—Shang Tsung speaking at the beginning of the first Mortal Kombat tournament.
- Mortal Kombat (2011): "A treacherous sorcerer who consumes the souls of his victims, Shang Tsung has played host to the last nine Mortal Kombat tournaments in Earthrealm, stacking the odds in favor of his master. Originally from Earthrealm, Shang Tsung's magical abilities led him to discover the realm of Outworld. There he fell in league with its ruler, Shao Kahn, and pledged his life to him in return for enhanced power. He is now bound to the emperor by powerful dark magic. For centuries he has submissively done Shao Kahn's bidding. Should he fail in his mission to secure Earthrealm, he will suffer the emperor's wrath."
Mortal Kombat (2011)
Shang Tsung hosts the first Mortal Kombat tournament in his elderly form. It is Tsung who decides who faces who for each match, and forces Johnny Cage to be the first of the Earthrealm fighters to fight first following insults made by Cage regarding Tsung's age. However, Cage overcomes the challenges thrown at him by Tsung. Later, after Sonya manages to free her superior, Jax, from imprisonment, Shang Tsung prevents them from leaving his island by shooting their rescue helicopter down. He also attempts to have the Lin Kuei Cyrax killed for speaking with Raiden. When the final Earthrealm competitor, Liu Kang, remains, Shang Tsung attempts to stack the deck against him. Each attempt, however, fails, as Liu Kang defeats all of his challengers, including Goro. Shang Tsung is the final opponent for Liu Kang, and is ultimately defeated, sparing Earthrealm from being merged into Outworld.
When Shang Tsung returns to Shao Kahn, he is almost executed for his failure. However, Shang Tsung proposes a new idea for a single tournament to be held in Outworld. Shao Kahn agrees to the concept, and rejuvenates Shang Tsung. As Shang Tsung goes to the Wu Shi Academy to tell Raiden of the latest tournament, Tarkatans attack the academy when the Thunder God rejects. Raiden engages Shang Tsung in combat, with the latter managing to escape back to Outworld. During the attack, Sonya is captured by Shang Tsung, forcing Raiden to accept the latest rules and start the second tournament.
Shang is seen in the Emperor's throne room, when Raiden, Jax, and Johnny Cage show up. Jax impulsively steps up to find out where Sonya is, and Shang announces they have a "volunteer" for First Kombat. Shang then makes Jax fight Baraka. Jax defeats Baraka and then confronts Shang Tsung, demanding to know where Sonya is. Shang just makes a snide comment about how Jax and Sonya are always having to rescue each other. He is about to make Jax fight a new opponent, when Reptile appears and whispers something to him. Shang asks the Emperor permission to pause the Tournament while he attends some important business.
Later, Shang Tsung is seen in the Living Forest striking a deal to buy Black Dragon weaponry from Kano. They are interrupted by Smoke, who wants to know how the Elder Sub-Zero died. After Kano fails to defeat Smoke, Shang Tsung morphs into the elder Sub-Zero and partners with Reptile in an attempt to defeat Smoke, but they ultimately fail. Sektor then appears and attacks Smoke, allowing Shang Tsung, along with his allies and bringing the Black Dragon's weaponary to escape.
Shang Tsung is again seen in Kahn's Arena, administrating over the matches. When the Younger Sub-Zero appears and demands to fight Scorpion, the murderer of his older brother, Shang Tsung tells him that no one makes demands of the Emperor. He then orders Reptile to attack Sub Zero.
After Kitana discovers and defeats Mileena in Shang Tsung's Flesh Pits, the sorcerer appears and reveals to Kitana that he is "perfecting" her by creating clones of her. The two then fight, and Kitana subdues him. When Kitana brings Shang Tsung to Shao Kahn for punishment for his experiments, she is shocked when Shao Kahn praises him instead, revealing that he knew about Shang Tsung's activities all along. As a result, Kitana is imprisoned while Shang Tsung is released and ordered to fetch Mileena. Later on, Shao Kahn has Shang Tsung team up with Quan Chi to face Kung Lao. Kung Lao proves victorious over both sorcerers.
After Shao Kahn's defeat and apparent death at the hands of Liu Kang, Shang Tsung is among the Outworlders deciding who should replace Shao Kahn as emperor. When Mileena is suggested by Baraka, Shang Tsung scoffs and argues that Mileena only exists as a result of his sorcery - implying that he should be the new emperor. Shao Kahn emerges, however, and thus Shang Tsung's quest to become emperor is quickly ended. Shao Kahn is furious with Shang Tsung, as now Outworld can no longer absorb Earthrealm. Quan Chi, however, suggests that Outworld simply invade Earthrealm, convincing the Emperor that the Elder Gods are too weak to stop him.
During the invasion, Kabal, a former friend and ally of Kano, is badly burned by Kintaro. Kano brings Kabal back to Outworld, where Shang Tsung uses his magic to heal some of Kabal's injuries. When Motaro is killed by Raiden during the Earthrealm invasion, the recently revived Sindel states that she will finish what Motaro has started. To ensure her success, Shao Kahn drains the souls from Shang Tsung's body and transfers them into Sindel, killing Shang Tsung in the process. However, when Raiden asks Quan Chi for assistance in the Netherrealm, Shang Tsung is not among the resurrected souls. It is possible that Quan Chi did not resurrect him purposely, since Shao Kahn allegedly only granted Quan Chi the souls of the fallen Earthrealm warriors for his service but not those of his own willing servants (hence explaining why Sindel was amongst those Quan Chi resurrected but Shang Tsung and Motaro were not).
- Mortal Kombat (2011) (Non-Canonical): "Shang Tsung voraciously consumed Shao Kahn’s soul, absorbing his immense power. Overwhelmed by his new found sorcery, he fled to Outworld. Moments before suicide, Shang Tsung was visited by Bo' Rai Cho. The mentor of warriors offered to teach him to control the dark magic, but for a special purpose: Liu Kang had become a god. The power had corrupted him, transforming him into a tyrant. He needed to be stopped. After rigorous training, Shang Tsung mastered the one technique that could finish Liu Kang. Vengeance would finally be his."