|Mortal Kombat character|
Sindel in Mortal Kombat (2011)
|First game||Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)|
|Created by||John Tobias|
|Designed by||John Tobias (MK3/UMK3/MKT)
Atomhawk Design (MK2011)
Jennifer L. Parsons (Annihilation)
Allisa Swanson (Legacy)
|Voiced by||Lani Minella (MK 2011)
Kelly Hu (MKX)
|Portrayed by||Lia Montelongo (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
Eileen Weisinger (Live Tour)
Musetta Vander (Annihilation)
Beatrice King (Legacy)
|Fighting styles||Zha Chuan (MK:D, MK:U, MK:A)
Fu Jow Pai (MK:D, MK:U)
|Weapon||Kwan Dao (MK:D, MK:U, MK:A)|
Sindel (or Queen Sindel by title) is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. She made her debut in Mortal Kombat 3 as the mother of Princess Kitana and the unwilling wife of the evil emperor Shao Kahn. Despite being a supporting character with few overall playable appearances in the games, Sindel plays a vital part in the development of the series storyline, especially in MK3 and the 2011 reboot of the series.
In video games
Sindel rules the otherworldly realm of Edenia alongside her daughter, Princess Kitana. Her storyline begins 10,000 years ago, when her kingdom lost ten consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments, and was then invaded by evil Outworld emperor Shao Kahn, resulting in the forceful merging of the two realms. Sindel was forced to witness the enslavement of her people, the murder of her husband, King Jerrod; and their then-infant daughter Kitana being adopted by Kahn and raised as his own. This proved too much for her, and she therefore committed suicide rather than becoming Kahn's consort. However, in the events of Mortal Kombat 3, Shao Kahn resurrected her with the assistance of the nefarious sorcerer Shang Tsung, but on Earthrealm instead of Outworld, which would in turn allow Kahn to invade Earthrealm without victory in Mortal Kombat while regaining his queen in the process. Sindel was successfully revived, but purposely in a brainwashed state with no knowledge of her past, and swearing complete loyalty to Kahn. Kahn was only able to garner a partial merger of the realms by her revival, however, before Raiden's chosen Earthrealm defenders defeated him. On top of that, Kitana—realizing that her mother was again alive—succeeded in procuring an audience with her and convincing her of her true past, thus turning Sindel against the emperor. As Kahn's defeat also succeeded in Edenia regaining its independence from Outworld, Sindel regained her rightful place on the throne, and vowed not only to rebuild their home, but to also bring down Kahn for his many crimes.
However, those plans had to wait, as one of Sindel's people, the daughter of an Edenian ambassador to the realms named Tanya, betrayed her homeland and allowed the Netherrealm forces of the fallen Elder God Shinnok to invade the palace. Though Kitana escaped, Sindel herself was captured and held in her own dungeon until Shinnok's forces were defeated. Enraged at this latest invasion on her kingdom, Sindel sent Kitana to form an alliance with the Shokan armies and lead them into battle against a weakened Shao Kahn while she continued to help restore Edenia to its former beauty. Unfortunately for her, Edenia was once again invaded, this time by the Dragon King, Onaga, who had resurrected Kitana and her Earthrealm allies and placed them under his control. She was once again confined inside her own prison, this time guarded by her own daughter, but was freed by Jade. She scoured Edenia for more information on Onaga that might lead her to a way to free Kitana from his control. In Sindel's Mortal Kombat: Armageddon ending, she defeats Blaze and obtains godlike powers. With these newfound abilities, she decides to resurrect her husband King Jerrod, reaching out to the Heavens and taking his soul. She gives him flesh and bones, allowing him to live once more. Now Sindel, Jerrod, and Kitana will work together to ward off evil tyrants like Shao Kahn and to keep the realms safe and protected.
In the 2011 remake installment of the first three entries in the series, Sindel's story follows that of her first timelines. However, later in the game, her story alters. She singlehandedly manages to destroy many of the Earthrealm warriors and their allies in a temple where they were rallying to plan a counterstrike at the Outworld forces. Reveling in her victory and power, she becomes overly confident and distracted as Nightwolf, one of the few characters who was not killed in her initial raid, performs a sacrificial ritual that kills himself, but also obliterates Sindel in the process. She then becomes an undead slave to Quan Chi, along with all the other warriors that were killed throughout the story mode (except for Shang Tsung, whose life force had been transferred to her by Shao Kahn, and Motaro, whom Raiden smote before he could kill Johnny Cage), including those she managed to destroy. In Mortal Kombat X she is still a revenant serving as an enforcer for Quan Chi and Shinnok in The Netherrealm.
Design and gameplay
During production of Mortal Kombat 3, Sindel was nicknamed "The Bride" and "Muchacha" by the developers before her official name was determined; John Tobias described her as "probably one of the coolest characters." She was played by actress Lia Montelongo (additionally Sareena in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and the motion capture for Tanya in Mortal Kombat 4, both released in 1997), who was nineteen years old when she auditioned for the role. The process of applying her makeup and heavy wig took three hours, while her costume was red like those of the game's other characters, but digitally tinted purple for the game. Montelongo filmed game footage in a single fourteen-hour session, and in a 2001 interview with fan site Dave's Mortal Kombat, she revealed that after MK3's release, she would visit arcades to watch people play as Sindel. Sindel's "that was fun" quote from her Friendship in MK3 was used in the second film.
Sindel is the first character in the Mortal Kombat series who used the power of levitation as both a move used in combat and as a victory pose. She uses her screams as both stun moves and for some of her Fatalities. In the 2011 reboot, Sindel sported a similar but updated look resembling her MK3 appearance. She had no use of her hair as a weapon in Deception and Armageddon, but it returned in the reboot for both basic attacks and special moves. Prima Games considered Sindel well-balanced with a slight advantage over the game's other characters, while her "vast array of low attacks and multitude of projectiles and juggles bring her to the top of the food chain when it comes to the world of competitive Mortal Kombat."
Other media and merchandise
In the 1995 one-shot issue "Sister Act," featuring Kitana and Mileena and published by Malibu Comics, Sindel has a minor appearance before Kahn's takeover of Edenia, and her hair therein is black, as opposed to the games' silver. Her fate after the invasion was ignored, with just Jerrod's death at the hands of Kahn and Shang Tsung shown. She had another brief role in a special-edition tie-in comic book that was included with the 1998 PC home release of Mortal Kombat 4, in which Quan Chi cons his way into Edenia by posing as a refugee from an annexed realm, and he offers Sindel a mysterious orb that she accepts, but it opens a portal through which Shinnok and his Netherealm denizens (including Reiko and Scorpion) emerge, and they capture Edenia.
Sindel was a featured character in the 1996 theatrical show Mortal Kombat: Live Tour, in which she was played by martial artist and stuntwoman Eileen Weisinger. In the 1997 film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Sindel had a supporting role and was portrayed by South African actress Musetta Vander. Her general backstory with Kitana was kept intact, and in subplots exclusive to the film, she is named the new general of Shao Kahn's extermination squads following the death of Rain, plus she works with Jade in luring the Earthrealmers into an ambush in Outworld, a task they fail and for which Jade is put to death. She uses all her MK3 special moves in the film, in separate attempts to defeat Raiden; for her "Hair Whip" maneuver, her hair transformed into computer-generated razor-tipped braids that were rotoscoped onto her head. In the final battle at the film's climax, Sindel is defeated by Kitana, who elects to spare her life. After Kahn's death, Sindel is brought back to life with Kahn's curse over her broken. In the movie novelization by Jerome Preisler, Sindel pledges her Edenian kingdom to Liu Kang as a reward for his defeat of Kahn, but he respectfully refuses.
Although Sindel was never seen nor mentioned by name in the 1998 television series Mortal Kombat: Konquest, her canon biography was acknowledged when Kitana declared that her mother had killed herself following the execution of King Jerrod, rather than be subservient to Kahn.
Sindel's backstory at the time of Kahn's invasion of Edenia was again highlighted in the fourth episode of the 2011 first season of the Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series, at the beginning of a two-parter featuring Kitana and Mileena. She was played by Canadian actress Beatrice King (credited in the show as "Beatrice Ilg"), who had originally auditioned for Mileena before being cast as Sindel. King, who was familiar with the character from her brother having played the Mortal Kombat games, additionally "researched how she came about and her relationship" to King Jerrod. Though King has a background in kickboxing, she had no fight scenes in the episode, but she felt that "it was very important to show this regal quality about" the character, "and that sense of duty."
Sindel has featured very little in official Mortal Kombat merchandise. She was one of twenty Mortal Kombat characters featured on 2.5" x 3.5" collectible magnets by Ata-Boy Wholesale in 2011, and Syco Collectibles released a polystone character statuette in 2012.
UGO.com ranked Sindel 27th in their 2012 rating of the top fifty Mortal Kombat characters, and she placed 29th in Den of Geek's 2015 ranking of the series' 73 playable characters, mainly for her slaughter of the Earthrealmers in the MK2011 story mode. "Sindel takes a respectable leap up the ranks because, holy shit, that scene," which the site further described as her going "all John Cena on a huge chunk of the cast." Jon Hamlin of The Game Scouts ranked her seventh in his 2013 selection of the top series characters. "Despite not being playable in many of the Mortal Kombat games, Sindel has played a major role in [the] Mortal Kombat universe." In 2011, AlteredGamer ranked Sindel as seventh-best in their selection of the series' ten best characters. "The Queen of Edenia symbolizes ethereal nature and her aerial magic can be quite devastating if used in the right way." In The Gameological Society's 2012 ranking of video games' top fifteen "overbearing mother figures," she placed twelfth. "They say that no parent is harder to please than the one that’s been brainwashed into fealty by a cruel god-emperor." Sindel was ranked among Topless Robot's "8 Mortal Kombat Characters That Are Goofy Even by Mortal Kombat Standards" in 2011, placing third. "She floats around several feet in the air for no reason (a move that does little but make you vulnerable) with eyes that are completely freakishly white, and her screams tear flesh from a person's body."
Her finishing moves have been fairly well-received. GamePro included her "Killer Hair" from Mortal Kombat 3 among their top twelve "lamest" Fatalities, and ScrewAttack rated her "Swan Dive" Hara-Kiri from Mortal Kombat: Deception eighth in their 2011 selection of the top ten worst series finishers, but in 2010, Game Informer listed her "Scream" from MK3 as one of the series' best Fatalities, though they described Sindel herself as "campy." Prima Games ranked her "Migraine" Fatality from the 2011 reboot, in which she screams directly into her opponent's ear and causes their head to explode, 20th in their 2014 list of the series' top fifty Fatalities. "Let's just hope she doesn't have an interest in singing lessons." Complex ranked it as the third-best Fatality of all time in 2013, while calling her "the hottest zombie to ever walk the Earth."
However, Sindel has gained infamy for her appearance in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, specifically for her first spoken line of dialogue at the beginning of the film during Shao Kahn's invasion of Earth, when she says, "Too bad you...will die" in response to Kitana's shock at her unexpected resurrection ("Mother...you're alive"). Filmsite.org included it in their selection of the worst movie quotes, while Shaun Munro of WhatCulture ranked it fifth in his 2013 listing of the "10 Serious Movie Moments That Are Unintentionally Hilarious," calling it "a combination of awful writing and dreadful acting ... I've seen less ham in a slaughterhouse." It was included in io9's ten "greatest unintentionally hilarious lines" from science fiction and fantasy films, and among the "7 Worst Line Readings of All Time" by Funny or Die's Cory Matthews. Sean "Seanbaby" Reiley deemed it the worst line in the movie: "Was there some sort of contest ... where collecting enough Nabisco snack points let you write dialogue for a feature film?"
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