An anemic effort from ineffectual deities! Today, I become THE Elder God!


—Shao Kahn to Raiden in Mortal Kombat (2011).


  • Mortal Kombat (2011): "Emperor Shao Kahn's lust for power is matched only by his ruthlessness. Millenia ago he overthrew Onaga as ruler of Outworld and has conquered many other realms since. Eventually he turned his attention to Earthrealm. The Mortal Kombat tournament prevents him from taking the realm by force, but if Shao Kahn's champions win 10 consecutive tournaments, Earthrealm will be his. As long as his champions Shang Tsung and Prince Goro do not fail him, he will be victorious."


Mortal Kombat (2011)

As the timeline shifts, the first Mortal Kombat tournament is the focus. While Shao Kahn is not there, he is monitoring the tournament. When Shang Tsung is defeated by Liu Kang, an irate Shao Kahn prepares to kill Shang Tsung. However, Shang Tsung offers an alternate solution for Shao Kahn: holding a tournament in Outworld with new rules. Shao Kahn agrees, and rejuvenates Shang Tsung.

During the second Mortal Kombat tournament, Shao Kahn is physically present. He also makes some of the matches instead of Shang Tsung. Shao Kahn becomes frustrated when after Sub-Zero defeats Scorpion, the Lin Kuei cyborgs appear in front of him. While he allows them to take Sub-Zero away for automation and is granted the Lin Kuei's loyalty and service, he demands that Kitana explain why Earthrealm warriors are able to brazenly appear before him, when he had earlier ordered her to kill them. Before she can explain, he dismisses her, which allows Raiden the opportunity to sway Kitana to the Earth warriors' side. When Kitana discovers the experiments in Shang Tsung's Flesh Pits, she defeats Shang Tsung and brings him to Shao Kahn. Contrary to Kitana's expectations, Shao Kahn compliments the sorcerer instead. He then reveals to Kitana that her whole life has been a lie, and orders her to be executed and replaced by Mileena. In the process, Kitana's best friend Jade overhears this, and aligns with the Earth warriors to rescue Kitana and defeat Shao Kahn.

Near the end of the second tournament, Shao Kahn pairs Shang Tsung with Quan Chi to face Kung Lao. However, they fail to defeat Kung Lao. Shao Kahn then sends out Kintaro to fight Kung Lao, but Kintaro also fails. As the arrogant Shaolin Monk celebrates his victories, Shao Kahn breaks the rules of the tournament by snapping Kung Lao's neck without issuing a challenge to Mortal Kombat. While Raiden attempts to electrocute Shao Kahn, an enraged Liu Kang assaults Shao Kahn. Liu Kang proceeds to defeat Shao Kahn, and punches a hole through his chest, mortally wounding him.

Later in the throne room, Kahn's lieutenants argue over who should be the new ruler of Outworld. The argument is quickly ended when Shao Kahn appears before them alive. It is revealed that Quan Chi used his sorcery to heal Shao Kahn. Upon returning to the throne room, Kahn berates Shang Tsung, as now Outworld has been forced to give up its claim to Earthrealm forever. Quan Chi, however, offers Shao Kahn an alternative solution: A direct invasion of Earthrealm.

Quan Chi explains that Kahn's former queen Sindel realized that the Mortal Kombat tournaments provided Earthrealm no real protection against Outworld. Thus, she committed suicide to create a barrier that would prevent Shao Kahn from physically entering Earthrealm and merging it with Outworld. Quan Chi goes on to explain that this barrier could be nullified if he were to resurrect and corrupt Sindel. Shao Kahn agrees to this, and in exchange, grants Quan Chi the souls of any Earthrealm warriors who are killed. With Sindel resurrected, Shao Kahn had an open window to merge Earthrealm with Outworld. He starts the invasion of Earthrealm as a result.

When Motaro is brought back dead, having been killed by Raiden, he is enraged. Sindel, however, states that she will finish what Motaro has started. To ensure that Sindel does not fail, Shao Kahn drains the souls from Shang Tsung's body, killing him. He then transfers the souls into Sindel. During this time, Kabal attempts to attack Kahn, but is intercepted by Mileena and Noob Saibot. After Kabal defeats Mileena and Noob, Kahn orders Quan Chi to seal the portal to Earthrealm, but Kabal manages to escape just in time.

After Sindel kills most of the Earth warriors before being killed herself by Nightwolf's sacrifice, Quan Chi reveals to Raiden in the Netherrealm that all of the souls of the lost warriors were granted to him by Shao Kahn. It is also during this time that Raiden discovers who "He must win" truly is: Shao Kahn. If Shao Kahn is allowed to merge the realms as he intends, he will be breaking the rules of Mortal Kombat, and the Elder Gods will destroy him.

As Shao Kahn appears to merge the realms, Liu Kang attempts to stop him, despite Raiden's warnings. Raiden electrocutes Liu Kang, which results in Liu Kang's apparent death. Sonya and Johnny Cage attempt to stop Shao Kahn, who quickly incapacitates them with ease. After this, Raiden surrenders to Shao Kahn. Shao Kahn gleefully attacks Raiden and beats him mercilessly. However, just as Kahn prepares to finish Raiden, the Elder Gods intervene, giving Raiden their powers. Raiden and Shao Kahn face off, and Raiden finally defeats Shao Kahn. As the weakened Shao Kahn attempts to attack Raiden one final time, Raiden blasts all of the Elder Gods' power into Shao Kahn, and the Elder Gods take Shao Kahn away for punishment. Raiden, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage then leave to help rebuild the world.

At the end, Quan Chi is seen picking up what's left of Shao Kahn's helmet. He then speaks with the fallen Elder God Shinnok, who reveals that all of the events in the game were actually part of Shinnok's master plan to escape the Netherrealm and take control of both Earthrealm and Outworld.

Mortal Kombat X Comic Series

Shao Kahn is featured in several flashbacks throughout the comic. As revealed by Kotal Kahn, Shao Kahn invaded the realm of Osh-Tekk ages ago, slaughtering the warrior race alongside his champion, Goro. When the ruler of Osh-Tekk, Kotal K'etz, surrenders, Shao Kahn allows him to keep his realm's treasure, the Portal Stone, in recognition for the Osh-Tekk's obedience. Shao Kahn would then merge Osh-Tekk into Outworld.

Sometime later, Shao Kahn, joined by Goro and his general, Reiko, would invade the Arnyek Islands before the Kytinn's could mount a proper defense. While other Kytinns ran at the sight of the emperor, one did not, and Shao Kahn demanded to know why she did not, at first believing her to be the queen of her people. The Kytinn declared herself the Kahn's humble servant and knelt before him. Shao Kahn ultimately spared this Kytinn, D'Vorah, from her people's fate and allowed her to serve him.

During the events of Shang Tsung's final tournament in Earthrealm, Shao Kahn ordered Reptile to enter, believing the sorcerer to have his own agenda and demanded Reptile do whatever he must to ensure victory. When Reptile continued to suffer defeat after defeat, Shao Kahn ordered Kotal Kahn to execute the Saurian for his failures but Kotal Kahn instead requested to take command over Reptile. Despite Kahn's reservations, he allowed it.

Before his death, Shao Kahn had become impressed with his general Reiko's ruthlessness in conquering in his name, and adopted him.

Though long dead, Shao Kahn's weapon, the Wrath Hammer, would be wielded by Kotal K'etz when he was tasked with hunting down the traitors Reiko and Mileena. Goro would reclaim the hammer from K'etz after killing him, and Reiko took the hammer with him to Shang Tsung's Island, where Ermac would give it to Kahn's heir, Mileena, the weapon used to kill Reiko in a single blow, though not permanently due to his soul being tied to the Blood Code at the time.