|Mortal Kombat character|
Sindel in Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
|First appearance||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)
|Portrayed by||Lia Montelongo (MK3, UMK3, MKT)|
Eileen Weisinger (Live Tour)
Musetta Vander (Annihilation)
Beatrice King (Legacy)
|Voiced by||Lani Minella (MK 2011)|
Kelly Hu (MKX)
Mara Junot (MK11)
|Weapon||Kwan Dao (MK:D, MK:U, MK:A, MK:11)|
|Family||Jerrod (Ex-Husband; Deceased)|
Shao Kahn (Husband)
|Fighting styles||Zha Chuan (MK:D, MK:U, MK:A) |
Fu Jow Pai (MK:D, MK:U)
Sindel (or Queen Sindel by title) is a 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 Queen of the evil emperor Shao Kahn. Sindel is only a supporting character with few overall playable appearances in the games, but she still plays a relevant part in the series storyline, especially in Mortal Kombat 3 and the 2011 reboot of the series.
In video games
Queen Sindel rules the otherworldly realm of Edenia alongside her daughter, Princess Kitana. Her storyline begins 10,000 years prior, when her kingdom lost ten consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments and was invaded by the evil Outworld emperor Shao Kahn, resulting in a forceful merging of the two realms. Sindel was forced to witness her people's enslavement, her husband King Jerrod murdered, and their then-infant daughter Kitana adopted by the Kahn and raised as his own. This proved too much for her, as she committed suicide rather than become Shao Kahn's consort. However, during the events of Mortal Kombat 3, Shao Kahn resurrected her with the assistance of the sorcerer Shang Tsung in Earthrealm, which would allow the Kahn to invade Earthrealm without victory in Mortal Kombat while regaining his queen in the process. Sindel was successfully revived, but in a brainwashed state with no knowledge of her past so she would be completely loyal to Shao Kahn. He was only able to garner a partial merger of the realms following her revival however, before Raiden's chosen Earthrealm defenders defeated him. Additionally, Kitana—realizing that her mother was alive—succeeded in procuring an audience with her and convinced her of her true past, turning Sindel against the emperor. As Shao Kahn's defeat also allowed Edenia to regain 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 Shao Kahn for his crimes.
However, one of Sindel's subjects, Tanya, betrayed her homeland and allowed the fallen Elder God Shinnok's Netherrealm forces to invade her palace. Though Kitana escaped, Sindel was captured and imprisoned in her own dungeon until Shinnok's forces were defeated. Enraged at this latest invasion of 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. However, Edenia was once again invaded, this time by the Dragon King, Onaga, who had killed and resurrected Kitana and her Earthrealm allies before placing them under his control. Sindel was once again confined to her own prisons, guarded by her own daughter until she was freed by Jade, allowing her to scour Edenia for more information on Onaga so she could free Kitana from his control. In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Sindel's non-canonical ending sees her defeating Blaze and obtaining godlike powers. With these newfound abilities, she resurrected her husband King Jerrod. Together with Kitana, they resolved to work together to ward off tyrants like Shao Kahn and keep the realms safe.
In the rebooted timeline of Mortal Kombat (2011), Sindel's story follows that of the original timeline, though she is resurrected by Quan Chi instead of Shao Kahn. After receiving Shang Tsung's powers, she killed most of Earthrealm's warriors, Jade, and Kitana before Nightwolf sacrificed himself to kill her. Following this, Sindel was resurrected by Quan Chi as one of his undead revenants. In Mortal Kombat X, Sindel's revenant returned as a non-playable character, serving as one of Quan Chi and the fallen Elder God Shinnok's enforcers in the Netherrealm. She would take part in several battles on both of their behalves, only to be defeated.
Sindel appears as a DLC character in Mortal Kombat 11, which drastically alters her history. In this timeline, the established story is a lie she told to appease her subjects. When Shao Kahn invaded Edenia, she personally murdered King Jerrod out of spite for his perceived weakness and willingly became the Kahn's wife to gain more power. Believing she was distracting Shao Kahn, Quan Chi killed Sindel and made it appear as if she committed suicide before using her soul to temporarily stop Shao Kahn from invading Earthrealm. In the DLC story expansion, Aftermath, Shang Tsung captured Sindel's revenant and revived her to help him capture Kronika's Crown of Souls. Sindel agreed and helped him while also reconsolidating her power with Shao Kahn before betraying Kitana and Earthrealm's forces. After helping Shang Tsung breach Kronika's keep however, the sorcerer in turn betrayed Sindel and Shao Kahn; absorbing their souls in retaliation for killing him to empower Sindel.
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."
In other media and merchandise
In the 1995 one-shot issue comic book 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.
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, Vander's wig 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. The film crew could not decide if the good Sindel should use another costume. 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.
Sindel was featured character in the 1996 theatrical show Mortal Kombat: Live Tour, in which she was played by martial artist and stuntwoman Eileen Weisinger. 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.
Sindel has been generally well received. A 1997 article in Ação Games, for instance, ranked her as the 12th top female video game character yet. In 2011, AlteredGamer ranked Sindel as seventh in their selection of the series' best characters. In The Gameological Society's 2012 ranking of video games' top "overbearing mother figures," she placed twelfth. On the other UGO.com ranked Sindel 27th in their 2012 rating of 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. Jon Hamlin of The Game Scouts ranked her seventh in his 2013 selection of the series' top characters.
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 Fatalities. 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 "serious movie moments that are unintentionally hilarious," calling it "a combination of awful writing and dreadful acting." It was included in io9's ten "greatest unintentionally hilarious lines" from science fiction and fantasy films, and among the "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?" Topless Robot placed her third on their list of Mortal Kombat characters "that are goofy even by Mortal Kombat standards" in 2011. Her portrayal in Mortal Kombat 11 received heavily negative reactions by critics and fans alike, many believing that the game's retcon of Sindel as a willingly evil character to be an unnecessary deviation from her established character arc.
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