Joe Taslim, the actor who portrays Bi-Han/Sub-Zero in the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot, has hinted at an appearance of classic MK fighter Noob Saibot. The film serves as both an adaptation of the wildly popular and critically acclaimed video game series of the same name, and also a reboot of the original Mortal Kombat films from the 90s. The film is directed by Simon McQuoid (in his feature directorial debut) and produced by horror master James Wan. While the film will still revolve around the titular tournament, 2021’s Mortal Kombat will not directly adapt the story from any particular game in the series – opting for a mix and match of several games while also introducing new characters and story beats.
The cryomancer Sub-Zero is one of the most iconic Mortal Kombat fighters and – along with Scorpion – serves as the franchise’s mascot. Two characters have donned the mantle in the MK mythology: brothers Bi-Han and Kuai Liang. Bi-Han was killed during the events of the first Mortal Kombat game and was eventually resurrected as Noob Saibot (the name being taken from MK creators Ed Boon and John Tobias’ last names spelled backward) by the necromancer Quan Chi. Noob Saibot’s initial appearance in Mortal Kombat II had him as a hidden, unplayable fighter. However, the character grew a strong fanbase amongst players and eventually became a staple in the series.
In a feature by Collider, Taslim hinted at a possible appearance of Noob Saibot. The actor remained coy and vague but dropped a few notable clues that point toward Sub-Zero’s transformation. Taslim noted how Noob Saibot’s creation is well-known among those familiar with the MK series, saying, “It’s not a secret that Quan Chi took the humanity inside of Bi-Han and turned him into Noob Saibot.” The actor pointed out that a big part of his portrayal of Sub-Zero plays with the balance between the character’s humanity and his more villainous side, which he called “pitch black.” It’s an interesting choice of words, and arguably more canonically descriptive of Noob Saibot than Bi-Han.
If the reboot was completely accurate to the canon of the games, Bi-Han wouldn’t become Noob Saibot until a theoretical sequel. However, the film has made several notable changes from its img material. The film’s central protagonist, Cole Young, is a newcomer to the series. MK fan-favorite and mainstay Johnny Cage seems like he will not appear in the film. Sub-Zero has also been subject to some changes, with hints that the film will alter Sub-Zero’s backstory and the nature of his rivalry with Scorpion.
An appearance by Noob Saibot wouldn’t be completely out of left field. The choice to have the film’s version of Sub-Zero be Bi-Han and not Kuai Liang (who is usually the version of Sub-Zero that appears in the games) certainly hints toward the transformation. Bi-Han’s destiny to be killed and resurrected has stayed consistent across MK‘s multiple timelines – and the character’s appearances as Noob Saibot far outweigh his appearances as Sub-Zero. Taslim’s teases are certainly interesting, and we’ll eventually get a solid answer about a potential Noob Saibot appearance when Mortal Kombat releases in April.