The best character in the game has zero threads? Let's fix that.
I've heard it said that he doesn't make for a very interesting Champion, and I have to begrudgingly, tentatively... not dismiss the thought out of hand. As a full-on Champion, Johnny Cage might turn into a Mary Sue. Yes, there is such a thing as a character being "too awesome." So the question comes up, if NRS doesn't want to kill one of their rising stars, how do they keep him interesting?
Well, I think they already figured out how.
If MK9 was the start of his journey as a hero and MKX provides the satisfying conclusion of that arc, there's no need to keep him in that role just because. Instead, Johnny is in a prime position to become the mentor of the next generation. Even as early as midway through MKX!
Consider his credentials:
- He was with Raiden from the start of MK9-1
- He survived everything that MK9 threw at him, Sonya is the only other Earthrealmer who can boast the same
- He was the god damn Champion of the Netherrealm War
- He's a pretty stand-up dude in general
- He has access to supernatural powers and would understand how to help a fighter unlock their potential
- And most importantly, he's not a hermit or a God! He's just an average guy! ...ish!
Who else but Johnny Cage would you want helping the next generation keep their shit together?
Raiden - Yeah, Raiden's great, but Raiden tends to prioritize big picture over individuals, and that's not what individuals want. Being a God with a full time day job, Raiden's also hopelessly out of touch with the real world... so while he might be the best teacher for unlocking hidden potential (Cassie says: jury's still out), he's too busy to really understand the problems of little Earthpeople. He needs a co-mentor.
Sonya - Sonya is a tyrant and would eat the kids alive. (Cassie says: can confirm.)
Kung Lao - Even if Kung Lao's figured his own shit out since he came from being dead, being a monk, he has the same problem as Raiden. He's just too far removed from everything. I mean, what if Takeda's gear breaks down while he's training? What's Kung Lao going to do, tell him the best nearby mountain for cell reception to order replacement parts?
Kuai Liang - Couldn't possibly care less, just wants the god damn kids to stay off his god damn lawn.
Scorpion - I don't think he's ready for the Shirai Ryu #3 just yet.
Kenshi - The only plausible alternative to Johnny is Kenshi, which could work pretty well, but I'll ignore that because this thread isn't about him.
I don't think that dying is in the cards for Johnny considering how much of a posterboy he's become in recent years. So the realistic options I see for Johnny moving forward are:
1) Stay a top dog.
2) Remain a top dog, but step out of the spotlight. Be a papa bear. Be ready to put on the sunglasses and step in if Earthrealm finds itself in dire straits, but otherwise take on more of a guidance role.
I really like #2. And come on... who doesn't want to see "Master Cage" in a gi?
Let me know what you think.