So, not to put too fine a point on it, I was right.
REBIRTH was an independently-produced fan film (albeit produced by film professionals) made with the goal of selling Warner Bros., who owns the MK property, on this director’s vision for their long-in-development franchise reboot.
The tl,dr is “I called in favors and most of this was done for free.” Still, an interesting read, and worth checking out to hear the director make his case. He said one thing that I found particularly reassuring, and hoped would be the case, answering the concern that this real-world grounding was a “betrayal” of the supernatural basis of the property.
From the article:
I know there’s a lot of concern about the mysticism and the special powers and all that kind of stuff. Well, like I said, this is really designed — the short so far is really designed like a prologue to the movie. Now, in a movie version, I am going to have that mysticism there, but it has to be done in a very tasteful way. I wouldn’t like it too campy or too cheesy. I know this is a weird analogy, but it’s the best one I can think of right now. It’s kind of like when in Harry Potter, there’s two universes that coexist with each other. There’s the real world, and then you get on the train and then you go to Hogwart’s, and that’s where all the magic is.
I had my fingers crossed that something like this might be the case — as he points out, this is just a prologue, and I could see it being a very interesting second-act reversal when the portal to Outworld opens and we discover that there’s more to this tournament then just a bunch of human psychotics. And Sub-Zero and Raiden would be difficult to justify if they were planning to stick solely to real-world origins for the characters. So it’s good to hear this confirmed.
I hope he gets his shot at it.