Mortal Kombat Main Character Index
Main series: MK1 (Part 1 | Part 2) | MK2 (Part 1 | Part 2) | MK3 | MK4 | Deadly Alliance | Deception | Armageddon | MK vs. DC Universe | MK9 | MKX | MK11
Spinoffs: Mythologies: Sub-Zero | Special Forces
Non-videogame: The Movie | Conquest | Defenders of the Realm
Individual Characters: Scorpion | Johnny Cage | Liu Kang | Raiden | Shang Tsung | Sub-Zero II | Kitana | Mileena | Shao Kahn | Shinnok
Main series: MK1 (Part 1 | Part 2) | MK2 (Part 1 | Part 2) | MK3 | MK4 | Deadly Alliance | Deception | Armageddon | MK vs. DC Universe | MK9 | MKX | MK11
Spinoffs: Mythologies: Sub-Zero | Special Forces
Non-videogame: The Movie | Conquest | Defenders of the Realm
Individual Characters: Scorpion | Johnny Cage | Liu Kang | Raiden | Shang Tsung | Sub-Zero II | Kitana | Mileena | Shao Kahn | Shinnok
Spoilers for Mythologies will be unmarked
Johnny Cage (Jonathan "John" Carlton)
Johnny Cage, born Jonathan Carlton, is a Hollywood movie star. Originally entering the Mortal Kombat tournament to display his fighting skills and prove himself to skeptical movie critics and the movie-viewing public, Cage becomes one of the brave and loyal warriors for Earthrealm.
In Mortal Kombat, when Shang Tsung's island fortress began to crumble because of his defeat to Liu Kang, Raiden saved Johnny and dropped him off at a boat that belonged to the Special Forces Agency near the island. Not long after that, Cage traveled into Outworld to join the other Earthrealm warriors in MK2. Defeated, Kahn ordered his forces to hunt down the surviving warriors when he steals the souls of Earth's populace in Mortal Kombat 3. Though his comrades managed to make it out alive, Johnny was not so lucky and was killed by Motaro. During the events of Trilogy, he was brought back due to his soul being blocked from going to the afterlife, and fought alongside Earth's warriors until they won, upon which he ascended to Heaven. Raiden brought him back permanently during the events of MK4. However, Johnny was killed once again during the final assault on the Deadly Alliance's Tarkatan warriors.
Later, he is, as well as many other warriors, restored to life one more time by Onaga and made into his slave. Some time later, he was freed from this state by Ermac and the spirit of Liu Kang, in time to join the battle of Armageddon.
Mortal Kombat 9 sees Cage have a much more... err... outgoing personality, but it also makes him much more heroic, being a genuine part of the heroes' team. He also serves as a sort of Audience Surrogate, as he's one of the few normal humans amidst the Fantasy Kitchen Sink cast. In Mortal Kombat X it's revealed that he and Sonya have a daughter, Cassie Cage.
- Abusive Parents: Implied. He tells his younger self that his father was an asshole and angrily scoffs at his quote about how hungry people eat lunch but humble serve it.
- Action Dad: He's the father of Cassie Cage, one of the new characters in X.
- Agent Peacock: Downplayed, but in 9, he proclaims that he's "so pretty!" after a win, and in 11, his younger self carries a compact mirror and gets his Berserk Button pressed when he gets grazed in the cheek by a bullet.
- Amazon Chaser: Johnny seems to have an attraction to strong women, as evidenced by hitting on many of the female Kombatants. He eventually married Sonya Blade, who's a Special Forces operative and drill sergeant. In MK11, he admits to having a thing for Edenians and openly expresses an interest in Jade, in particular.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Played with in X. In his normal win pose, he pulls out a marker and autographs an 8x10 of himself, tossing it to his foe. Which hand he writes with is based on which way he's facing. He has separate scenes for writing (the "Cage" portion of "To My Biggest Fan! CAGE") with his right and left; either way, his handwriting is perfectly fine.
- Also Averted with his "Johnny" chest tattoo in the post-reboot games; no matter which direction he's facing, the tattoo will remain in place and legible on his chest.
- Amicable Exes: With Sonya. It appears that it's only on his part and only whenever Cassie is concerned. Becomes this for real at the end of X, with Sonya actually warming up to him.
- And You Thought It Was a Game:
- He starts Mortal Kombat 9 thinking the whole tournament is just elaborate role-play.
- In the movie, he had no idea what the stakes were in the tournament. He just thought it was a competition to show off his skills and prove that it wasn't wire tricks and stuntmen. By the time he realizes that it's a lot more than just an ordinary tournament, it's far too late for him to back out.
- The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People:
- Fighting to protect Earthrealm caused him to grow way past being a smug Hollywood star in over his head. This is particularly true in the rebooted timeline where the significant losses on the heroes side forced him to step up as its champion against Shinnok.
- The Character Development for Past Johnny Cage in 11 starts in Aftermath, after witnessing Sonya and Cassie getting defeated by Shao Kahn and Sindel. It didn't work, but he did take things seriously for once in that moment.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: He thinks the Outworld warriors are just people in really nice costumes and not interdimensional monsters, yet his reason for participating in Mortal Kombat is because people accuse him of being a fraud who can only look good through movie magic when he wants to show them all his superhuman abilities are entirely his own.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Sonya's 11 tower ending had him be recruited for her "God Squad". But only because Cassie insisted. And because she missed him... but only a little. Don't tell him about that last part though.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Johnny's main defining character trait is his overwhelmingly large ego, tempered by an equally sharp tongue and razor wit. And while it's mostly justified, given he's the new Earthrealm Champion by MKX, it hasn't won him many friends. His daughter Cassie, Jacqui Briggs, and Takeda are among the few who seem to like him.
- Ascended Extra: Years before MKX, if you told MK fans that Johnny Cage would be the new champion of Earthrealm, you would be called a liar. Yet, here we are. Even if Johnny was a part of the original MK, he was always portrayed as the Butt-Monkey to one of Earthrealm's finest warriors. While the new timeline has been very generous to him, unfortunately most of his friends got killed as a result.
- Ascended Glitch:
- In the first game, a glitch allowed Johnny to perform his decapitation fatality uppercut multiple times, knocking off at least 2 heads of his opponent. It was kept (and the ante upped by guaranteeing three heads were sent flying) for 2 and Trilogy, but dropped ever since.
- It does come back in a Breaking the Fourth Wall way in Mortal Kombat 11; at first it seems he's just going to do his regular deadly uppercut (which does shatter his victim's jaw, to his credit) before a director offscreen yells cut. Cue him getting more and more frustrated as he performs the move twice more (for a total of three like the MKII and Trilogy versions) before tossing the opponent's now decapitated head at the camera and breaking it.
- Back for the Dead: His eventual fate in Annihilation, courtesy of Shao Kahn.
- Back from the Dead: Constantly in the original timeline. Lampshaded when, prior to joining the battle against the Deadly Alliance, he was (unwillingly) starting to film Mortal Kombat: The Death of Johnny Cage, in which he was repeatedly killed and brought back to life. Finally subverted in 9, as he manages to survive a plot where most of the major characters die. Played straight when he is almost close to death in X and is saved thanks to Raiden and Sonya's efforts at meddling with Quan Chi's necromancy.
- Badass Boast: From the story mode of 9:Johnny Cage: Fans think my moves are all wire work and special effects. Truth is... I am the special effects.
- Badass in a Nice Suit:
- Prior to the events in Deadly Alliance, he arrives on Shang Tsung's Island dressed in a tux via parachute. He also has one as an alternate in 4, Deadly Alliance and Armageddon.
- In 9, he comes to the first tournament wearing a tuxedo with a loosened bow tie that also serves as his alternate.
- Badass in Distress: Towards the end of Mortal Kombat X, he's captured by Shinnok and D'Vorah, and spends the rest of the game in a cocoon with maggots slowly eating his face. It takes Cassie beating them both down to save him.
- Berserk Button:
Mileena: The failed actor.
- In the first movie. Goro should not have crushed those $500 pair of shades. That, and killing off Johnny's friend.
- MKX implies he's sensitive to remarks about his movie career.
Johnny Cage: I'm gonna take my awards and shove 'em through your skull!
Mileena: Touchy, aren't we?
- In 11, his younger self snaps when he gets grazed by a bullet and it leaves a gash on his cheek.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Sure, Cage may seem like a wisecracking goofball, but disregard him at your own peril. And mellowed out he may be in X, but threaten his loved ones and he'll gain a new Super Mode and No-Sell an Elder God's attacks and then wipe the floor with him!Johnny Cage: Mr. Briggs, I presume.
Jax: You always gotta be a fool?
Johnny Cage: Alright. Let's get serious.
- Big Damn Heroes: The first chapter of MKX has him not only beat up Sub-Zero and Scorpion, but he also manages to not only No-Sell Shinnok's amulet and save Sonya, but also beat up said fallen Elder God and help Raiden seal him away in his own amulet! And people wonder how he's the new Champion of Earthrealm...
- Bond One-Liner: Johnny pieces one together after beating Kano at the end of his chapter in MK9, although he's a little unsure about it because he can't really do Australian.Johnny Cage: Throw that on your...barbie...shrimp... (Shrug)
- Born Lucky:
- While other combatants can justify their special powers with reasons going from Training from Hell or being Physical Gods, sorcerers or Ninjas/McNinjas; Johnny Cage has no background for how he got his energy blasts, he's simply naturally gifted.
- In 9, it's revealed that he is descended from a Mediterranean warrior cult who bred fighters for the gods. Yet, despite that, it is made even more obvious how his powers are so natural; Johnny initially is in disbelief about the whole Mortal Kombat and other realms thing, and yet he doesn't mention or see his powers as being equally unbelievable. Also, the whole reason he's there is because of people calling him out and saying he's all flash with no substance. He insists that his energy powers are legit and will prove it at the Mortal Kombat tournament... yet thinks nothing of them in spite of that.
- Box Office Bomb: In-Universe. His film debut, Ninja Mime, which also doubles as an Old Shame. Even Cyrax hates the film and wants his money back. Ninja Mime is a Cult Classic in France though.
- Brainwashed: To serve Onaga in Deception.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Corrupted under the Blood Code in the MKX comics thanks to Jacqui.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Johnny can summon a stunt double in Mortal Kombat 11 (and not just a shadow clone like he did in the "Stunt Double" variation in X but an actual lookalike) to attack or hold his opponent down, can accidentally bump into a boom mic between rounds, and his first Fatality has him try to knock his opponent's head off with his classic uppercut Fatality but it goes wrong, resulting in the director (Ed Boon himself!) calling for a retake. He tries two more times (like his hidden "Triple Uppercut" Fatality from II) before his opponent's head gets stuck on his hand (by virtue of it having already lost the jaw two punches ago) and he throws the decapitated head towards the camera out of frustration.Johnny Cage: Who hired this guy? What the f***?
- Broken Win/Loss Streak: With Kitana, apparently.Kitana: I have bested you before.Johnny Cage: I was being nice, those... ten times.
- Rendered as such after II, likely as punishment for his actor (Daniel Pesina) advertising a rival game, BloodStorm, while in full costume. Even the dev team doesn't take him seriously. Finally seems to be outgrowing this as of X.
- His younger self is this in 11. His future self is ashamed of him because he's exactly who he was before. The younger Sonya is slightly ashamed of how shell marry and have a kid with him in the future and the other good guys unabashedly prefer his older self over him. This even extends to physical abuse, he gets his ass kicked by future self, Erron Black, the older Kano, and Shao Kahn.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Blames Sonya's job for their divorce. They manage to patch things up between X and 11 when he becomes more directly involved with Special Forces.
- Captain Ersatz: Started as one of Jean-Claude Van Damme in the first game, being directly modelled on his appearance in Bloodsport, complete with the Split Punch.
- Casting a Shadow: Johnny's Stunt Double variation has him able to use some of his moves in a safe distance, and keeping him away from trouble. However, the shadow "stunt doubles" or "mimics" as the game refers to them are yellow instead of his usual green.
- The Casanova: While his luck with other kombatants is low, Cage is capable of getting women, if one dialogue with Kano is any indication.
- Casanova Wannabe:
Johnny: I'm taking you down, I'm taking you down, I'm taking you out, I'm taking you out, and [approaches Sonya] I'm taking you out... for dinner.
- Towards Sonya in the first chapter of 9:
Johnny: (smirking) My green magic, your green outfit...?
- Johnny also flirts with Jade during their pre-fight banter in MK11:
Jade: (smirks back and chuckles) By the gods, no.
Johnny: Your loss, sweetheart.
- Kitana, too, is much less impressed.
Frost: Do not even think it Johnny Cage.
- Add Frost to his list of would-be "Konquests", though she isn't as kind about it as Jade:
Johnny: (smirking) Admit it, you know it's crossed your mind.
Frost: I am NOT interested.
Johnny: You thinking what I'm thinking?
- Not even Elder Gods are immune:
Cetrion: That you are a vapid, arrogant child?
Johnny: Don't let that stop you.
- The Champion: In the comics, Kotal Kahn refers to him as Raiden's, effectively replacing the late Liu Kang.
- Character Development: He's introduced in 9 as an insufferable, showboating and self-aggrandizing movie star, and over the course of the game, turns out to be a surprisingly loyal friend, and the conscience of the team. The sequel takes it up a notch and reveals him to be a doting and loving father, a supportive mentor to an entire generation of heroes, and a visibly more mature guy overall, a very far cry from the shallow Hollywood caricature of the old games.
- Based on his ending in 11, after defeating Shinnok, he had returned to Hollywood, obviously having Cassie with Sonya during that time, but soon spiraled out of control and hit rock bottom. In order to be a be a better father to Cassie, he cleaned up his act and became the man she looked up to by X. Past!Johnny lampshades this as he could remove this part of his history in his ending, but he would never be the man that Present!Johnny is without the hardships.
- The Charmer: Mediates successfully with Kotal Kahn to defuse a tense standoff in the comics.
- Children Raise You: Johnny's MK11 ending that implies that his fame following Shinnok's defeat eventually goes over his head and he let Cassie down. Seeing how he disappointed his daughter, Johnny vows to clean up his act and become a man worthy of her respect.
- Chronically Killed Actor: In the most literal way possible.
- Combat Pragmatist: In the movie, he realizes that going toe to toe with Goro would be suicide, so he uses strategy to outmaneuver him. Then there's his Groin Attack.
- Cool Old Guy: He's 54 in Mortal Kombat X (as he was 29 for the first tournament), so this qualifies. He's pretty easygoing and always ready with the witty repartee, and a supportive mentor to the next generation.
- Cool Shades:
- While they were always part of his character, with official art always depicting him wearing shades, he only started wearing them during fights from Trilogy onwards.
- In the first movie, he values them more than any worldly possession. Then Goro broke them, and the rest is history:
- In his 9 victory pose, his shades break in half. No problem: he just takes out a brand new pair and puts them on!
- In 11, his shades are customizable via gear and evidently come with a self destruct mechanism as seen in one of his brutalities.
- Cool Teacher: Helps in training Cassie, Jacqui, Takeda and Kung Jin in MKX.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Looks every bit of a muggle, and acts like a jerkass, but he can hold his own against all kinds of enemies, including Tarkatans, cyborgs, physical gods, sorcerers, etc. This is fooly realized in X where he takes on and defeats Shinnok.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- In the rebooted timeline, he's the focus of the first chapter of 9 and X.
- Taken further in Mortal Kombat X, as the Cage family are arguably the main characters of the story. Johnny and Cassie are instrumental in taking down Shinnok, the past segments show signifigant time to Johnny and Sonya, and the present storyline sees Johnny mentoring a small group lead by Cassie.
- By Mortal Kombat 11, he's the focus of Chapter 6.
- Dead Guy Puppet: One of his Fatalities in MK11 involves him shoving his arm into his opponent's body and tearing off their torso. And then he starts using it as a dummy in a ventriloquist act, complete with a Dramatic Spotlight!Opponent: What did you do, Johnny?
Johnny: Just what you asked!
Opponent: Not what I meant by "the splits"!
(Crowd boos Johnny and throws tomatoes at him, with one of them hitting the corpse)
- Deadpan Snarker: Seems to be this at first, in tone with his movie self, as seen in MK9. And 25 years later, he still got it.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In his finest hour, Johnny Cage defeated Shinnok.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: The first chapter in X hints at this as he takes an intented killshot from Shinnok to protect Sonya and comes out unscathed, all while glowing his usual green. His immediate reaction quickly tells that he was clearly not expecting to come away standing.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Because of his crass personality, the temporally-displaced characters don't believe that he defeated Shinnok.Kitana: So you were to defeat Shinnok?
Johnny: What is with people!? Is it so hard to believe!?
Johnny: Once upon a time, I beat Shinnok!
Shang Tsung: My, what a colorful imagination...
Johnny: Look it up! I laid him out!
- Embarrassing Nickname: His intro dialogue with his Daughter in Mortal Kombat 11 reveals he had one.Johnny Cage: Grandma Carlton told you my secret?
Cassie Cage: [Chuckle] Johnny Pee-Pants?
Johnny Cage: I had one accident. ONE!
- Enhanced Punch: His "Green Shadow Uppercut".
- Everyone Has Standards:Johnny Cage: What's that on your fa— OHHHHH!
Johnny Cage: ...That's just really fucked up, man.
D'Vorah: Why not come closer?
- And despite his penchant for hitting on women, even he draws the line at Mileena in MKX and D'Vorah and Skarlet in MK11. In Mileena's case, it's because she's part Tarkatan and a cannibal, whereas D'Vorah and Skarlet both creep him out.
Johnny: You are not sucking my face like Mileena's!
D'Vorah: Johnny Cage, afraid of a kiss?
Kano: A scruple? Note the date and time!
- Similarly, when Kano offers him a prostitute Johnny refuses, saying that he "doesn't pay for it". Kano is too amused to be upset.
- Though he has some of the most brutal (and comical) fatalities, he only kills when it's absolutely necessary. When Shang Tsung orders him to execute Reptile after defeating him, he's aghast at Tsung's ruthlessness and tells him that he's not going to kill him.
- Establishing Character Moment: In 9, he spends his first few fights goofing off, preening and grandstanding, hitting on Sonya, and generally making an ass of himself... but is horrified when Shang Tsung demands he "finish" a fallen opponent.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Dips into this from time to time.
- Armageddon tries to take the "fake" part out, by having him being the first of the heroes to see Shinnok back into the scene, and then rallying the band of heroes for the final battle. His (non-canonical) ending states that he gained superior strength and dexterity, but more important, a new insight into his existence. With the help of Shaolin masters, he renounced his superficial former life and became enlightened.
- Subverted in the alternate timeline. The first time is in MKX's Story mode, where he defeated Shinnok by sending his amulet to Raiden so he can have the fallen Elder God sealed in and the second time in the MKX prequel comics, where he succesfully defuses a tense standoff with Kotal Kahn, with the latter even respectfully calling him 'champion'.
- Family Man: Surprisingly, he's a committed husband and father. He's damn good at raising Cassie and was a faithful husband to Sonya until her inability to commit to him and Cassie led to their divorce.
- Fighting Clown: His Ninja Mime skins in X and 11 make him a literal example, but he always has a couple of silly attacks in his fighting style, including using trophies, stunt doubles and cameras. And that's not even getting into his constant snark.
- The Fighting Narcissist: A rare heroic example. In brief, he's full of himself, cocky and arrogant, but he really is THAT good a fighter, and he's possibly the game's most moral, selfless hero. And he is undoubtedly one of the good guys.
- Fighting with Chucks: In Deadly Alliance, Deception and Armageddon.
- Flipping the Bird: His first Fatality in 11 ends with him discreetly flipping off the camera as he chucks his opponent's decapitated head towards it. He also flips off the player when they customize his belt buckle.
- Freudian Excuse: If 11 is to be believed, Johnny's worst behaviour was partially caused by having an "asshole" father who taught him that humility is a sign of weakness and to never show it. The other part was the toxic influence of his Hollywood fame.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Not all the time, but it's definitely a thing with him.
- In the older games he is generally disliked for his sleazy personality and nature as a polarizing actor. In Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpions Revenge, his hitting on Sonya leads him to viciously crunch his boys twice with no objection from those around him.
- Zig-Zagged in Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat 11. His part in saving the world on more than one occasion means he enjoys a fair deal of respect, especially from the younger generation of heroes and particularly Cassie who adores him. It also helps that he's Older and Wiser and when he's on the clock in Story Mode he's far more professional, not going out of his way to annoy people. However, when he's off the clock in basic fighting mode, his arrogant and irreverent personality and penchant for lame jokes and puns at the expense of others come back in full force, which generally means that even those who are on his side find him very annoying to be around.Sub-Zero: You approach me as a foe...
Johnny: Nah, I'm just outta ice cubes.
Sub-Zero: At times, I regret our alliance.
Raiden: You followed me.
Johnny: You need me here!
Raiden: Has anyone agreed with that statement?!/It wouldn't be Hell without Johnny Cage.
Skarlet: I will have your ancient power.
Johnny: Not what I call it, but, uh... okay.
Skarlet: No one will miss you, Cage.
- Played Straight again in 11 with Johnny's past self. Everybody hates him, even and especially the present Johnny, due to him being Johnny Cage on his worst Jerkass behaviour. It's to the point that present Johnny tries (and initially fails) to teach him humility and respect for others.Johnny: Come on, do you really like Future Johnny better?
Jacqui: Name someone who doesn't.
- Full-Name Basis: He screams "JOHNNY CAGE!" after winning a round or winning a Test Your Might/Strike/Sight minigame.
- The Gadfly: Oh boy, is he ever. His big mouth is both one of his best weapons and one of his biggest liabilities, as Johnny chronically mocks and perturbs just about everyone he comes across. He does it mostly for laughs or to get a rise out of someone, but sometimes he does it tactically to make people underestimate him, or get too angry to act reasonably. Some people tolerate him, others just hit him in the face. This includes his own allies on occasion. This is apparently just in his nature and he recognizes that this isn't always the best course of action.[to an offended Kung Lao] Sorry, it—it's like a reflex.
- Gallows Humor: After being stabbed by the revenant Jax as he lies bleeding out when Sonya tells him he'll be ok.Johnny: I don't know. I think blood is supposed to be on the inside.
- Good Parents: Cassie adores him, and surprisingly, he turns out to be possibly the best dad in the MK-verse by a long shot. Only Jax even comes close.
- Groin Attack:
- His "Split Punch" signature attack, a special move where he does the splits and plants his fist directly into his opponent's crotch. It wouldn't work on Sonya in the first game or on Kitana, Jade and Mileena in the second game, probably because of the common misconception that women somehow wouldn't be harmed by it. It also couldn't be used on bosses either. Later games remove those limitations and now it affects women and bosses just fine.
- One of his Fatalities in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is a series of punches to the stones, ending with one last punch that hits so hard, the victim's legs pop off of their torso.
- Also, the first part of his X-Ray move in Mortal Kombat 9 is a three-punch combo to the groin. Ouch.
- It also has a Brutality version in MKX, wherein it either pops the victim's head off, or causes their eyes to pop out.
- And then there's his memorable use of the move on Goro in the movie.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: His Torso Rip fatality.
- In Shaolin Monks, he has a fatality where he will punch the opponent in the groin several times, mugs for the camera, punches the groin for a bit like a speed bag, and then does one final monster punch that pulverises the entire pelvic region, effectively cutting the unlucky victim in half.
- His Stunt Double variation in X has a Brutality that does the same with the Shadow Kick.
- 11 brings back the torso rip, now with a decidedly comedic twist, as mentioned under Dead Guy Puppet above.
- Hand Cannon: He has a Desert Eagle holstered around his waist in 11, although he doesn't ever use it.
- Handwraps of Awesome: These have been a part of his outfit since Deadly Alliance.
- Has a Type: In MK11, Johnny admits there's two types of women he likes: blondes (like Sonya) and Edenians. In one of his pre-fight banters with Jade, Johnny makes it clear that he's interested. A separate one has him tell Jade that he once dated a beauty queen who looked exactly like her. And, if you use Johnny to fight Kotal Khan, he'll ask Kotal if he knows whether Jade has any sisters.
- Guile Hero: For all his goofiness, Cage is smarter than he looks: his defeat of Goro in The Movie was reliant almost entirely on cunning tactical maneuvering, as he lures the Shokan to a cliff and ambushes him, knocking him to his doom.
- The Heart: Believe it or not. Cage may be a pompous ass, but he's genuinely a nice guy underneath, and of all the heroes he's the one that fights for the good guys just because it's the right thing to do. He also may love to kick ass, but he's horrified when asked to kill his defeated opponent by Shang Tsung. During the course of the Story Mode in MK9, he pretty much becomes the team's moral center. Becomes even more notable in MKX when paired with the stricter Sonya, keeping her from giving into her desire to kill Kano so that they can get info out of him and getting her to talk to Cassie less as a commander and more like a mother in spite of them having already split up on bad terms.
- The Hero: Takes up the position in the flashbacks of Mortal Kombat X to the point where he's singlehandedly responsible for Shinnok's defeat.
- Heroic Willpower: Even more than Sonya. This guy spent last quarter of X wrapped up in a cocoon with maggots trying to eat him alive... and his sanity was still intact after all of it. Seriously.
- Hidden Depths:
- Johnny was always insufferably arrogant but consistently proved himself a decent person when push came to shove. A large part of his Character Development involves him blunting his arrogance while emphasizing his more heroic qualities.
- There are hints that all his years in the film industry have made him business savvy in 11.
- He can also be surprisingly deep at times, as evident in one of his banter lines with Shang Tsung:Johnny: Every man dies, but not every man really lives.
- Humble Pie: Johnny's Tower Ending in 11 vaguely hints to a key moment post-Shinnok that truly changed Johnny from the Hollywood glory hound to the true Champion of Earthrealm and supportive father/father figure he was in X and onward.
- Hunk: Sure, he may be egotistical, but you can't deny his good looks. He certainly won't.
- I Hate Past Me: Has shades of this when he runs into his younger self in 11. Johnny is fully aware of what an egotistical asshole he used to be and the older and far more mature Cage Senior is incredibly frustrated with his younger self's Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy attitude. He even refers to his younger self as his evil twin.
- Improbable Weapon User: 11 adds an arsenal of silly weapons for him to use in combat, including trophies, cameras with the flash on, stunt doubles, and in one Brutality, a boom mic.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Cage's MK1 Movie skin uses the voice and likeness of Linden Ashby reprising the role.
- Insane Troll Logic: He is flabbergasted how Shao Kahn is not a Shokan (to Shao's annoyed bewilderment), even claiming to lose sleep over it.
- I'll Take That as a Compliment: This exchange between Johnny and Sonya in the first film:Sonya: [after Johnny tells her that he is facing Goro] Oh, I can't believe this! You are the most egotistical, self-deluded person I have ever met!
Johnny: Yeah, well you forgot good-looking.
- Jerk Justifications: It's revealed in 11 that his father told him "Hungry people eat lunch; humble people serve it." Past Johnny uses this to justify his arrogant attitude, but Present Johnny has none of it.Present Johnny Cage: Dad was an asshole! Hollywood made us an even bigger one!
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: During Jax's chapter in 9, Johnny, Raiden, and Jax find themselves stuck at the Kombat Armory, when he probes Jax's relationship with Sonya.note Johnny, being himself, makes his intentions with Sonya a little less than subtle. This prompts Jax to challenge Johnny to a fight right there and then. However, afterwards, he brushes it off later and even good-naturedly jokes about it after they find Sonya. By the time of MKX, he has mellowed out almost to the point of being a straight up Nice Guy.
- Jerkass Realization:
- It's revealed in his Ladder ending in 11 that at a time when Johnny became drunk and washed up, a young Cassie looked at him with a very disappointed look that made him feel terrible for letting her down; this was the impetus for his Character Development as seen in X. Past Johnny, who is narrating this ending, chooses to leave it unchanged as he recognises its importance in making him a better person.
- Past!Johnny goes through one himself, albeit in more understated fashion after his Sonya saves his life, both thanking her as well as sincerely apologizing for being the way he was.
- Kangaroos Represent Australia: He turns into one to kick his opponent off screen as an Animality in MK Trilogy. Subverted, however, because Johnny is American, not Australian. The actual Aussie, Kano, gets a Giant Spider as an Animality.
- Kill Steal: Interrupts Kung Lao before he can finish off Goro in Shaolin Monks, then he throws his fist in the air in celebration.
- Large Ham: Expected from an actor, of action movies no less.
- Let's Get Dangerous!:
Johnny: All righty. Glasses on... [Shadow Kicks Jacqui] ...gloves off.
- Whilst fighting a brainwashed Jacqui in the comics:
- In Aftermath, past!Johnny takes off the kid gloves when Cassie and past!Sonya are endangered by Shao Kahn and Sindel.
- Little "No": In 11, after the mission to destroy Liu Kang and Kitana's castle in Chapter 1, Johnny invokes this when he sees the look on Cassie's tear-streaked face and realizes that Sonya perished during the mission.
- Made of Iron: Johnny has proven to be a glutton for punishment on multiple occasions. Most notable in 11, where Past Johnny is forced to fight Past Sonya, but takes it in stride, orders Sonya to beat the shit out of him and refuses to take a dive, all because he knows Kano better than to be even the slightest bit fair with them.
- McNinja: He's not an example (barring some bonus costumes) but in-universe he plays these in his movies, with titles like "Ninja Mime" and "Ninja Priest" being name-dropped.
- Meaningful Name: It's probably more than coincidence that Kage in Japanese means shadow and Johnny Cage is the master of many "shadow" techniques himself.
- The Merch: As of 11, Johnny Cage now sports an action figure of himself on his person he whips out for brutalities and a win pose.note
- Mr. Fanservice: He's an action movie star who's always been bare-chested. Slightly averted in X, where he spends the game dressed either in a military uniform or pants and a hoodie and has his face chewed up by D'Vorah's maggots. However, his bare-chested primary costume from 9 is an unlockable, and he answers the door for Sonya in the MKX comics in nothing but a towel. Enough said.
- Nice Guy: By the time of 11, he has become one. The older Johnny has completely mellowed out to the point that he and Sonya have got back together and he has zero moments during story mode where his ego gets in the way and remains a supportive and loving husband and father. In fact, he takes it upon himself to teach his own younger self some manners and humility.
- The Nicknamer: Constantly in the pre-battle dialogues in Mortal Kombat X, usually via an insulting movie reference. He clearly knows everyone's names, and will sometimes even address them properly, he just enjoys being a comical ass at the expense of his opponent—in other words, it's completely in character.
- He gives one against Shang Tsung in one of their intros as he finds out he killed Johnny's master.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Has been based on Jean-Claude Van Damme since the early days, and his stage name comes from Nicolas Cage.
- Not in the Face!: He does not take it well when he's about to get hit in the face. Best shown when Sonya Blade threatens to punch Cage in the face.Sonya: You are begging to be punched in the face.
Johnny Cage: No, NO! Not the face.
Sonya: Reverse psychology at its best.
- Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Despite being put through the wringer during the events of Mortal Kombat 9, Johnny does eventually hook up with Sonya, as evidenced by their daughter Cassie Cage appearing in MKX. They were married for a while, but divorced some time before that game began due to Sonya being Married to the Job. 11 has them back together, only for Sonya to die in the first chapter in a Heroic Sacrifice. Past!Sonya's chapter implies they can still end up together after she saves Past!Johnny's life.
- Off with His Head!:
- His classic Fatality, in which Cage delivers a savage uppercut that tears his opponent's head off.
- The intro of MK9 inverts this: he's shown decapitated.
- Oh, Crap!: When against Jason and with good reason.Ohh... freak.
- Older Sidekick: To his daughter in MK11, and he is completely cool with it.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: His Ninja Mime movie is so infamously bad that multiple other kombatants taunt him about how much it sucks. Somehow it eventually got sequels, to the point that over twenty-five years later in Mortal Kombat 11, he's apparently still shooting them. It's such a running joke that whenever a character specifically names a movie Johnny has been in, odds are they'll mention Ninja Mime, and he's got Mime costumes in X and 11.
- One True Love: Sonya. While Johnny constantly hits on girls in his intros, and was implied to have had past relationships in his days as an arrogant, entitled actor, the only woman he married and had a child with is Sonya. While they divorced, Johnny (nor Sonya for that matter) never remarried and they eventually got back together. When Sonya dies, Johnny is incredibly heartbroken and when the past versions of him and Sonya arrive in the present, Johnny pushes his younger self to be nicer so that he can end up with Sonya.
- OOC Is Serious Business: While he can joke with him occasionally, Johnny takes on an uncharacteristically threatening tone when faced with Kano, warning him with grave seriousness to stay away from his family in X and 11. An attitude that not even Shao Kahn receives.
- Our Ancestors Are Superheroes: Johnny's bio in 9 reveals that he is descended from a race of superhuman warriors who were bred as champions for the gods.
- The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: Every interaction with Johnny and Kano have them trading insults with each other, but Johnny respects the fact that Kano has a showman's instinct for his "fans" by situating a fight club in Russia.
- Papa Wolf: Joins Sonya in Outworld to rescue Cassie in the MKX comics and has to be restrained by Sonya from throttling Kano after he makes a snide jab about her fate.
- Person as Verb: Tried this with himself in Shaolin Monks and MK9. "You just got Caged!"
- Plucky Comic Relief: Unquestionably fills this role for the series.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: Comes out full force with Mortal Kombat X. It's only natural for an actor with superpowers. Of note is his first Fataility, where he reenacts Jack Torrance's break in with his enemy's chest and his bare hands. "Heeeeeeere's Johnny!"
- Power Fist: Johnny uses brass knuckles in X and 11.
- Powerful, but Incompetent: Johnny is noted by many to be surprisingly powerful in terms of both martial arts ability and spiritual power. It's even revealed that he's one of the last descendants of an ancient tribe of monks with power that could defeat Elder Gods. Unfortunately, he is an arrogant prima donna and has Skewed Priorities that make him more concerned with his image and career as an actor than taking his fights seriously. This leads to him getting defeated and/or killed on numerous occasions in the franchise. After most of the more competent fighters wind up killed and Johnny settles down with a family, he finally learns to take his responsibilities (somewhat) seriously, becoming a much more competent fighter (although still not as skilled as some others, like Liu Kang or his daughter Cassie).
- Power Incontinence: His ending in 9. His body begins to emit large, destructive bursts of energy in uncontrollable spasms, and neither Raiden nor Nightwolf are able to soothe them. Eventually, Raiden takes Johnny Cage to Seido to control his powers, which will result in him becoming more powerful than humanly imaginable.
- The Power of Love: In Mortal Kombat X it's theorized that his Super Mode is powered by the desire to protect a loved one, hence why he can't use it on command.
- Precision F-Strike: Originally, he didn't swear much. In XL, however, he has a few rare intro quotes against Leatherface and Triborg where he lets a few f-bombs fly. By 11, he more liberally incorporates swearing into his dialogue.Jonny: [Against Triborg] Is it mechanically possible for you to fuck yourself?Johnny: [Againy Sonya] Agh, such a bitch!
- Pungeon Master: In the Movie, he is particularly prone to incredibly lame puns, to the point that he's basically the comic relief of the film. Also true in Mortal Kombat X, with some of his intros featuring puns.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: His squad in MKX consists of two Special Forces operatives (one of them being his daughter with Sonya), a Shirai Ryu ninja and a Shaolin archer. He has his work cut out for him. And as Jacqui points out, Team S-F was his idea.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's quite laidback and approachable with the kids, contrasting Sonya's more hardline approach.
- Red Herring Shirt:
- Johnny Cage survives the events of Mortal Kombat 9. Keep in mind that in every form of media he's been in (the films, the games and even In-Universe in a role he refused to take part in), he dies in some form or fashion.
- In MKX, he comes close to dying in the finale, but ultimately pulls through.
- Mortal Kombat 11 does this to both Johnny Cages. Present!Johnny is shot in the legs at the end of Chapter 6 and is taken out of commission for the remainder of the story. Past!Johnny is often held at gunpoint obviously risking Cassie's life as well. He is also out of commission for the remainder of the story after being rescued.
- In Aftermath, the younger Johnny gets beaten by Shao Kahn (or Sindel), then captured and escorted to Outworld.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni:
- The Red to Sonya's Blue. By X, it's reversed as Johnny Took a Level in Kindness while Sonya Took a Level in Jerkass.
- In 11, Johnny is on both ends in the forms of his younger self and his older self. His younger self is the impulsive, arrogant Red to his older self's more restrained and disciplined Blue.
- Ripple Effect Indicator: In 11, younger Johnny gets grazed in the face by a bullet, causing pain and a scar to show up on older Johnny's cheek in the exact same spot
- The Rival: Of Goro. Becomes canon after the movie.
- Running Gag: Johnny is the victim of three gags in MK11.
Scorpion: The answer is, "No.Johnny: [Enthused] But you'd be co-starring with yours truly!
- The main one is that hardly anyone can believe he (of all people) defeated Shinnok. In most cases, Johnny brushes it off with good humor, or a sarcastic retort. But when even Kitana says it, Johnny becomes exasperated and asks: "Is it really THAT HARD to believe??" to which, Kitana replies, "Yes."
- MK 11 also reveals that he's attracted to Edenian women, by having him hit on both Kitana and Jade. Both shoot him down with the exact same line: "By the gods, no."
- He also tries to get the others to act in his films, but each of them turns him down either because they say his films suck, or simply because they'd have to put up with him.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: His alts. in 4, Deadly Alliance, Armageddon, and 9.
- Ship Tease: Especially in the first movie, towards Sonya. In MK9, he tries to conquer her. As Mortal Kombat X shows, he succeeded in wooing Sonya, as their daughter is a playable character.
- Shotoclone: He has it all: a projectile (Plasmic Bolt), an anti-air uppercut (Green Shadow Uppercut) and a straight attack (His Shadow Kicks).
Johnny: [To Ermac] The mummy returns.
- His MKX Fatality has him pulling the "Heeeeeeeere's JOHNNY!" line from The Shiningnote , except instead of through a busted door it's through his enemy's torso.
- When he faces off against the Alien, he says "IT'S GAME OVER, MAN!"
Johnny Cage 1: Is this for real?
- One of his quotes when he's in a match against himself
Johnny Cage 2: How many of us are there?
Johnny Cage 1: "There can be only one!"
- Shut Up, Hannibal!:
- In an intro against Shinnok, Johnny cuts him off and tells him to shut up when Shinnok is asserting a threat at him.
- In the comics, Johnny himself is on the receiving end of this when Jacqui (under the Blood Code) cold-cocks him mid-sentence.
- Silver Fox: Jacqui seems to think so, much to Cassie's chagrin. To be fair, he is pretty good-looking for a man in his fifties.
- Situational Damage Attack: All the way through the series, Johnny Cage can use his notorious Nut Punch. Until MK9, this attack had no effect on female fighters, possibly due to the erroneous assumption that groin attacks aren't painful to women.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Johnny trades verbal jabs with nearly the entire cast, usually because he's the one who starts it. Most try to ignore his comments, but ex-wife and his daughter won't hesitate to return "fire".Johnny: (at Sonya) "Talk to me."Sonya: (ties her hair back) "You'd have to shut up first."Johnny: "You're right. Fighting it is."
- Sore Loser: His younger self at least. When he gets trounced by his much older (and wiser) self in a fight, he tells him that he got lucky and bitterly walks away.
- Spam Attack: In his "Fisticuffs" variation in X, he can infinitely perform his variation's unique string ("The One-Two") by continuing the string input (b+1, 2, 1, 2...).
- Spanner in the Works: Shinnok's plans in X didn't take him into consideration. When Shinnok escapes his prison, he's much more savvy and takes Johnny with him to suffer some Cold-Blooded Torture.
- Speed Echoes: Several of his Shadow moves have this effect.
- Stacy's Mom: A rare male example, as mentioned during one of Jacqui and Cassie's intro dialogues in MKX.Cassie: Don't speak to me ever.
Jacqui: I just said your dad's kinda hot.
Cassie: Stop it!
- Stance System:
- Stronger with Age: In MK11, his older version is significantly tougher than his younger one.
- Taking the Bullet: In X, he saves Sonya from being attacked by Shinnok by jumping in front of her. He then proceeds to kick Shinnok's ass.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Canonically six feet tall, and one of the series' poster boys for male fanservice.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Thanks to the pre-fight banter system of X, we find out that he's also not above sassing everyone he comes across, either with smartmouthed comebacks or just plain getting on their nerves. Watching a rundown of his exchanges could be summed up as "Johnny Cage is a dick to the Mortal Kombat universe." Turned up to 11 in... well, 11 as we don't just have the older Johnny Cage, but we now have dialogue featuring the younger Johnny Cage.
- Team Dad: While the older generation of Kombatants tend to find Johnny obnoxious, the new Special Forces members in MKX get along with him rather well, better than with the stricter Sonya Blade.
- That Came Out Wrong: One of his pre-fight intros in 11 presumably has his younger self try and compliment Cassie... in a way that made it sound like he was hitting on her. Cass does not appreciate this, and Johnny is quick to explain that no, he does not want to flirt with his adult daughter.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Johnny dies in Mortal Kombat 3, temporarily resurrected in Trilogy (meaning that he's dead again at the end), resurrected in Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat: Deception reveals that he doesn't survive the events of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and the aftermath of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, dies in the second Mortal Kombat movie, and even rejects a role in the movie "The Death of Johnny Cage" in Deadly Alliance (even lampshading that he was tired of starring in roles where he died and came back to life again).
- Surprisingly, given his track record, he survives the events of 9, X and 11, being the only member of Raiden's forces in 9 to do so. Aftermath may or may not have broken his streak.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: In 9, he's shown to be against killing his enemies, refusing to kill Baraka after defeating him in the tournament. He even lampshades one of the most well-known concepts of this game - Fatalities - in that scene; when Shang Tsung tells him to "Finish him" after winning during the story, he says, "Finish him? Heh. Yeah right."
- The Time Traveler's Dilemma: His Tower Ending in 11 puts younger Johnny up against this, realizing the events that made him a better person in the future won't happen without him suffering the bad with the good. He thus opts to follow the same path...mostly.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Gains a Super Mode when he saves Sonya from Shinnok. That results in him glowing with shadow energy, allowing him to No-Sell Shinnok's attacks!
- Took a Level in Badass: After learning that his bloodline originates from a Mediterranean tribe of warriors who were infused with the power of the gods, he takes fighting a lot more seriously after he learns to control it.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Apart from the occasional quip, he seems to have mellowed out significantly by the time of X, and while he still has a bit of an ego, it's not as big as it was in previous games. By the time of 11, his mellowing out is complete since Sonya had reconciled with him and Cassie.
- Turns Red: Literally in MKX. Going into critical health turns all his shadow moves red and gives them a damage boost. Doubles as a Desperation Attack.
- Unfazed Everyman: During his chapter in 9's story mode. Also doubles as the Audience Surrogate for those new to the series, as he's just as out-of-the-loop as newcomers probably will be.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: In the reboot, he has the dynamic with Jax. Despite what appears to be disgust (and the occassional beatdown) from Jax to Johnny, the latter never takes it personally. The 'best buds' part doesn't truly hit home until Jax's ending, though, where he is shown as the one person Johnny trusts to protect the life of his daughter, after he pays him a visit in the hospital.
- Whole Costume Reference:
- Walking Shirtless Scene: His default outfit in most games and available as an alternate if not his standard outfit. Though he starts 9 with a tuxedo, he quickly goes shirtless, and remains like this through the rest of the game.
- Will They or Won't They?: In regards to Sonya, he does. It didn't last for a bit but then they got back together.
- Working with the Ex: He divorced from Sonya at some point. Doesn't stop him from stepping up with her in Earthrealm's defense.
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: He's pleased as punch any time that Sonya calls him by his first name as it means that she still clearly cares a lot about him. His reaction each time only makes him that much more endearing.
- You Fight Like a Cow: At least in X and 11, he constantly taunts his opponents. Bad puns, movie references...whatever insult is handy.