Mortal Kombat: Legacy is quickly proving that there is a massive audience willing to watch high-quality content on the web. As of now, Episode 1 is nearing 9.6 million views, with Episodes 2-4 pulling in between 2.1 million and just over 3 million viewers. Last night‘s fifth episode is already at 424,000 views in just 24 hours. To say this is a huge success for a web series is an enormous understatement. Kevin Tancharoen is the man behind the web series, who created the original Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short that blazed the trail for Mortal Kombat: Legacy. I recently had the chance to chat with Kevin Tancharoen once again about the remaining episodes, a DVD release, his Glee Live! 3D! theatrical project and much more. Here’s what he had to say.
I’ve really been enjoying the episodes so far and the turnout has been quite amazing. You guys are drawing more viewers than some of the CW shows, it seems.
Kevin Tancharoen: (Laughs) Thank you. Yeah, it’s been a great response and I’m glad people keep watching them. It’s interesting to see the types of stories that people really gravitate to, which ones they like better, etc.
Are we going into the tournament after this second part of the Kitana and Mileena story then?
Kevin Tancharoen: Oh no. After this, you’ve got Rayden, you’ve got Scorpion and Sub-Zero still, then you’ve got the robots. I’m trying to save the tournament for the second season as much as I can.
I guess I sort of assumed we’d see part of the tournament in this set of episodes. These will just give all the back-story before the tournament then?
Kevin Tancharoen: Exactly.
After we last talked, I was really excited to see the Cyrax and Sektor episode.
Kevin Tancharoen: That will be after Scorpion and Sub-Zero, so you’ve still got a while before the robots. I’ve got to say, making CG robots takes some time.
What kinds of plans do you have for the finale then? Will you have it end actually at the tournament, where they all come together?
Kevin Tancharoen: We’ve always just planned on making sure every story we told that was necessary for the tournament, gets told first. We want to leave you on the edge of your seat for next season, if we’re lucky enough to do it. When we meet everyone in the tournament, you know what all the back stories are.
With a tournament like this, for Season 2, do you have a clear-cut winner that you want to see emerge from this? Or will it be attacked a little differently?
Kevin Tancharoen: It’s approached a little differently. I don’t have a clear-cut winner. What I will say is I don’t want to feel like I’m cornered into making Liu Kang win (Laughs). We’ve seen that already and, if you know what the end is of the movie, it won’t be fun to watch.
Have you been in talks with Warner about Season 2 then?
Kevin Tancharoen: We always creatively talk about it. I think it’s just a matter of getting the head honchos to pull the trigger, or not. Everything is looking pretty good so far, and we just hope we can do more.
Are you talking about a possible DVD release as well? I know you shot a lot of extra stuff and I’m sure the fans would love to see that.
Kevin Tancharoen: Yeah. We’re putting out a DVD, a Blu-ray and there will be a lot of special features. We’ll show some of the fight rehearsals and things like that, so we can show how much goes into choreographing this.
Is there any time frame on that yet?
Kevin Tancharoen: I don’t know the exact date. All I know is it’s definitely being talked about, in terms of when they want to release it, how they’re going to release it. I hear a different story every day, but it’s all looking good.
The first time we talked, you said you did the short yourself because you thought no one would come to you for something like this. Can you talk about how this show has opened up things for you? Have you been getting offers that you normally don’t get?
Kevin Tancharoen: I’m definitely being looked at as a genre person now, for sure. I’m starting to be considered for things that I probably wouldn’t have been considered for before. That’s all I ever wanted. That was the intent of the original short film in general, was to showcase that I can do something in this space. It’s proven to be helpful so far.
Can you talk about what was maybe one of the more surprising elements of the production, or getting into the groove of an action show like this?
Kevin Tancharoen: You know, oddly enough, it translates pretty well, just because the action, at the end of the day, it’s all choreography. Whether or not it’s staging the action, telling the person to go from here to there, and how long they have to wait there, it’s all choreography. It all feels very similar to me, especially when you come to fight choreography. It’s kind of the same deal, there’s just no music. It’s the same kind of rhythm, you have to move the camera at a certain time, you have to reach a certain point, or a certain move. It feels very, very similar. I’ve had this conversation with a few people, because I feel that action sequences in general have a completely different kind of rhythm, when compared to a musical genre, but it’s a rhythm nonetheless. I can translate it rather easily.
If Season 2 does come, are there any other new characters you want to introduce?
Kevin Tancharoen: I want to put up Kabal, for sure. I think he’s got such a great story and he’s such a cool character, and those hooks are awesome. I think the most challenging one I want to put up is Goro. I think everyone wants to see Goro, but we have to step up the game with it. In the original, they did an animatronic, which, at the time, was fantastic. Would that hold up nowadays? Absolutely not (Laughs). We’ve got to make that character so awesome, and that’s what I’m most excited about doing, but it will also be the most challenging, because of the nature of the monster he is.
The nature of that monster, and the kind of budget you’re working with too. That must be very tricky.
Kevin Tancharoen: Yes, definitely. Doing something like that is very challenging, budgetarily, but I do think it can definitely be done.
I assume everyone else is on board for Season 2 if you get the go-ahead then?
Kevin Tancharoen: Yeah! If they pull the trigger, I think they would be glad to come back, and I would want everyone back. Luckily everyone got along and wants to come back on board.
It was announced last week that you were going to be directing the Glee Live! 3D! movie. Is there anything you can say about that?
Kevin Tancharoen: It comes out in August, so it’s a very, very quick turnaround. It’s going to be unlike any other 3D concert film, particularly in the fact that it’s not about the rehearsal or the making of the tour, a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Glee actors. Everyone is in character, performing their favourite numbers from the show.
Is there a storyline that runs through there, or is it straight-up performances?
Kevin Tancharoen: We’re working on the storyline right now. It’s going to be mainly performances, but we’re definitely working on what the narrative through-line is. It’s fun to me how many Glee fans out there who are also fans of Mortal Kombat. Surprisingly, there are a lot of them. It seems that the genres do cross over to a handful of people who have admitted it to me, which is incredible.
I can’t imagine you were expecting any of those conversations to pop up.
When you look back on this whole experience, is there maybe one highlight that sticks out for you? Maybe a favourite moment to direct or your biggest geek-out moment on the set?
Kevin Tancharoen: Every now and then, I would get really excited when I saw Scorpion in costume. When we were shooting Rayden, we did such a different take on Rayden. It’s very much in the same style as my original short film Rebirth. It’s very dark and I think people are going to really like it. I think people are speculating how Rayden is going to be treated. Like he’s some electrician who went crazy or something. It’s not going to be that, I promise (Laughs). Not that at all.
After you wrap up the Glee project, is there anything else you’re in development with? Or are you just working on stories for Season 2?
Kevin Tancharoen: I’m always working on stories for Season 2, always keeping the hope that we can do a movie. This Glee thing has such a quick turnaround that I’m just throwing myself into the fire there, to get it done quickly and efficiently.
Do you have a script ready for the movie, if they decide to go forward with that?
Kevin Tancharoen: I have a very detailed treatment, that plots out the entire story line.
Just to wrap up, is there anything you’d like to say to fans of the web series so far, or anyone who hasn’t tuned in yet, about why they should check out Mortal Kombat: Legacy?
Kevin Tancharoen: I think that everyone who hasn’t tuned in yet, and is a fan of Mortal Kombat, is really missing out on the mythology, when it comes to the characters in the game. A lot of people loved the game, but don’t really understand the emotional texture and just how rich the story lines are. We’re trying our hardest to paint that picture, in the 10 minutes or less that we have, on the web series. Hopefully they’ll come and watch it and invest in the characters and really understand where these characters are coming from when they enter the tournament, so it’s not just a tournament for no reason. You actually know why they’re there, what they’re fighting for.
That’s about all I have for you, Kevin. Thank you so much for your time and best of luck with Glee and the rest of the season.
Kevin Tancharoen: Thank you very much.
Glee Live! 3D! comes to theatres August 12th, 2011 and stars Dianna Agron, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Naya Rivera, Cory Monteith, Heather Morris, Chord Overstreet, Darren Criss. The film is directed by Kevin Tancharoen.