Jean-Claude Van Damme has quite the history with the Mortal Kombat franchise. Johnny Cage is very openly inspired by him, and Van Damme almost appeared in the original trilogy decades ago. Mortal Kombat 1 brings this journey full circle, as players can now get their first look at the Van Damme skin, following NetherRealm Studios’ Ed Boon appearing on Hot Ones.
Now, the Jean-Claude Van Damme skin might seem a little strange to some players, and even Van Damme fans. Rather than replicate Van Damme’s likeness fully, NetherRealm Studios is paying homage to the actor’s appearance in the movie Bloodsport. For those of you hoping to step into the arena as Van Damme, the good thing is at least that the seasoned martial artist is providing his vocal talents to the roster of Mortal Kombat 1 voice actors.
“When we made the very first game, our original intention was to make ‘Van Damme’ the arcade game. And again, Bloodsport was big and Universal Soldier [too],” Boon explains on a recent Hot Ones episode, regarding Van Damme’s history with the franchise. “We called his people and were like, ‘we want to make a game based on Van Damme’ […] we tried a number of times going back and forth with him, this time we hit the lottery, and we got him.”
Despite Van Damme eluding the franchise for years, Boon described Van Damme’s appearance as a “full circle” moment for Mortal Kombat fans. Whether there will be any other Van Damme outfits from his wider filmography remains to be confirmed, but an outfit based on his appearance in The Expendables 2 would be excellent. After all, his character in that movie is called Jean Vilain. Incredible.
It’d be great to see Van Damme’s likeness in the game, though. For now, that doesn’t seem likely, but we’ve always got hope for him to be part of the Mortal Kombat 1 characters roster beyond this Johnny Cage skin. Nevertheless, you can see Boon talk about the skin and more from 5:53, which we’ve handily put below for you.
MK1 is becoming a bit of a celebrity hotspot, as Van Damme isn’t the only one joining in on the fun. Megan Fox voices Nitara, a character that debuted back in MK Deadly Alliance. It’ll be quite the battle when the Mortal Kombat 1 release date arrives.