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The Real Reason We Won't Get Shaggy In Mortal Kombat 1

If you've spent any sort of time on the internet in the last few years, you've probably heard the jokes about Shaggy from "Scooby-Doo!" possessing superpowers and unparalleled fighting prowess, right? What started as a series of fan edits and memes depicting Shaggy as a ruthless warrior — colloquially known as "Ultra Instinct Shaggy," a reference to the powerful "Dragon Ball Super" transformation — eventually morphed into a full-blown campaign to get the character added to the long-running "Mortal Kombat" series. 

Fans have shown their support for this concept in many ways, including modding other games to incorporate Shaggy as a playable character. Even longtime Shaggy actor Matthew Lillard, who was initially weirded out by the jokes, eventually became a fan of the idea and said he'd be down to voice the character in a fighting game.

At this point, the Ultra Instinct Shaggy gag has been so thoroughly explored by jokesters on the internet that some might even think the meme is dead at this point (more on that in a bit). You'd be wrong, however, as there are still a great number of fans holding out hope for an appearance from Shaggy in a proper "Mortal Kombat" game — perhaps even the upcoming "Mortal Kombat 1." Unfortunately, there's a very solid reason to believe this is never going to happen.

Shaggy's been shot down by the man at the top

The main reason we won't get Shaggy in the next "Mortal Kombat" is a pretty simple one: "Mortal Kombat" co-creator Ed Boon seems to dislike the idea. Although he leaned into the jokes a little bit early on, even sharing fan art and cosplay pictures of Shaggy, he's also made it clear he's not terribly keen on officially adding the cartoon character to the "MK" roster. Boon seemed to stop having fun with the idea pretty quickly, responding to one fan who asked for Shaggy on Twitter with "Let me know how that works out for you." 

Ed Boon is not alone in thinking it's never going to happen, either. Even after a petition to add Shaggy to "Mortal Kombat 11" reached over 300 thousand signatures, NetherRealm Studios community manager Tyler Landsdown said in response, "Shaggy will not be in the game, at all, ever. Sorry. Dead meme."

Warner Bros. and NetherRealm did famously get in on the joke in 2021, however, when Shaggy made an unexpected cameo at the beginning of the animated film "Mortal Kombat: Battle of the Realms." In a pre-title sequence, Shaggy can be seen emerging from the WB logo to grab "MK" mainstay Scorpion by the throat, all the while glowing with an unearthly energy. This easter egg had fans in a tizzy, with even Ed Boon getting in on the joke for the first time in a while.

This is the only semi-canonical appearance of Shaggy in a "Mortal Kombat" product, and it's clearly meant as a joke. While Ed Boon's ambivalence to Shaggy's inclusion is definitely the primary reason why the character won't pop up in "Mortal Kombat 1," there's one other factor that might make Warner Bros. hesitate to add the character.

Shaggy's already doing battle elsewhere

Lest we forget, Warner Bros. has already given Shaggy a starring role in another video game. In 2021, fans who've held out for Shaggy in "Mortal Kombat" had their minds blown by the announcement of "MultiVersus," a crossover brawler in the tradition of "Super Smash Bros." that pits characters from WB's library against one another. At long last, players could control Shaggy as he threw down against the likes of Batman, Arya Stark, and the Iron Giant. The game's version of Shaggy even leans into the memes by allowing him to power up into an Ultra Instinct-style form. And perhaps best of all, Shaggy is voiced in "MultiVersus" by none other than Matthew Lillard, bringing the joke nearly full circle.

"MultiVersus" isn't perfect, but it certainly has its fans, and those fans were mighty annoyed when the game's open beta was shut down less than a year after launch. It's been months since players have gotten to guide Shaggy into battle, and it's currently unclear when the full version of the free-to-play title will launch, other than an early 2024 window.

However, with a game starring Shaggy still waiting in the wings, it seems quite unlikely that the character would make the leap over to "Mortal Kombat 1," particularly since Ed Boon is still in charge and not really a fan of adding Shaggy to the mix. Fans shouldn't give up hope entirely; after all, much-requested characters like Homelander from "The Boys" will be joining the fray in "MK1." Even so, it's looking like "MultiVersus" will be gamers' main source of Shaggy action — until mods start coming out for "Mortal Kombat 1," of course.