In Johnny's first fight we see him use a sweet shadow kick, demonstrating MK abilities he didn't have during the first film. And then... he abruptly gets turned into corpse.

What we the reasons for ending the character so soon in the sequel? Was it the actor not wanting to be in it longer? Did they want to keep him but introduce new characters, like JAX, instead? Was there enmity between Cage's original actor Linden Ashby and anyone in production that caused the to axe the character?

Who decided to kill him off so soon, and what were the justifications?

  • 1
    If someone knows some additional tags to use, I'd be grateful. Basically, I'm looking at behind-the-scenes kind of stuff, not about how strong/weak the character was.
    – user23604
    Jan 2, 2017 at 10:01
  • He ran out of autographed pics of himself ;) Jan 2, 2017 at 16:45
  • While I can't say for certain, my guess would be that it was to show how much more serious and deadly the enemy was this time around by immediately killing someone, similar to the Star Trek red shirts. tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RedShirt
    – Stephen
    Jan 4, 2017 at 10:30

1 Answer 1


According to the IMDB Trivia, Linden Ashby (Who plays Johnny Cage) no longer wanted to be involved with the franchise after reading the script... which.. makes a lot of sense.

Apparently production of the first movie was gruelling, with a lot of reshooting and recasting; Cameron Diaz was the original Sonya Blade, but broke her wrist whilst training for the part. Brandon Lee was the original Johnny Cage, but when he died they simply recast, despite the writers wanting to remove the part 'in honor' of him. It seems they didn't really want Johnny cage after that.

Ashby was also apparently heavily involved in rewriting parts of the script to make the film 'edgier' and 'cooler', and built up a lot of resentment from the production team in the process. In his words:

There was just a lot to improve. And we sat down and we reworked the script to the point that I think the writer was not really thrilled with us. I remember seeing [screenwriter] Kevin Droney at a Christmas party after the movie had come out. And he introduced me to his date and goes, "This is the guy I told you about. This is the asshole that ruined my script." (Laughs.) I was like, "Oh, hi." It wasn't a script to write home about, and we worked hard on it. We didn't write Hamlet or anything, but we had a lot of fun with it.

Why he wasn't recast as per Raiden is another question, but it seems production didn't see the need for the character to continue...


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