Epic Rivals: Kitana vs Mileena
Just like Ryu and Ken in the Street Fighter games, Mortal Kombat also has its own set of Epic Rivals, like Kitana vs. Mileena.
In the early days of fighting games, it seemed like palette swaps were the name of the game. Just like Ryu and Ken in the first few Street Fighter games, Mortal Kombat saw its ninjas share the same character model with the only difference being their colors.
In the case of Kitana and Mileena, Mortal Kombat creators Ed Boon and John Tobias took it a step further by making Mileena a look-alike not only in design but also in story. That is, whenever they're both wearing their masks.
Kitana, the daughter of Edenia's rulers, King Jerod and Queen Sindel, was raised by Shao Kahn as his daughter after he invaded their world and murdered its ruler. Using Kitana to maintain his control over her world, the fearsome Kahn had Shang Tsung create a hybrid clone in his flesh pits named Mileena, Kitana's new sister.
For hundreds of years, Kitana lived with the belief that Mileena was her twin sister, but in reality, the clone was Shao Kahn's contingency plan in case Kitana ever betrayed him. With her entire existence revolving around Kitana, Mileena developed a deep-seated hatred for the princess borne largely from envy.
So even though they aren't truly sisters, their nurture and the dynamic between them shows all the makings of a sibling rivalry gone horribly wrong. While Kitana saw her so-called sister as a spy and evil imposter, Millena saw Kitana as everything she wasn't and resented her for it.
Both cruel, arrogant assassins, thanks to how they were raised, Kitana adopted a kind selfless personality after meeting the warriors of Earthrealm, learning the truth of her family and Shao Kahn's machinations. Teaming up with her new allies, Kitana helped free her people from Shao Kahn's control and aided in his defeat. However, Mileena remained a servant of Shao Kahn, sticking to her cruel and evil ways.
The female Ninjas have fought each other on numerous occasions, with Kitana victorious virtually every time. This shows that Kitana is the more skillful of the two, even though Mileena possesses her "sisters" strengths in addition to Tarkatan abilities. On paper, the hybrid clone should be the victor, but that's where Kitana's superior skill comes into play.
While Kitana wields Battle Fans that she uses both as a close range weapon and projectile, Mileena favors sai's in the same manner. In addition to this, she's also got a wide mouth full of vicious teeth, which is the main physical differentiation between both ninjas. Knowing Shang Tsung, it's quite possible he gave Mileena this physical trait on purpose as a cruel joke.
Both female ninjas are deadly, with Mileena a vicious fighter while Kitana relies more on tact. The latter is also a great leader, managing to unite the races of Outworld, while Mileena had a brief and disappointing reign after Shao Kahn's death. Ed Boon has called them the female counterparts to Sub-Zero and Scorpion, but the women's rivalry is far more twisted and complicated than the men's. It stems from their backgrounds and inherent nature, with Mileena always seemingly the villain.
In both timeliness, the sisters have died, but following the ascension of Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 11, it's no longer so clear cut. Kitana is certainly ahead on the scoreboard, but in the Mortal Kombat universe, anything can happen to anyone. Afterall, both Liu Kang and Kitana were murdered and turned into revenants that eventually came to rule Outworld as evil Emperor and Empress.
After being killed by D'vorah, Mileena didn't make an appearance in Mortal Kombat 11 until the release of its Aftermath expansion. But even with this, she appears in a Friendship in which both sisters play patty cake, so Mortal Kombat 11 doesn't add anything to the tally.
While Kitana alludes to accepting Mileena during the recent game, it's doubtful the hybrid-clone will be willing to forget their rivalry or let a little thing like death get in the way. However, seeing the sisters united and working together wouldn't be the strangest thing we've seen in the Mortal Kombat franchise so far.