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Instead you will learn... there are worst things then death.
~ Liu Kang fighting Jackson Briggs in Mortal Kombat X.
Consider to whom you speak.
~ Liu Kang to Johnny Cage.
I will be glad to win again.
~ Liu Kang to Ermac.
Liu Kang is a major character in the Mortal Kombat series.
Original Timeline and Background
He is the Mortal Kombat Champion of Earthrealm, and a protege of Raiden, the protector-god of Earthrealm. He was the main protagonist in Mortal Kombat 1-4, a cameo character in Deadly Alliance, an anti-villain in Deception and Armagadeon (as his corpse was revived by a corrupted Raiden and sent on rampage to destroy those who harmed Earthrealm), and one of 2 deurtagonists in vs DC Universe (alongside Batman).
In the majority of the games, he was on the side of good. But in Mortal Kombat 9, he takes an increasingly antagonistic role as he and Raiden take different views in regards to protecting Earthrealm. And in Mortal Kombat X, he appears as an antagonist (alongside Kung Lao, Sindel, Smoke, Kitana Stryker, Nightwolf and Kabal), having been revived as a revenant minion for Quan Chi, and serving as the necromancer's right-hand man. He can be considered as one of the main antagonists in the next Mortal Kombat game.
Mortal Kombat (2011)
Though Liu Kang starts out as Raiden's protege and as a hero, the relationship between mentor and protege becomes increasingly strained as he watches Raiden continually fail in his duties as protector of Earthrealm. The first crack appears after Kung Lao's death at the hands of Outworld's ruler, Shao Kahn.
He accompanies Raiden to see the Elder Gods. They try to convince the Elder Gods to stop Shao Kahn, but the Elder Gods refuse to intervene. After returning from their meeting with the Elder Gods, they find to see most of the Earthrealm warriors killed off at Sindel's hands (Nightwolf sacrifices himself to stop Sindel's rampage, while Kitana lays mortally wounded). Kitana dies while holding Liu Kang's hand, and the Mortal Kombat champion becomes convinced that Raiden is slowly losing his grip on sanity; the fact that the thunder god sought Quan Chi's aid further strains this relationship.
After Raiden returns from the Netherrealm, finally correctly deciphering in what he must do to prevent Armageddon in the future. Liu Kang, being told that Shao Kahn must succeed in conquering Earthrealm, becomes enraged that the God of Thunder has lost it and attacks him out of anger. Raiden is forced to defend himself, but in the process, accidentally injures Liu Kang with an lightning blast. The thunder god, aghast at what has happened, desperately begs Liu Kang to forgive him, but even in his dying breaths, the former champion curses Raiden for his failures.
His Mortal Kombat (2011) ending shows him coming to believe that he should be made Earthrealm's Protector over his mentor Raiden, and that the thunder god was more of a burden than an ally. In a one-match Mortal Kombat tournament, he defeats his former mentor and is made the new Protector of Earthrealm. Shang Tsung's ending in the same game shows the sorcerer with newly increased but out-of-control magical power being trained by Bo' Rai Cho after absorbing Shao Kahn's life essence and sorcery in order to defeat Liu Kang, who had descended into madness by becoming a power-hungry tyrant after usurping Raiden's position as Protector of Earthrealm.
Mortal Kombat X (comic series)
Due to a contract made between Shao Kahn and Quan Chi - all souls of the deceased during the Outworld-Earthrealm War were sent straight to the Netherrealm. It is then revealed that Liu Kang's soul was used by Quan Chi to create an undead version of the former Mortal Kombat champion - and Liu Kang actually appreciates his newfound status as a Revenant due to the intense contempt he has for his former mentor Raiden.
He appears in the Netherrealm alongside Kung Lao and Kitana, questioning Quan Chi of their next course of action after Havik's failure to deliver them Shinnok's prized amulet. Kitana states they should go after it directly, though Kung Lao reminds her that both Earthrealm and Outworld are on high alert after Havik's rampage, and suggests subterfuge using Shinnok's new acolyte D'Vorah, to aid them in stealing the exposed amulet.
Mortal Kombat X
Twenty-five years later, it is shown that Liu Kang is still an undead revenant serving Shinnok a fallen Elder God and ruler of the Netherrealm, and Quan Chi.
Although not shown directly, his fireball was shown shooting down two of the Special Forces' Chinook helicopters en route to stop Shinnok's forces from reaching Raiden's Sky Temple during the first chapter.
He was seen again immediately after the sixth chapter. He, along with the undead revenant versions of Kung Lao, Kitana, Smoke and Sindel become Quan Chi's primary enforcers (with the former champion becoming Quan Chi's right-hand man), and they go to the necromancer's fortress where D'Vorah would be arriving with Shinnok's amulet.
As they arrive at the fortress, a Special Forces team led by Jax ambush them, with Jax (a former revenant turned to the side of good) intending to capture Quan Chi and take him to Earthrealm; Jax and Sareena even lament that Quan Chi's magic has turned the fallen heroes into killing machines, with some of them (Liu Kang, Kitana, Sindel, and to a smaller degree, Kung Lao) actually liking their newfound status as revenants. Liu Kang himself expresses disdain for Jax, telling him that Raiden failed everybody yet Jax still follows the Thunder God. Jax replies that Raiden did everything he could to save his realm and minimize losses. Their arguments reaching an impasse, the two former comrade-in-arms fight, but the former Earthrealm champion is defeated and Quan Chi is captured.
Liu Kang is then shown in at the end of Scorpion's chapter (ninth), where he (along with Kitana, Smoke, Sindel and Kung Lao) pledge their allegiance to Shinnok, before proceeding to take Johnny Cage hostage and attacking the Sky Temple. After arriving at the Sky Temple, Liu Kang taunts his former mentor, telling Raiden that it was his fault that he and Kung Lao ended up becoming revenants. After Raiden defeats everyone including Kung Lao, Liu Kang recovers and proceeds to fight his former mentor. Before their fight, Raiden desperately tries to reach out to his former student by telling him that this is not his destiny. Liu Kang retorts by sarcastically asking Raiden if he still has visions of the future. He then reminds Raiden of his death at the latter's hands. Raiden claims it was an accident that continues to torment him, but Liu Kang thanks Raiden for "freeing" him and declares that he will help Shinnok overthrow the Elder Gods. The two fight, and Liu Kang is defeated by his former mentor but not before badly injuring Thunder God in the duel.
He is then seen in Cassie Cage's chapter, where he and the revenants are discussing with D'Vorah on next steps after Earthrealm is destroyed, with Kitana suggesting an assault on the Elder Gods, while Liu Kang looks for the portal to the Heavens.
After Shinnok was defeated at the hands of Cassie Cage, it is shown that he and Kitana have become the Netherrealm's new rulers. Raiden, now bearing a menacing appearance (after he purified the Jinsei and became corrupted as a result), declared that he will not sit by and watch Earthrealm get invaded, but will actively hunt down and destroy those who have threatened Earthrealm in the past. To make his point, he tosses Shinnok's severed but still-alive head, warning that there will be "fates worth than death", leaving Liu Kang and Kitana to stare at the fallen Elder God's head.
His Mortal Kombat X ending indicates that without Shinnok's controlling power, the Netherrealm had fallen into chaos. Though not a sorcerer or a god, Liu Kang's skills as a former Shaolin monk were more than enough to beat the Netherrealm's oni into submission. After this, he assumes control over the realm, and ponders on the thought of conquering other realms. In Jason Voorhees' MKX ending, the former champion turned emperor of Netherrealm takes note of the zombie's killing spree, and offers him to take on even more bodies. But Jason, not liking this arrangement, simply responds by killing Liu Kang - as Jason's loyalty lies only to his mother.
Though he started out as Raiden's protege, he becomes increasingly impatient with the Thunder God's inaction, becoming convinced that his mentor is losing his grip on sanity. The two eventually come to blows, and Liu Kang is killed as a result, but not before the former Mortal Kombat champion calls his mentor out for his failures. This incident would continue to haunt Raiden for years to come.
Throughout Mortal Kombat X 's story mode, he becomes increasingly cynical, and rude, thanks to his status as a revenant. Some of his intro quotes have him becoming more of a rude and self-centered warrior, sneering at Kung Jin's homosexuality, is jealous of Johnny Cage taking his spot as Raiden's champion, and even sees himself as above Kung Lao.
Liu Kang has conquered the Netherrealm in Mortal Kombat X.
Liu Kang and Kitana as the new rulers of the Netherrealm.
Revenants Liu Kang, Kitana, Sindel, Kung Lao and Smoke.
Quan Chi, Liu Kang and Kung Lao.
Liu Kang and Quan Chi.
Liu Kang, Kitana and Sindel's revenant spirits.
Liu Kang, Kitana and Kung Lao in the Mortal Kombat X comic book series.