It's true, ladies and gentlemen, the Power Rangers are on their way back to the big screen. We reported on it awhile back. After beginning its life as the 1992 Japanese Super Sentai show, and after being brought to America by producer Haim Saban the following year, the Power Rangers thrived on television every year (save a two-year hiatus), through to now. They've been in theaters twice before—once in 1995 with Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie and again in 1997's Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.
For this go-around, Saban teams with producer Roberto Orci and writers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (of X-Men: First Class fame) to once again put on film the story of five teenagers gifted with bright costumes and the keys to some excellent mechas. Orci has talked about reading a book of continuity the Saban company keeps regarding to the Power Rangers, and says he, Miller, and Stentz are sticking close to the canon to preserve the brand Saban has built.
...But what is that, exactly? Like I said, the Power Rangers have been on TV for 21 years and the show changes cast and concept basically every season. So what should we expect to see onscreen come 2016?
We can take some clues from Orci's comments about sticking close to canon, for starters. For all the different Power Rangers teams out there, few are as well-known or defined the formula so much as the original team. This may be nostalgia talking, but unless they're making a brand-new team to jumpstart a brand-new franchise—certainly a possibility—they're going to go with the original lineup of Jason, Billy, Zach, Trini, and Kimberly as the Red, Blue, Black, Yellow, and Pink Rangers, respectively. If this is the case, I'd also expect Tommy in as the Green Ranger, and hopefully as a villain first. The advantage to this is twofold: Saban can market their film to older audiences who remember the early days, and can entice newer, younger audiences with the promise of the “original” or “classic” or “first” team, whatever the marketing buzzword would be.
It's also likely that their origins wouldn't be too different. If it is a retread of the original series, expect to see Zordon and Alpha Five, and probably some backstory to explain their presence. If not, expect to see some variant of a celestial or supernatural being giving the Rangers guidance, with help from a sidekick. And as for the villains? In the original few seasons, Rita Repulsa, essentially a space witch, would routinely send her monstrous creations to Earth to wreak havoc on the Rangers' hometown of Angel Grove. Later, it was revealed she was just the first wave of evil attempting to overtake our world, as Lord Zedd stepped into the picture and basically did all the same things she did to stop the Rangers.
|The faces of sheer evil.|
I wonder, too, if their individual abilities will be beefed up. Power Rangers are often referred to as superheroes, but I never thought of them as such as a kid. They were like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a breed apart. But there is precedent for the Rangers having powers outside of their suits, weapons, and Zords. A few series in the mid-to-late 2000s gifted the Rangers with abilities like magic or genetic modification. With the marked increase in studios' superhero output, it's another possibility to watch out for. All that said, I return to Orci's comment about sticking close to canon. There will likely be some world-building embellishments the new creative team throws in, but the basic formula is unlikely to change.
There's an idea that members of the original cast could cameo in some fashion, but seeing as there isn't even a script yet, fan service like that should be far from the most important thing to consider—if they're really doing this, which they seem to be. The one thing we know for certain is the release date. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers hits theatres on July 22, 2016.
Think it'll have the same magic as the original television shows? Sound off below.