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If you were to compile a list of pop culture phenomena from the 1990s, chances are the Power Rangers would be on it. Heck, if you grew up during that time, chances are "Go, Go, Power Rangers!" will forever be trapped in the recesses of your mind. For those of you who happened to miss this spandex-laced, hokey creature-filled TV insanity, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was the extremely popular live action kids action series that began airing in 1993. It followed a group of teenagers who harnessed special powers to "morph" into a team of different-colored, masked, ninja monster fighters. Although the franchise remained on TV after the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ended its three season run, its popularity is nowhere near what is used to be. However, that may soon change.
Saban Entertainment and Lionsgate have announced that a new Power Rangers film will be hitting theaters in the near future. Although the Power Rangers have appeared on the big screen before, specifically with 1995's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and 1997's Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, this will undoubtedly be their biggest cinematic venture yet. Not only will the movie be an introduction to the franchise for kids, but it will also be a major nostalgia trip for older fans. Although the movie is still a few months away, there's plenty of information out there to give us an idea of what to expect when it finally arrives. Here's everything we know so far about the upcoming Power Rangers movie.
What Is The Power Rangers Release Date?
Power Rangers was originally set to be released this past July, but after several delays, it was finally moved to March 24, 2017, which is a wise decision. At first glance, Power Rangers sounds like the perfect summer blockbuster, but with heavy hitters like Wonder Woman, The Mummy, Transformers: The Last Knight, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War of the Planet of the Apes and plenty more coming out next summer, the teenagers with attitude wouldn't have stood a chance, regardless of how popular they were in the '90s. Moving to March was a wiser decision, as the Power Rangers movie will have a better chance of standing out, though it will go up against King Arthur: Legend of the Sword that same weekend.
What Is The Power Rangers Rating?
Power Rangers hasn't been officially rated by the MPAA yet, but judging by the reports of how this tale is said to be more mature than the TV series, it seems likely that it will be given a PG-13 rating. This movie is intended to follow in the footsteps of other young adult franchises like The Hunger Games and The Divergent Series. It's not going to be the R-rated, gore fest like that Power Rangers fan film from last year, but it will definitely have a lot more depth, especially when it comes to character development, as evidenced by the trailer. Add in better visual effects, more intense fighting and maybe even a curse word or two, and you'll get cinematic Power Rangers for a new generation. It's probably not wise to bring younger kids to the theater, but everyone above age 10 should be able to handle this story just fine, though parent accompaniment may be necessary in some cases.
Although he has directed a few short films, Power Rangers will only be Dean Israelite's second major motion picture. His first was Project Almanac, a found footage, sci-fi adventure about a group of teens who travel back in time for personal gain (crazy kids) - but their temporal intrusions end up causing accidents in the present. Although the movie earned over $32 million at the box office (much more than its $12 million budget), it earned mixed-to-negative reviews from both critics and the general audience - so hopefully Israelite will have better luck with Power Rangers.
Penning the Power Rangers movie is X-Men: First Class duo Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who are delivering a "mature but still playful" take on the story, according to Israelite. Together these two also worked on Thor and the TV series Fringe, as well as Star Trek Beyond and the upcoming Big Trouble in Little China remake. So they have plenty of experience in the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy.
After numerous conflicting reports about whether this movie would be a continuation of the existing Power Rangers TV universe or be a straightforward reboot, it was finally confirmed that it will be the latter. So rather than build on the expansive world seen on the small screen, the Power Rangers movie will re-tell the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers story in the modern day, giving fans new versions of those same protagonists, allies, villains, etc. It's way too soon to tell how much of the Power Rangers lore will be retold on the big screen (for instance, will they ever explore the Zeo era?), but over two decades after they took the '90s by storm, now is a good time to give audiences a new take on the classic Power Rangers.
The Red Ranger
Every team needs a leader, and in the original series that was the role of the Red Ranger, a.k.a. Jason Lee Scott. Jason, originally played by Austin St. John, consistently proved himself not just to be an effective leader and good friend, but a regular badass, armed with his Power Sword and impressive fighting skills. Whenever he shouted "It's morphin' time!" you knew things were going to be kicked to the next level. After Tommy (more on him later) became the White Ranger, Jason was relegated to second-in-command, though he didn't seem too bothered by the demotion.
In the rumored character descriptions for the movie that were previously mentioned, Jason is described as the guy who everyone knows around town, and he was the high school's star quarterback until he injured his knee in a car crash. With his dreams squashed, he'll still be trying to find himself when we first meet him. However, the trailer implied he had a run-in with the law, as evidenced by the tracking bracelet around his ankle. Dacre Montgomery, who kicked off his acting carer with the short film Bertrand the Terrible, has been cast as the Power Rangers movie's Jason, so he'll be leading the team as the Red Ranger.
The Pink Ranger
Amy Jo Johnson originally played Kimberly Ann Hart, the first Pink Ranger. Kimberly started out as a stereotypical valley girl when the series began, but with each passing episode she became more kind-hearted. That being said, she was always shown to have her friends' backs, including her love interest, Tommy. Her primary weapon was the Power Bow, and her role as a Power Ranger fit nicely with her gymnastics skills. She was eventually succeeded by Katherine Hillard, but returned for an appearance in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.
The cinematic version of Kimberly has been described as someone who used to be one of the "popular" girls, but after a six month absence, she's returned to school changed. While she's still considered cool, now she's rocking an edgy attitude to hide the secret that's making her feel vulnerable. Terra Nova's Naomi Scott, who has also appeared in The Martian and The 33, will play the movie's Kimberly and rock the Pink Ranger costume.
The Black Ranger
Zack Taylor, originally played by Walter Jones, filled the smooth player role on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. His enthusiasm was contagious, and you could always count on him being there to cheer up his friends. He was also frequently known for busting out cool dance moves, which he would sometimes incorporate into his fighting. In battle, he also used the Power Axe, which doubled as a laser cannon. Zack later passed the Black Ranger mantle to Adam Park.
According to reports, Zack's personality is largely being kept the same in the movie, where he is described as being the "life of the party." Zack's coolness and talent for one-liners never fails to help him with the ladies, and he also happens to be a skilled athlete - though he would rather be doing his own thing. However, his bravado is masking his inferiority complex, specifically that he lives in a trailer park with his single mom. But surely his joining the Power Rangers team will help with this. Ludi Lin has been officially announced to play Zack the Black Ranger in the movie. Lin has previously appeared in Monster Hunt and an episode of the Netflix series Marco Polo.
The Blue Ranger
Billy Cranston, originally played by David Yost, was the brains of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, regularly creating many of the team's gadgets. He started out as a stereotypical nerd that was tormented by bullies like Bulk and Skull (no word yet on if the comical duo will be in the movie), but as the series continued, his time as a Ranger fighting bad guys with the Power Lance boosted his confidence. Billy is the only character to have appeared throughout Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' entire run, making him the longest serving Ranger over the show's three seasons. When Power Rangers Zeo began, Billy wasn't made a Ranger, but continued to serve as the team's tech guy until deciding to stay on the planet Aquitar near the end of that series.
Billy's high intelligence is being kept for his movie portrayal, according to the leaked cast descriptions, but his social awkwardness has also been heightened. Among the challenges he deals with are showing his emotions, understanding sarcasm and coping with his OCD. He's never really had any friends, but finds himself instantly drawn to Jason as a buddy. RJ Cyler will play Power Rangers' Billy the Blue Ranger, and before this, he earned recognition for his role as Earl in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
The Yellow Ranger
In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Trini Kwan, originally played by Thuy Trang, was the team's calm-headed, environmentally-conscious member who enjoyed many different types of sports. She was also the team's second most intelligent Ranger after Billy. As the Yellow Ranger, she wielded the Power Daggers in battle, but her powers were later transferred to the second Yellow Ranger, Aisha Campbell.
In the movie, Trini is constantly having to move around because of her parents' work, consistently making her the "new girl" at school. She is described as "self-sufficient, contemplative, but always observant," and while she won't admit it, she is looking to find a close group of friends, which she'll finally get with the other Power Rangers. Becky Gomez will round out the modern team as Trini, the Yellow Ranger. Gomez is best known as a pop singer, but acting-wise, she played herself in an episode of Austin and Ally, and later played Valentina Galindo in two episodes of the Fox series Empire.
The Green Ranger
Tommy Oliver, played by Jason David Frank, may not have been one of the original five Power Rangers, but looking at the entire franchise, he's become its most-well known protagonist. Tommy was introduced on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers as the new kid at school who was quite likable. Unfortunately, Rita Repulsa got ahold of him and after putting him under a spell, she gave him the secret sixth Power Coin and turned him into the Green Ranger. The Rangers fought Tommy during the "Green with Evil" arc, but eventually they broke Rita's control over him, and he subsequently joined the team.
In Season 2, Tommy's Green Ranger powers went away, but after a brief hiatus, he came back as the White Ranger. After Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ended, Tommy became the Red Ranger in Power Rangers Zeo, and retained the same color during the first part of Power Rangers Turbo. He picked up the Zeo powers again in the Power Rangers: Wild Force episode "Forever Red" (reuniting him with Jason), and in 2004's Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, he served as the team's mentor and the Black Ranger. He was most recently seen in the Power Rangers: Super Megaforce finale "Legendary Battle" wielding his Green Ranger powers.
Tommy was the only Ranger not mentioned in the previously reported character descriptions, so much like the first half of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, this movie may only feature the five original Rangers. That's not to say Tommy won't appear at all, but right now the odds of seeing him as the Green Ranger aren't looking good. Should Power Rangers do well in theaters, no doubt a sequel will be ordered, and perhaps that movie will throw Green Ranger in the mix. Just like in the TV series, perhaps he'll start out as an enemy, but by the end he'll be their team's newest recruit.
The Power Rangers fought Rita Repulsa first on the TV series, so having her as the movie's main villain makes perfect sense. Played by Elizabeth Banks, Power Rangers' Rita will remain an alien who, after thousands of years of being imprisoned, will awaken in the present day and set out to conquer Earth with her forces. Of course, those who watched Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers can see right away that Banks' Rita looks radically different from her TV counterpart. In this universe, she will wear green, scale-like armor, which certainly looks more modern compared to the costume from the TV show. Besides that, though, it's unclear why Rita's look has been altered so much, though some suspect it may have something to do with setting up the Green Ranger, especially since her staff appears to contain the Green Power Coin.
It also looks like this Rita is more willing to get her hands dirty, as evidenced by her attacking one of the Rangers in their home. Rita served as a recurring villain in the Power Rangers TV universe for many years, but we'll have to wait and see whether her movie self returns for a sequel or will be eliminated to make way for another villain, like Lord Zedd. Fortunately, it sounds like Banks is shying away from the character's over-the-top personality.
The Power Rangers didn't decide to become Earth's defenders on a whim. They were recruited by a mighty benevolent being named Zordon, and Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston will play that mentor in the Power Rangers movie. We don't how this version of Zordon will look yet, but if the the production is staying close to the original source material, then we can at least expect him to be a giant floating head in a transparent tube with a deep, booming voice. With his robot assistant Alpha 5 (who is also reportedly appearing in the movie), Power Rangers' Zordon will bequeath the Rangers their powers and advise them on how to defeat their enemies, all while passing on some life lessons along the way.
Fun fact, this won't be Cranston's first time working in the world of Power Rangers. He previously voiced two different monsters in the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers TV series, and the producers were so fond of Cranston that they gave Billy the Blue Ranger his last name, thus making him Billy Cranston. Over two decades later, he's returning to the franchise as one of its lead stars.
Zordon isn't the only one helping the Power Rangers from the Command Center. Assisting the giant floating head in a tube is Alpha 5, the robot with the high-pitched voice best known for repeatedly exclaiming "Aye yi yi yi yi!" Alpha 5 was one of the main sources of comic relief in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, but he was nonetheless one of the team's most trusted allies. He was later succeeded by Alpha 6 during the latter half of Power Rangers: Turbo, Power Rangers in Space and Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy.
As for who will portray Alpha 5, it was announced that he'll be voiced by Saturday Night Live veteran Bill Hader. Most of you are well familiar with him in front of the camera, but voice acting-wise, his credits include Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its sequel, Monsters University, Inside Out, Sausage Party and The Angry Birds Movie. Concept art has also revealed that this version of the robot looks much different than his TV counterpart. It looks like his original look has been mixed with a squid creature wearing a UFO helmet. Regardless, with Hader voicing Alpha 5, it's safe to say that he'll still be a funny character.
Rita Repulsa is powerful, but even she isn't capable of invading an entire planet on her own. She'll need an army to accomplish her goals, and one of her key underlings will be Goldar. In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Goldar often led attacks on Angel Grove and the Rangers, usually with a squad of Putties in tow. Despite being a powerful warrior, he was frequently defeated by the team of heroes, namely Jason and Tommy, thus leading to him being insulted by Rita or Lord Zedd.
There's no word yet on what Power Rangers' version of Goldar will look like, including whether he'll be made with practical effects or be an all-CGI creation. One would imagine that his resemblance to an alien ape with wings will be retained, but that's not guaranteed. Regardless, if the movie is making the effort to include him, that means we'll likely see him in some notable action scenes.
With their badass fighting skills, heavy weaponry and teamwork, the Power Rangers can take down any threat that comes their way. Nevertheless, inevitably, the monsters they fight are almost always revived and turned into giant monstrosities. That's when the Rangers call in their Zords, giant mechanical animals or vehicles. These robots are already powerful individually, but their true potential is revealed when they all combine into one massive humanoid robot called a Megazord. If you've watched the anime Voltron, it's almost exactly like that, or if you're more into American media, think along the lines of the Jaegers from Pacific Rim.
Each Power Rangers team's Zords revolve around a specific theme. In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' case, their Zords were originally based off prehistoric creatures. The Tyrannosaurus belonged to the Red Ranger, Pterodactyl to the Pink Ranger, Mastodon to the Black Ranger, Triceratops to the Blue Ranger, and Sabertooth Tiger to the Yellow Ranger. When Green Ranger joined the show, he commanded the mighty Dragonzord, which could take down monsters by itself or combine with the main Megazord. Those same beasts will be used as the fighting machines, though like the Rangers' costumes, their designs are significantly altered.
The Original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Whether this movie is a reboot or exists next to the TV shows, it would be fun to see some of the original actors back. However, it would be impossible to get the six of them back together. Yellow Ranger actor Thuy Tang tragically passed away in a car accident in 2001, and over a decade after his departure from Power Rangers Zeo, David Yost said that he left the franchise after being verbally assaulted by certain members of the cast and crew about his homosexuality - so it's doubtful whether he wants to be involved. Austin St. John, Amy Jo Johnson and Walter Jones are all still involved with the Power Rangers fan community (typically appearing at conventions), but it's anyone's guess if they would want to return to that world or if Saban would ask them to do so.
That leaves MMA fighter Jason David Frank (pictured above), who, in case you couldn't tell during the Green Ranger section, has stayed heavily connected to the franchise for all these years. Frank has already mentioned he is involved with the movie in some capacity, and as an added bonus, he also revealed last year that he expects to cameo. We'll have to wait and see who he'll be playing, but either way, it'll be great to see Frank back in his element.
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