John Carlton, better known as Johnny Cage, is an action movie martial artist in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He is one of the most recurring characters and one of the seven original characters, debuting in the first Mortal Kombat game of the fighting game series.

About Johnny Cage Edit

Johnny Cage was a struggling Hollywood action movie star who wanted to get his fame back. Originally entering the Mortal Kombat tournament to display his fighting skills and prove himself to skeptical movie critics and the movie-viewing public, who believed Cage was nothing more than an actor who relied too much on stunts and camera work and was not a real proficient fighter. Eventually, Cage becomes one of the most important defenders of Earthrealm. Though he occasionally lapses into his former selfish and materialistic ways, he has always been a brave and loyal warrior for Earthrealm.

Appearance Edit

Johnny Cage is depicted as the typical American action movie star; bare muscular build with karate pants and his trademark sunglasses. In his debut, his clothing was modeled directly after Jean-Claude Van Damme's character in Bloodsport, consisting of black shorts with a red sash and black shoes. From MKII to MK4, he is depicted with black pants with blue accents.

In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance onwards, his design becomes a fusion of his first and familiar appearances, regaining the black shorts, but with a Cage emblem and blue belt tied at his waist. He goes barefoot with bandage straps. Interestingly, he has dyed his hair blond.

In Mortal Kombat Mythologies, he has a similar outfit from MK1, but with slight changes: he keeps his sunglasses on all the time, his chest is tattooed with his own name, he has straps on his arms and hands, his pants' accents are blue, and his last name is on his belt.

In Mortal Kombat Future, 20 years prior to the main events of the game, he sports a military vest and pants. His default form in the same game features him with a short sleeved hoodie, along with a grayish blue shirt that partially covers his name tattooed on his chest. He also has bandages wrapped around his wrists and black fingerless gloves.

Bios Edit

  • Mortal Kombat - "There is no greater martial arts movie star than Johnny Cage. Films such as "Dragon Fist", "Time Smashers" and "Citizen Cage" have made him one of the most highly paid actors in Hollywood. But there is more to Johnny than even he knows. He is a descendant of an ancient Mediterranean cult who bred warriors for the gods -- warriors who possessed power beyond that of mortals. This legacy has made Johnny Cage a star. More important, it will aid him in the battle to come."

Kombat Characteristics Edit

Power and Abilities Edit

Despite his air-headed and superficial demeanor, Johnny Cage is a strong and agile warrior, showing an excellent fighting technique during battle. After long periods of training with various masters of martial arts, Cage himself has acquired mastery of several fighting styles, such as the famous Karate.

Although Johnny Cage is a human being, he possesses superhuman powers. According to MK 2011, Johnny descended from a Mediterranean cult that bred warriors for the gods: warriors with special abilities. One of these is the ability to propel himself forward and increase the strength of his blows. When Cage uses this power, afterimages of a green color are produced. Cage can augment the power of these shadow attacks, which are represented by afterimages of a red color. In addition to these physical shadow abilities, Cage also has the ability to launch blasts of energy.

As shown in Mortal Kombat Future, Johnny Cage can also harness this energy and encase his body with it, strong enough to withstand a death blow from Shinnok without receiving any injury to his person. This energy was also potent enough to allow him to fight on equal terms with the Elder God. Raiden theorized that this power can only come about when the want arises to protect a loved one from imminent danger.

Movelist Edit

Signature Moves Edit

  • Green Shadow Kick: Cage slides across the floor with one foot at a steady speed, followed by a green-colored afterimage and connects with a kick to the torso of his opponent with the other one.
    • In MKII the enhanced version is called Eclipse Kick, just like in MKvsDCU, but keeps its green trail. It is executed faster, covers the whole screen, has armor and increased damage.
  • Plasmic Bolt: Cage throws a green orb of energy at the enemy. In MKII and onwards, the bolt is curved upwards.
    • The enhanced versions in MKvsDCU are Double Low ball and Double High ball. In MKO, they are Double Low Forceball and Double High Forceball. In all of these, Johnny fires a second ball in a straight direction.
  • Split Punch: One of Cage's most memorable moves where he does a split and punches the opponent in the groin. This previously only worked on male fighters -- against women, instead of punching, he would simply do a split and stand back up. Available in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and Mortal Kombat II, it can be performed on both male fighters and female fighters.
    • The enhanced version is called Nutcracker both in MK and MKII. In MKF it turns Cage's fist green with energy, increasing its damage. In MKII it's armored and makes Johnny follow up with an uppercut, leaving his foe vulnerable to a juggle.

A-List Edit

Can charge Normal and Special Attacks for increased damage. Bandages around his forearms are now black.

  • Sliding Uppercut: A new move given to Cage that has him do the split and rise up in the air delivering an uppercut to the opponent (this may resemble the Shadow Uppercut and the Split Punch combined).
  • Triple Green Orb: Johnny shoots 3 low green orbs one after another.

Fisticuffs Edit

Gains Fist Bump, Flashy Kombos, and Normal Attacks. Brass knuckles with "CAGE" engraved on them are placed onto his hands.

  • Fist Bump: Johnny claps his fists together, which makes his brass knuckles sparkle and doubles the amount of chip damage landed for a period, making him dangerous to opponents even when they're blocking.
  • Flipkick: Cage does a somersault kick that launches his foe into the air, leaving a green trail. This move began as a command attack available in MK: DA. In MKF it's available in all variations but Stunt Double. Johnny is able to charge it in A-List, which is called Rising Kick, and it is also boosted during Red Shadow Mode.

Stunt Double Edit

Gains the ability to create Stunt Double Mimics. Sunglasses are green in color.

  • Mimic: Johnny creates two yellow shadows around him (his Stunt Doubles), and can send them to perform some specials in his place - namely the Shadow Kick and the Rising Shadow - while Cage himself can stand still and perform other attacks. The Stunt Doubles are also boosted during Red Shadow Mode, becoming red instead of yellow and doing more damage, but only if they're summoned when Cage has 5% health or less.
  • Green Shadow Uppercut: Cage would leap and deliver an uppercut with his elbow which launched his foe into the air, leaving a green trail. In MKII, Cage uses this move as his Breaker attack. In MKII:O it's called Rising Shadow and replaces his Flipkick in the Stunt Double variation, being also one of the few moves his Stunt Doubles can perform.
    • The enhanced version is called Shadow Dropkick. It's armored and adds two overhead kicks after the uppercut, knocking the enemy down. If performed by a Stunt Double, it will land one kick instead of two, but will bounce the opponent off the floor, allowing for a juggle.
  • Straight Forceball: Johnny shoots a Forceball in a straight direction at his opponent. This replaces his Low Forceball in the Stunt Double variation.
    • The enhanced version is called Double Straight Forceball and makes Johnny shoot two Straight Forceballs in a row.

Other Moves Edit

  • Throw: Cage grabs his foe's wrist to snap their elbow, then grabs their ankle to snap their knee and knocks them away with a palm to the rib cage.
  • Reverse Throw: Cage punches his foe twice, drops a low chop to their genitals, forcing them to lean forward, then either sidestepping around to kick them to the curb.

X-Ray Move Edit

  • Ball Buster: Cage taunts his opponent. If, during this time, they attack him, he parries them and performs a triple Split Punch in the opponent's groin area. As they double up, he jumps and then slams his elbow on their back, dealing damage to their spine. There was a glitch that allowed him to do this over and over again without any energy in the super meter by staying crouched while holding down the block button, but the glitch has since been patched. It is also one of the few X-Ray moves that allow the player to continue their combo after doing it; though conversely, it cannot be used to finish off any combos as it requires the enemy to attack.

Finishing Moves Edit

Fatalities Edit

  • Heads Up: This Fatality is a combination of the Head Pop and the Torso Rip Fatalities. Cage uppercuts his opponent's head off, then he finishes by ripping off their torso and throwing it to the ground as the head bounces up. He then catches the head and holds it up.
  • And The Winner Is...: Johnny Cage karate chops the opponent's head in half and takes out a trophy. He then says, "And the award goes to..." and plants the trophy in between the two chopped halves of the opponent's head. Then while the announcer says "Johnny Cage Wins.", Johnny pushes the still-standing dead opponent, making them fall to the ground.

Brutalities Edit

  • Eye Popping: Johnny performs a Nut Punch, punching his opponent's groin so hard that their head comes off. Alternatively, if a Nutcracker (the enhanced version) is performed, their eyes will pop out of the sockets.
  • Blood Spurt: Johnny delivers a Take Two combo to his opponent, which ends in a side kick that decapitates them. The head then flies into the screen.
  • Bring It On: Johnny delivers a devastating Rising Kick that obliterates the opponent torso up. (A-List Variation)
  • Wow Out: Johnny delivers a Speed Bag combo that is powerful enough to remove the opponent's face, with the final hit as an uppercut breaking the opponent's neck. Still upright, Johnny seemingly winds up a final punch, but stops and ends up pushing them over with his finger with a wry chuckle. (Fistcuffs Variation)
  • Fall Guy: Johnny's Stunt Double Shadow Kicks the opponent in half. The double strikes a pose just like Cage does as his victory is announced. (Stunt Double Variation)
  • Break a Leg: Johnny performs his Throw, but snaps the opponent's right arm and right leg clean off before sending them away with a palm strike. (Secret)

Sequences Edit

Battle Intro Edit

Johnny Cage shadow kicks into the battlefield and says, “Let’s dance!”

Victory Pose Edit

Johnny Cage’s sunglasses break apart and gets out another pair of them. After putting them on, he says “Oh yeah.”

Endings Edit

  • Mortal Kombat - "As the last remnants of Shao Kahn disintegrated, Johnny felt strange, as if he had lost control of his body. Suddenly, powerful energy burst forth, destroying everything around him. Johnny sought the aid of Raiden and Nightwolf, but their efforts did nothing to stop these random spasms of destruction. Desperate, Raiden transported Johnny to Seido, the Realm of Order, where he could be taught to control his power. Johnny Cage will transform into a warrior powerful beyond mortal imagining."

Trivia Edit

  • The original name for Johnny Cage was Michael Grimm. It was changed during pre-production of the first MK.
  • Brandon Lee was originally cast as Johnny Cage for the first film, but he died before filming began.
  • Cage's "real name" came from Midway game programmer John Carlton, who worked on the popular NBA Jamarcade series.
    • The name John Carlton was briefly mentioned in Johnny Cage's song from the Mortal Kombat album by the techno group "The Immortals."
  • Johnny Cage has an unlockable skin in Mortal Kombat X showing his outfit used in his fictitious movie, Ninja Mime.
  • Johnny Cage is one of only two playable characters in Mortal Kombat X to have two throws; the second throw can only be used if Johnny is below 10% maximum health, with Red Shadow active, or if Fist Bump is active in his Fisticuffs variation. The other character with two throws is Ferra/Torr.
  • Cage's body can be seen in the introduction of Mortal Kombat: Deception, located on the beginning of the stairway which leads to the Soulnado chamber.
  • Despite being the first character designed for the game, Cage was the last character in the original MK to be given a Fatality. Until a last-minute brainstorm by co-creator John Tobias that later evolved into the Head Punch Fatality, he was simply going to throw his opponent across the screen.
  • In the first game, Cage was modeled after the Belgian actor, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The creators wanted Van Damme to be Johnny Cage in the first Mortal Kombat, but Van Damme was unavailable due to his movie work.
    • Johnny Cage's clothes in the first Mortal Kombat are almost identical to the clothes Van Damme wore in the last match in the 1988 movie Bloodsport, his split punch is taken directly from a move done by Van Damme in said movie, and Cage's Nutcracker Split Punch and "Blood Spurt" Brutality were also inspired by the movie.
      • The fictitious Johnny Cage film "Ninja Mime" is most likely inspired by the opening scenes from the action film "The Quest" in which the hero, dressed like a mime, evades authorities using martial arts-like moves. The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, whom Johnny Cage is based upon, as the lead role.
      • Concept art for the Shrine in Mortal Kombat X shows a portrait of Johnny Cage's ancestor, who bears a strong resemblance to him.
  • In early arcade test versions of MKII, the word "Otomix" appeared on Cage's pants, but was omitted in subsequent chip upgrades. Otomix is an established supplier of martial arts and athletic wear.
  • The Red Shadow Kick, and Red Shadow Uppercut special moves happened randomly in Mortal Kombat II. In Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat Gold, selecting Player 2's outfit would cause the moves to have red shadows, rather than green. In MK 2011, the red shadow attacks return as powered up versions of Cage's original green shadow attacks, and in MKX, when Cage has below 5% health, his shadow attacks will turn red.
  • Johnny Cage was cut from the Game Boy version of MK due to memory constraints.
    • There was, however, a cheat code that made him playable, but he uses Sonya's sprite.
  • Cage's character model was exclusively recreated for Mortal Kombat Trilogy because (Contrary to popular belief) Daniel Pesina parted ways with Midway due to a lawsuit over royalties. He was replaced by Chris Alexander.
    • This was the first instance of Cage wearing his sunglasses while fighting, whereas previously, he would only wear them during a victory pose, something that has persisted in all his appearances since then.
  • In the first film, after Cage defeats Scorpion, a photo signed 'To my greatest fan' lands in the debris, a nod to his Friendship finishing move in Mortal Kombat II.
  • According to some of the extras in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, his official biographies, some of the endings, the official comics, the officially-released "Johnny Cage: In Your Face" and "Fight Dirty" videos, Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, and Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Johnny Cage has starred in the following movies:[1]
    • Ninja Mime
    • Dragon Fist
    • Dragon Fist 2
    • Son of Dragon Fist
    • HWAAAAA!!
    • Sudden Violence
    • Aquatic Assault
    • Exiting the Dragon of Death
    • 7 Poisons
    • Cage Match
    • The Gist of my Fist
    • 24 Karate Gold
    • Who's That?
    • Wu Shu (TV Series)
    • Mortal Kombat
    • Mortal Kombat II
    • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
    • Mortal Kombat: The Death of Johnny Cage (Canceled)
    • Caged Rage
    • Every Dog Has Its Day
    • Massive Strike
    • Iron Claw
    • Time Smashers
    • Citizen Cage (a spoof of Citizen Kane)
    • Tommy Scissorfists (a spoof of Edward Scissorhands)
    • Fight Dirty
    • World's Most Wanted (a spoof of Wanted)
    • Fly High
    • Power Rangers (TV series presumably based on the real-life series produced by Saban Capital Group)
    • You Got Caged
    • You Got Saved (He inspired it, at least)
    • Stryker: I Was Doing My Job (Canceled)
    • Breaknose Mountain (a spoof of Brokeback Mountain)
    • TV commercial for Cage Cologne
      • He also appeared on Celebrity SMASH TV. He won the episode he was in, and donated his winnings to charity.
  • Though Mortal Kombat is notorious for replacing the letter "c" with "k," Cage is an exception. It's probably more than coincidence that Kage (影, pronounced "ka-ge") in Japanese means "shadow," and Johnny Cage is the master of many shadow move techniques.
  • In Unreal Championship 2, Raiden will occasionally taunt his opponent by stating that they "fight like Johnny Cage!".
  • His MKII ending showed him battling Shao Kahn on the big screen.
  • A tombstone entitled "CAGE" can be seen in the Graveyard arena for every game but MK (2011).
  • The movie poster seen during Cage's ending in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance featured himself as the main character, with several other characters appearing as well, including Sonya Blade as his romantic interest, and Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, Scorpion, and Moloch as antagonists.
  • Reportedly, John Vogel did not like Cage's storyline in Mortal Kombat Trilogy or Mortal Kombat 4.
    • Furthermore, his Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance bio can be viewed as retconning this, with Mortal Kombat: The Death of Johnny Cage explaining (and mocking) his repeated death and revival during Trilogy and MK4.
  • He was the first character created for Mortal Kombat, and the test prototype of the original game had two Johnny Cage's fighting each other.
  • A glitch in MK makes Johnny Cage's uppercut, if performed quick enough, knock off a phantom head of the opponent, though this can only be done on Kano, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion. In MKII, this became an actual fatality, but this time, Johnny Cage uppercuts three heads off.
  • Originally, he used a variant of Mileena's X-Ray Move before it was changed to his infamous "Split Punch."
  • In another Top 10 list hosted by, Johnny Cage was placed at #9 of the P.A.B. ("Pussy Ass Bitch") characters in gaming history, due to his nutpunch.
  • Johnny Cage's official theme is titled "Prepare Yourself."
  • In his MKF intro with Goro, he references the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie by asking Goro, "Don't you owe me some sunglasses?".