|Mortal Kombat character|
Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat (2011)
|First game||Mortal Kombat (1992)|
|Created by||John Tobias (with brainstorming input from Ed Boon)|
|Designed by||John Tobias (early games)|
|Voiced by||Olivia d'Abo (MK: DotR)
Jennifer Hale (MK: The Journey Begins)
Dana Lyn Baron (MKvDC, MK2011)
|Motion capture||Elizabeth Malecki (MK, MKII)
Kerri Hoskins (MK3, UMK3/MKT, MK4, Live Tour)
Lorrisa Julianus (MK2011)
|Portrayed by||Bridgette Wilson (first film)
Sandra Hess (second film)
Jeri Ryan (Rebirth and Legacy)
Carly Baker (promotion)
|Origin||Earthrealm (United States)|
|Fighting styles||Kenpo (MK:DA)
Tae Kwon Do (MK:DA, MK:A)
|Weapon||Wind Blade (MK4, MKG)
Kali Sticks (MK:DA, MK:A)
Sonya Blade is a video game character from the Mortal Kombat series. Debuting in the original Mortal Kombat game from 1992, she was a late addition to the game as developers decided deep into the development cycle that the game needed a female character. In the series canon she is an officer of the U.S. Army Special Forces and later a specialized U.S. government agency. Her goal in most of the games is to pursue and capture Kano, as well as eliminate his criminal syndicate, the Black Dragon. In later games she is joined in this effort by her comrade Jax.
One of the mainstays of the Mortal Kombat franchise, she has been a playable character in almost all of the games of the main series. She has also appeared in spin-off titles and other media, such as the two live action films, the spin-off animated series, the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy and various Mortal Kombat comics. Several action figures modeled on the character's likeness have also been created.
In video games
|This section requires expansion. (December 2012)|
Lieutenant Sonya Blade is one of the main heroes of the MK series. She is a second-generation United States Special Forces officer who formerly served under her own father, Major Herman Blade (other family members include Sonya's mother, Erica, and twin brother, Daniel). Later, she joined the Outer World Investigation Agency. Her impulsiveness is catalyzed by her superior and good friend Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs. Sonya represents an emancipated and headstrong woman, who despite stubbornness and pride cares about the lives of her friends and comrades. She has a long-standing enmity with the thug Kano, who stands for everything Sonya despises.
In the original Mortal Kombat, Sonya and her team were pursuing Kano, the leader of the Black Dragon international crime organization. After he jumped onto a ship, they followed him to a remote island where Shang Tsung's Mortal Kombat tournament was underway. Upon arrival, they were ambushed by Tsung's personal guard. To keep her team safe, she agreed to compete in the tournament. Shang Tsung, however, had no intention of fulfilling his end of the bargain and had her unit killed. After Shang Tsung was defeated by Liu Kang in the final battle, Sonya teamed up with Johnny Cage and Kano despite her hatred of the latter, to fight Goro on the bridge high above the pit. During the battle, the island started to crumble and she and Kano were taken prisoner to Outworld by Shang Tsung to appease the Outworld emperor, Shao Kahn. Sonya was able to send a signal to her superior Jax from Outworld and, during the events of Mortal Kombat II, he traveled there to find her. Jax made contact with the other Earthrealm warriors and together they learned of Kahn's scheme to invade Earth. It is known that before being captured, Sonya and Kano were forced to put their differences aside and work together to survive in Outworld. She was later freed by Jax who arrested Kano, but as soon as they had passed through the portal to Earth Kano escaped and ran back into Outworld.
Sonya was one of a few selected Earthrealm warriors whose souls were not taken following Kahn's invasion of Earth in Mortal Kombat 3. She encountered Kano on top of a skyscraper near his fortress and after a fight hurled him off the roof to his apparent death. In Mortal Kombat 4, after her journey into Outworld and Shao Kahn's near destruction of Earth, Sonya became a member of Earth's own Outworld Investigation Agency (OIA). The Black Dragon kept crossing her path, however, and its last known member (Jarek) had fled to Edenia while Sonya was chasing him. This led Sonya and Jax to team up with Raiden and Liu Kang to free that realm from the Fallen Elder God Shinnok's grasp and to prevent him from coming to Earth. After Shinnok's defeat, in which Jarek had reluctantly participated to save himself, Jarek tried to kill Sonya but Jax interfered and dropped him off a cliff. After returning to Earthrealm Jax and Sonya found Cyrax malfunctioning in a desert. The two brought the cyborg back to the OIA headquarters where they were able to restore Cyrax's humanity. Cyrax then joined the agency.
In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, while on an assignment in the East, Sonya received a distressing message from Jax that the OIA had been destroyed by an accomplice of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi. She was then visited by the God of Thunder, Raiden, who asked for her aid against the Deadly Alliance and instructed her to meet with the other heroes on Shang Tsung's abandoned island, where she developed a small rivalry with Frost. To earn the right to pass into Outworld, each warrior had to defeat a representation of his or her adversary - to her surprise, it was a stranger with an image of a red dragon on his back. Sonya was unable to find the two missing OIA agents, Cyrax and Kenshi and was killed along with Jax and Cage in battle with the Deadly Alliance's Tarkatan forces. The Deadly Alliance's victory was short-lived, as Onaga reclaimed Outworld, as well as the amulet. With his ability to raise the dead at will, he resurrected and enslaved Sonya and her fallen comrades. (As Sonya and her comrades appear normal in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, it is likely that Ermac and the spirit of Liu Kang had freed them from Onaga's control.) In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Sonya returns to Earth after Onaga's defeat, with the intention of continuing her assault on both the Red and Black Dragon clans, only to be forced to focus on the newly established threat. In her absence, the Tekunin had grown large enough to disrupt Earth civilization and had violated law by engaging in illegal inter-realm alliances with unknown parties. Sonya succeeds in downing the Tekunin's flagship, helmed by their Grandmaster Sektor himself. She then sends a team led by her partner Jax in to hunt for survivors, but they mysteriously vanish and Sonya fears the possibility of Jax's death. She tracks the signal of a homing beacon placed on Taven (escaped thanks to her intervention) and eventually confronts him in Arktika to get information out of him, but is beaten.
In the non-canonical crossover game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Sonya appears as one of the warriors representing the Mortal Kombat Universe. In the story mode, Sonya is investigating the dimensional imbalance. After defeating Catwoman, Baraka and Captain Marvel and Green Lantern, Sonya and Jax return to their base to use their own teleportation machine to try to get to the other dimension, freeing the captive Sub-Zero along the way. When she finds Jax at the hands of Green Lantern, Sonya once again challenged him but is defeated and imprisoned, but then both of them manage to escape together. When the Earthrealm's heroes and Outworld's villains join forces against the invaders from the other universe, Sonya reluctantly teams up with Kano to track a foreign energy signal, but they confronted and defeated by the Joker and Deathstroke. When both sides finally decide to meet for one last battle, Sonya once again fights Catwoman. In the end, she is knocked unconscious while Raiden and Superman proceed to fight Dark Kahn. After Dark Kahn’s defeat and the separation of the universes, Sonya stands alongside her allies and enemies to see a powerless Darkseid left behind in Shao Kahn’s palace.
In Mortal Kombat (2011), Sonya is one of only two survivors from the Defenders of Earthrealm (the other being Johnny Cage).
Design and gameplay
|This section requires expansion. (November 2013)|
There were originally no plans for Sonya's inclusion in Mortal Kombat, which was supposed to feature only six characters, and she was added only when the president of Williams gave the development team an additional six weeks (adding to its already ten months of production) and told them to polish the game. At first, the additional character was actually Jax; when the developers decided they need a female character, Sonya was created and his story was applied to her. She was named after one of Ed Boon's sisters, as confirmed in Tanya's biography card in the special edition of Deception.
According to John Tobias, Sonya and Kano were the least popular characters of the first game and they decided to replace them, saving image space and time for the new characters. The two were promptly dropped for the sequel and appear in MKII only in one of the backgrounds, chained in Kahn's Arena (producers also said Sonya was "chucked out" from the game in favour of Kitana and Mileena as part of revamping the game, so it would better compete against Street Fighter II).
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces was to have both Jax and Sonya as playable characters, but Sonya's part was dropped again due to deadline issues exacerbated by Tobias's sudden departure from the company. During the development of the unreleased Mortal Kombat 8 (cancelled in favor of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe), Sonya's look would be "dramatically revamped" and she was to be given more character backstory, described as "the daughter of a Texas Ranger".
According to Nintendo Power, Sonya could be a "Juggling demon" in Mortal Kombat Trilogy when in hands of an experienced player. According to Total 64, Sonya "is a nifty little fighter" in Trilogy, whose only weakness is that her attacks are lacking power when compared to some of the other characters.
In other media
|This section requires expansion. (November 2013)|
Sonya was one of the main characters in Malibu's comic book adaptations. She first appeared in the Blood & Thunder miniseries in hot pursuit of Kano alongside her partner Sparky, who was later killed by Kano in one of only two organized fights that commenced in the entire series; she succeeded in capturing Kano at the conclusion of Blood & Thunder, but he was later freed by his Black Dragon cohorts. In the second series, Battlewave, Sonya investigated a brutal attack on Jax. Convinced that only someone from Outworld could inflict such injury, she ventured into Shang Tsung's island only to be ambushed and captured by Kintaro; she was brainwashed by Reptile into marrying Shao Kahn, but the Earth warriors intervened during the ceremony and Sonya was able to break free from the trance by herself. The comics suggested a love interest between Sonya and Johnny Cage and a recurring rivalry against Mileena.
In Jeff Rovin's 1995 non-canon Mortal Kombat novel, Sonya (nicknamed "Gilly") traveled along with Kano and the rest of the Black Dragon, disguised as a criminal named Gilda Stahl. Her mission was to ensure that the Black Dragon did not kill anyone, although she had a personal interest in getting Kano, as he had murdered her fiancee. Her cover was eventually blown by Shang Tsung.
Sonya was a primary character in both Mortal Kombat films. Bridgette Wilson was cast in the first movie after the filmmakers' first choice, Cameron Diaz, suffered a broken wrist during martial arts training prior to shooting. During production, Wilson was given the nickname "RoboBabe" by director Paul Anderson. Sonya's personality and storyline are faithful to the games in keeping with her vendetta against Kano for murdering her partner. During the tournament, she fights Kano and ultimately kills him. Later in the film, she is captured by Shang Tsung and taken to the Emperor's castle in the wastelands of Outworld where she is challenged by Shang Tsung to final combat. The arrivals of Liu Kang, Johnny Cage and Kitana prevent this, and Sonya is subsequently freed from her chains by Cage, with whom she shares a mutual attraction. Taking Sonya's place, Liu Kang goes on to defeat Shang Tsung and win the tournament.
In the novelization of the first movie, there was an additional scene in the beginning showing Sonya discovering the mutilated body of her partner, Lieutenant Bill van Hoven, who was killed by Kano. In an early screenplay draft of the film, Sonya was also supposed to duel Jade and win after a short but intense fight. In the novelization, Sonya wins the fight before it even begins, when she kills Jade with a surprise kick to the head as Jade bows to her.
Sandra Hess took over the role of Sonya in the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Sonya is devastated by the death of Johnny Cage, who was killed by Shao Kahn after saving her life, and struggles to cope with her grief. After rescuing her old partner Jax from an extermination squad led by Cyrax on Shao Kahn's orders, she reunites with Liu Kang and Kitana in hopes of stopping Kahn from bringing the Earth to ruin.
Sonya was one of lead characters in the animated TV series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, where she was voiced by Olivia d'Abo. Her vendetta against Kano was explained and was explored further in two separate episodes, in which Kano was shown to have killed her partner, named Wexler.
Jeri Ryan reprised her role in Rebirth in the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy. She was originally confirmed to return in the second season of Legacy but turn it down due to her work on the third season of Body of Proof. Kevin Tancharoen also said Ryan might return as Sonya in Season 3.
Promotion and merchandise
In 2011, the model Carly Baker cosplaying as Sonya, along with the others dressed as Mileena and Kitana, were featured in her a live-action trailer "Sonya Blade Kasting" and an official photo session. All three also attended The Gadget Show: World Tour. Action figures of Sonya were released by Hasbro (1994), Toy Island (1996), Infinite Concepts (1999), and Palisades Toys (2000). A 1/6 scale limited-edition statue of Sonya in her primary costume from MK2011 was released in the Mortal Kombat Enchanted Warriors line by Syco Collectibles in 2012, another, larger statue was released in 2013.
Critical reaction to Sonya has been positive, with commentators noting the character's sex appeal and toughness. In 2008, GamesRadar chose Sonya as one the iconic video game "babes" of the early 1990s era. GameDaily had her featured among "the next wave of video game babes" in 2008, also showcasing her as one of the "hottest" blondes in the video game world in 2009. She was included in Unreality’s Queen of the Iron Fist Tournament, winning against Anna Williams but losing to Ivy Valentine. Sonya also shared the eight place with Kitana and Mileena on the list of the "hottest" women in video games" by Complex. MTV ranked her as the second "best babe" in video games of 2011, stating that "few gaming babes portray raw sexuality better and more effectively than this special ops legend who has Barbie's good looks and G.I. Joe's hand-to-hand combat skills." That same year, UGO ranked her as the third "foxiest fighting female to be ever pixelated," stating that "in her early appearances, Sonya Blade wasn't quite as sexy as other women on this list, but her moveset more than made up for it." In 2012, MSN included her among the 20 "hottest women in video game history", stating that "independent, tough, and willing to put herself on the line for her friends, Sonya Blade is the embodiment of the modern woman. Well, except for the part where she can sometimes rip your head off."
Game Rant included her on their list of ten "most awesome" Mortal Kombat characters, stating that "while not nearly as unique as some of the other kombatants on the list, Sonya Blade is integral to some of the more interesting story-threads in the Mortal Kombat universe", citing her pursuit for Kano. In 2012, "the hot, butch" Sonya was given the eight place on UGO's list of top Mortal Kombat characters. That same year, she was at seventh place on Cheat Code Central's list of top Mortal Kombat "kombatants", along with a comment that "the badass army chick was all the rage back in the 1990s, but now she's part of a dwindling number of female characters that really kick ass." Her "Double Split" in the 2011 game was included by FHM on their list of nine most brutal Fatalities in the game. In the 2013 top list of Mortal Kombat characters by Dorkly, Sonya placed 18th, noted as "of the more grounded and strong-willed characters in MK history."
In 2010, UGO rated her fight with Kano in the first Mortal Kombat film as the 19th best cinematic fight scene. Ranking this scene as the best in this film, UGO also commented that "Sonya Blade has always been sort of an also-ran character in the Mortal Kombat franchise, taking second place to the busty ninja sisters Kitana and Mileena. But the movies gave her a chance to shine." In 2011, Complex ranked Wilson's role as Sonya at 12th place on the list of "hottest women in video game movies", but with likeness factor of only 29% (as compared to Sonya's later appearance in the video game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe). On the other hand, 1UP.com's Retronauts opined Wilson was miscast and not convincing in the role.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sonya Blade.|
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- Join Bob Mackey, Jose Otero, Marty Sliva, Retronauts Live Episode 43, 1UP.com, 2012.