Villain Overview
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You will die, mortal!
~ Shao Kahn taunting a Mortal Kombat fighter before the fight begins.
Don't make me laugh.
~ Shao Kahn
Bow to me!
~ Shao Kahn
That was pathetic!
~ Shao Kahn
I am Shao Kahn! Konqueror of worlds! You will taste no victory!
~ Shao Kahn to Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat (2011).
~ Shao Kahn to Raiden

Shao Kahn (also known as The Konqueror) is the main antagonist of the Mortal Kombat series. He is the omnipotent emperor of Outworld. He also appears as the main antagonist in Mortal Kombat II, 3, and 9, as well as the secondary antagonist in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and the combined main antagonist in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.


Pre-Mortal Kombat

Unmasked Shao Kahn on His Throne

Shao Kahn but without his signature helmet yet, already became the new Emperor of Outworld.

Shao Kahn was originally a royal advisor to the first emperor of Outworld known as Onaga the Dragon King, and that position was somewhat similar the celestial title "Protector" and the duty to the specific realm. But soon, consumed by his lust for power, Shao Kahn poisoned his former king and assumed the throne, turning the once unified and glorious realm of Outworld into an extremely dangerous and dystopian empire.

Mortal Kombat II

Shao Kahn (MKSM)

Shao Kahn in his MK II attire in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.

Kahn concocted a plan to lure the Earthrealm champions to Outworld; if they could be killed, they would not be able to cause further damage to his plans. He captured Kano and Sonya Blade to use as bait, and enraging Liu Kang by sending Baraka and his troops to destroy the Shaolin temples, they confidently waited for the Earth warriors to fall into the trap. Despite Kahn's vast power, Liu Kang's determination saw him through, and he defeated the despot. Unwilling to accept defeat, Kahn called his armies to destroy the Earthrealm warriors. They fled back to Earthrealm, out of Kahn's clutches.

Mortal Kombat 3

Shao Kahn in Earthrealm

Shao Kahn along with his palace fortress that emerged during his invasion of Earthrealm.

In an attempt to claim Earthrealm, Shao Kahn has his Shang Tsung and his other elite mystics revive Sindel but to where she would be revived in Earthrealm so he can go "reclaim" her forcibly to merge Earthrealm with Outworld. Upon doing so most of the souls in Earthrealm are stolen be Shao Kahn except those who are protected by Raiden. However due to Raiden being weakened due to the forced merger Raiden wasn't able to fight Shao Kahn on his own. Shao Kahn upon hearing of survivors sent his troops to kill all survivors. As Raiden and Earths defenders fight his men, Shao Kahn annoyed seemingly killed Kung Lao with an energy attack once Kung Lao defeated Goro. This lead to Liu Kang directly facing and even defeating Shao Kahn who then ordered his men to retreat thus preventing the merger and returning the world to it's original state. His revival of Sindel also weakens his power as Kitana was able to return her to her original mindset freeing their realm from him along with several of his troops abandoning him to return to Sindel's side.

Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Shao Kahn was approached by Quan Chi and Shang Tsung, who pretended to offer themselves as servants. However, the two attacked the weakened Shao Kahn and slay him.

Mortal Kombat: Deception

Mortal Kombat Deception Shao Kahn Ending

Mortal Kombat Deception Shao Kahn Ending

Shao Kahn's MK:D Ending

It was revealed that the Shao Kahn killed by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi was actually a clone and that after being weakened from his attempted takeover of Earthrealm, Kahn had created the clone to rule Outworld for him, while he recovered. Shao Kahn found his former servant, Goro, mortally wounded and healed him, regaining the allegiance of the Shokan. The two set out to overthrow Onaga, so as to let the emperor regain his control over Outworld.

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Shao Kahn had become the ruler of Outworld again and joined forces with Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, and Onaga in an uneasy alliance so as to gain the god like powers of Blaze. In his ending, Shao Kahn defeated Blaze and claimed his powers, destroying all of his enemies. He eventually conquered all other realms and joined them with his own. However with nothing left to conquer, Shao Kahn went insane from the boredom.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Shao Kahn (MKvDCU)

Shao Kahn second half of Dark Kahn.

Main article: Dark Kahn

At the beginning of the game, Shao Kahn had been defeated and met in a graveyard with his secret ally, Quan Chi. He was blasted into a portal by a blast of lightning from Raiden, causing him to combine with Darkseid and transform into Dark Kahn. After his defeat, Kahn ended up in the DC universe, rendered powerless. Kahn was then imprisoned in the Phantom Zone by Superman.


Shao Kahn escapes the Phantom Zone with a collection of Kryptonian criminals now at his command.

In his ending, while the Phantom Zone weakened the others imprisoned there, the magical nature of Kahn's powers made it have the opposite effect on him. It restored his power, allowing him to escape the Phantom Zone along with an army made up of all the others imprisoned there, who swore him their allegiance in gratitude and joined Kahn in his quest to take control of both universes.

Alternate Timeline

Mortal Kombat (2011)

My venom spreads... It is the end of all things. Armageddon.
~ Shao Kahn preparing to end all reality.

At the beginning of the Story Mode of Mortal Kombat 9, every character (presumably) dies during the Battle of Armageddon. The only ones who were left standing were Raiden and Shao Kahn. Before Raiden was killed by Shao Kahn's hands, the thunder god showed glimpses to his past self so he can alter the future and gives one message, that "he must win!".

After Liu Kang won the the original Mortal Kombat tournament, Shang Tsung told Shao Kahn that if he called for another tournament and wins, he could escape the Netherrealm. During the tournament, he was planning to execute Kitana after she found out what he was planning; creating a "perfect daughter" to replace her. Another thing that Shao Kahn did during the tournament is that he killed Kung Lao dishonorably after he defeated both Quan Chi and Shang at the same time. Enraged, Kang jumped in and fought Kahn. Even with his strength, Kahn lost and nearly died in the process. Everyone thought he was dead, but Raiden's Amulet was still cracked. It turns out that Quan Chi accelerated his healing.

Since Shao Kahn lost the Mortal Kombat tournament, he could not invade Earthrealm. However, Quan Chi recommended invasion anyways, saying that the Elder Gods' rules were fake. In order to start an invasion, Sindel needed to be revived, which Quan Chi did. During the invasion, almost every hero died, except for, Raiden, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage. After Johnny and Sonya retreated with a mortally wounded Liu Kang, Kahn entered Earthrealm and fought Raiden. During the final battle between Kahn and Raiden, the Elder Gods granted Raiden some of their power to help him fight back.

Shao Kahn's Death (MK9)

Shao Kahn's death.

With the help of the Elder Gods, Raiden managed to kill Shao Kahn. Kahn's damaged Helmet was later taken by the manipulative Quan Chi.

Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X takes place 25 years later. Shao Kahn never physically, but is heavily mentioned.

Shao Kahn Statue

Shao Kahn remains

A statue of him appears in the intoduction, or apparently Shao Kahn was inspired by Shinnok want to govern the earth that led to his loss. The role of Shao Kahn was taken by Mileena up if it so be hit by Kotal Kahn because it was not regarded as the legitimate daughter of Shao Kahn.

Shao Kahn is usually mentioned by Mileena, to his death of hands of D'Vorah. Before dying she asked to join his father.

His former warriors joined Kotal because her disappearance and because he despised Mileena except the Tarkatans.

Appearances in other media

At the end of the film Mortal Kombat; Raiden, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, and Kitana witness a giant storm cloud. There, they see a translucent version of Shao Kahn. Kahn declares that Earthrealm belongs to him, but Raiden replied, "I don't think so."

Continuing the story in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Shao Kahn appears before the heroes along with Sindel, Motaro, Sheeva, and other evil fighters. He kills Johnny Cage by breaking his neck.

He later holds Kitana hostage after Scorpion is successful in taking her to him. Kahn offers her a drink while in captivity, but she spits it back at him, angering him.

Raiden implies that he and Kahn are brothers and that they are the sons of Shinnok. Kahn managed to, presumably, kill off Raiden, but was ultimately defeated by Liu Kang.

Shao Kahn appeared as the main antagonist of the cartoon series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm.


Shao Kahn is violent, ruthless, sarcastic, persuasive, egotistical, and bloodthirsty, so he has driven to his goals, yet also possesses a strange sense of humor, laughing maniacally all the time. He desires only power and will do anything to make sure he has it, showing great paranoia at times. Kahn is also extremely manipulative, arrogant, and cruel, so he desires only to conquer other realms and add them to his own. He also shows compassion and romanticism in some media, such as the live-action series (as he seduces and charms several women in the series, including two of Quan Chi's undead female slaves) and shows a fatherly, caring relationship with Kitana despite the fact that she is covertly working against him..

Jeffrey Meek's role is more interesting when one considers that he played Raiden on the same show, occasionally opposite himself. In episode 21, "Stolen Lies," he deceives a society of people called the Shaakans into believing that he is their god; every aspect of their culture (Farland = Outworld, children pretending to steal souls, a six-armed Shokan warrior and Kahn's henchmen on the scarf, a skull on the head of a Shaakan warrior) reflects this blind worship of the Outworld emperor.

In Battlewave, Shao Kahn would arrange a different plan to open the portals. He kidnaps Sonya and, by means of hypnosis and brainwashing, convinces her to marry him. The marriage would weaken the barriers between realms enough to allow Kahn to seize Earth easily (and make Sonya the queen of both realms and his wife). During the wedding ceremony held, however, the wedding would be crashed and he would be stopped by the Earthrealm warriors' interruption, ending with Sonya becoming free from Kahn's influence. In the comic, he claims to not be the romantic type, but he also states that Sonya is very beautiful as his bride. However, he soon comes to realize that both Outworld and Earth would be in turmoil as a result of the wedding.

In Shao Kahn's personal Armageddon ending, he successfully merges all of the Realms to Outworld, but is soon driven to madness, because there are no longer have any realms left to conquer.

Powers and Abilities

Shao Kahn is extremely powerful, able to utilize superhuman strength and magic. He wields the powerful Wrath Hammer, which can send opponents flying with one strike, and he seems to have some knowledge in cloning, as seen in Deadly Alliance. Kahn's moves include a powerful shoulder barge, a green star-like fire ball that he fires from his facial area, an uppercut that both generates a shield against projectiles and knocks opponents off their feet, and a rising knee attack that generates a streak behind him. He is also shown to be a masterful expert on several Chinese kung fu, including Tai Tzu and Lui He.

Another testament to his abilities is that his god-like strength can match (or outright exceed) someone like Raiden's caliber. This fact ultimately hold true in the Mortal Kombat 9 intro, where he defeats and kills Raiden in the previous timeline.


  • Shao Kahn was the main antagonist in the movie, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, where he was depicted as Raiden's brother.
  • He always appeared with a cape in official depictions by Midway, which he took off for fights and it was not until Mortal Kombat: Deception that he wore it in combat.
  • Shao Kahn was originally going to be unmasked with large, fang-like teeth since everyone in Outworld was originally going to be of Baraka's race, the Tarkata. However, in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, he appeared for the first time unmasked after he threw his hammer at the player, but it was thrown back into his face, smashing his helmet. His appearance was like that of the Mortal Kombat II comic.
  • Shao Kahn was digitally redesigned to be taller in Mortal Kombat II, so he was much taller than other characters. However, his portrayer, Brian Glynn, was actually quite short, proving shorter than Ed Boon, one of the games creators, as seen in a photo that was taken of them.
  • In more recent games, Shao Kahn has been scaled down in terms of both size and build.
  • In a strategy guide in 1993 published for MKII in the UK, he was stated to dress like a 70's disco queen.
  • Shao Kahn was voted number four on the Top 10 Mortal Kombat Kharacters list made by Screwattack.
  • In the internet video, he appeared in Annoying Orange Vs. Mortal Kombat as an minor character which he was defeated to death by Shang Tsung who became champion.


           Mortal Kombat Villains

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Dark Kahn | Onaga | One Being | Quan Chi | Shang Tsung | Shao Kahn | Shinnok

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Undead Villains
Kitana | Kung Lao | Kurtis Stryker | Liu Kang

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Evil Races
Centaurians | Hellspawn | Kytinn | Oni | Shokan | Tarkata | Tormentors | Wraiths

Evil Organizations
Army of Darkness | Black Dragon Clan | Brotherhood of Shadow | Cyber Ninjas | Dragon King's Army | Festival of Death | Forces of Darkness | Kahn Guards | Red Dragon Clan | Shaakans | Shadow Assassins | Shadow Priests | Tekunin

Mortal Kombat Legacy
Liu Kang

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