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Warning: massive spoilers ahead for Power Rangers. Don't read any further if you do not want to know anything about the update on the classic series!
Dean Israelite's Power Rangers is basically every 1990s kid's dream. It is a love letter to one of the most iconic TV shows from that iconic decade, and it takes every opportunity to revel in the legendary Power Rangers lore. No scene in the movie epitomizes that more than the mid-credits scene, which sees a teacher call out Tommy Oliver's name in detention and sets up his inevitable introduction. I recently had the chance to chat with Dean Israelite about fitting a character like Tommy into the story, and he explained that including that mid-credits stinger felt like a proper tease for future adventures involving the Green Ranger. The director explained:
If you are a fan of the old Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, then the name Tommy Oliver should instantly make you perk up. Tommy (played by Jason David Frank in the original series) is unquestionably the longest serving and most iconic member of the Power Rangers. His tenure as the Green (then White, then Red, then Red again, and then Black) Ranger is one of the most beloved and well-known aspects of the entire Power Rangers mythos. The mid-credits sequence in Power Rangers does not actually show the rebellious loner, but knowing that he is a new kid at Angel Grove High during the events of the first movie explicitly sets up the beloved "Green With Evil" storyline from that original series.
He was also instantly recognizable for his very green wardrobe -- even before turning into the Green Ranger. In retrospect that seems a bit odd.
Introducing a character like Tommy Oliver is a critical shift for the Power Rangers franchise because he is the closest the series has ever come to a legitimate "main character." Power Rangers has long maintained a strong tradition as an ensemble-oriented property, but Tommy's stories regularly took center stage, and he eventually even became the leader of the team when Rocky replaced Jason as the Red Ranger. We have no idea who will step in to portray the new Tommy, but he (or she) is pretty much guaranteed to become the focal point of the franchise moving forward.
Of course, the not-so-subtle Tommy reference is only one of many excellent Easter eggs in the film. You can check out the cameos, winks, and nods for yourself when Power Rangers hits theaters later this month on March 24. Make check out our 2017 movie release date schedule and fill out your calendars accordingly!
Check out a trailer on the next page for a closer look at the modern take on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and get yourself pumped for the long-awaited reboot!