[WARNING: THIS ARTICLE SPOILS EVENTS FOR MORTAL KOMBAT 11 AND MORTAL KOMBAT 1.]
Mortal Kombat is a juggernaut when it comes to the fighting game genre. Still, some often overlook the extensive backstory that many characters are given.
With Mortal Kombat 1, we see the rebooted stories of several classic characters. However, like every mainline entry in the franchise, we should also expect someone to be the main villain. In Mortal Kombat 1, that is Kronika.
So what exactly is Kronika’s deal, and why is she so hell-bent on destroying this new peaceful timeline?
Mortal Kombat 11
Kronika was a character introduced in Mortal Kombat 11, and she was revealed to be a Titaness. This is a rank higher than an Elder God. She is called the Keeper of Time and the Architect of the Destiny of the Universe.
Though she was only introduced in the 11th game, it was revealed that Kronika had influenced the whole timeline since the story began. Since she can alter Destiny and Time, it was revealed that she has repeatedly been doing and undoing the universe to ensure a balance between the forces of good and evil. She was even said to have been responsible for the Deadly Alliance between Shang Tsung and Quan Chi. This is another alliance that will return in MK1.
The reason why Kronika suddenly made herself present in the story has something to do with Raiden. Despite her Titaness status, Kronika is also the mother of longtime Mortal Kombat villain Shinnok. When Raiden decides to punish Shinnok by beheading him and forcing him to live in agony, Kronika is forced to reset the timeline and rewrite another one from the beginning. This results in the past meeting the present in MK11.
Eventually, Kronika is defeated by Liu Kang, who has somehow gained the powers of an Elder God. She dies with him taking over the hourglass and having the time-traveling Geras as his new steward.
Kronika is defeated in the base game but returns as a tertiary antagonist in the Aftermath expansion. In the DLC, it’s revealed that Liu Kang must obtain Kronika’s crown to control the hourglass fully. They go back in time to retrieve it—while Kronika is still alive.
The Aftermath storyline has an ending for both Liu Kang and Shang Tsung, but Shang Tsung defeats Kronika, and all of her powers as a titan are absorbed by him.
Mortal Kombat 1
In the renewed timeline by Liu Kang, EarthRealm and Outworld live in peace, and villains like Shang Tsung have been relegated to small-time con-men. Shang Tsung lives in squalor, but Kronika soon approaches him. Kronika reveals his fate in the other timelines and puts him back on the path of becoming a sorcerer.
With everything having turned out right in Liu Kang’s new timeline, it’s suspected that Kronika’s desire for balance would have her trying to sabotage it. While everyone is curious about how Kronika survived the first film’s events, it’s revealed that the character isn’t Kronika at all but Shang Tsung in disguise.
So, as it turns out, Kronika was defeated (either by Liu Kang or Shang Tsung), and she has no real presence in Mortal Kombat 1, merely a disguise to get everyone off of the alternate Shang Tsung’s scent.
Kronika is Mortal Kombat’s first female villain, originally conceived as a man with a similar name. Though she’s only appeared in one game, storywise, she can be considered the overarching villain of the entire franchise, having forged the destiny of all the characters, especially Shinnok and Shang Tsung.
It’s unclear what plans the series has for Kronika in the future. Still, seeing as the story has fully embraced a multiverse narrative, she can appear again—maybe as someone else entirely.