piercing fatality.
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There are many characters that owe their origin to a “palette swap” of Scorpion and Sub-Zero in the Mortal Kombat video games, such as Ermac (red), Rain (purple), and Noob Saibot (an all-black Bi-Han after being resurrected following his death as the first Sub-Zero). The first color-swapped fighter to appear in the franchise is Reptile, who was hidden in the very first game as a secret, unplayable figure. With each following appearance, Reptile increasingly distanced himself from the powerful pair of Scorpion and Sub-Zero and became more and more animalistic.
Reptile’s physical appearance in the 2021 Mortal Kombat movie is that of an oversized lizard. He retains his ability to turn invisible and spit corrosive acid, but he no longer wears any garment or wields any weapon that remotely helps him resemble a ninja. This version of the character also relies more on his agility and stealth rather than any kind of martial art or combat technique, further turning him into a more feral being.
Although the Mortal Kombat reboot portrays Reptile as a brutish monster, it does allude to his humanoid species. Before he appears on screen for the first time, Shang Tsung tells Mileena “send the reptilian Syzoth.” In the video games, Reptile’s real name is actually Syzoth, and the name of his race is the Saurians. The Saurians are the humanoid descendants of the dinosaurs, and Reptile’s main motivation is to find and protect the last of his kind after the Saurians are driven close to extinction. Although Earthrealm is their homeworld, the Saurians settled in the realm of Zaterra.
Another notable member of Reptile’s species is Khameleon — who, like Reptile, first appeared as a grey color-swap of Kitana — and possibly, Chameleon, who can shapeshift into every ninja color-swap character. The 2021 movie does a good job setting up the vast universe found in the video games, but few of the characters’ origins are meaningfully explored with real depth. Hopefully, Reptile, aka Syzoth, returns to avenge the Saurians in a future Mortal Kombat sequel.
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