The Power Rangers reboot is coming in early 2017. We've gotten little snippets and leaks here and there, but we still don't know how true any of them are. So, in relative chronological order, and assuming any of the big news that's surfaced or leaked in the past year is true, here's what it could possibly mean for the movie.
May, 2014 Saban announced the partnership with Lionsgate to produce the movie with a July, 2016 release date. Later in the summer, the film's creative team were revealed with Robert Orci acting as Producer and story writer and X-Men: First Class writers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz to pen the film's script. Orci later remarked to IGN that the film will take place within the series' continuity because the story already exists.
There was also a few statements about casting unknown performers to portray the film’s teenagers with attitude. Now, other than the director’s quips about the film (more on that later) thus far, these are almost the only details we know for sure, the only thing that came directly from the source. The rest are speculative or possibly fake. These reveals seem minor and rather insignificant, but they're actually rather telling of the film's intent.
First of all, the partnership with Lionsgate is indicative of the intended tone of the film. In fact the original press release sites the edgy, young adult Hunger Games and Divergent series as selling points for partnering with the studio. Casting unknowns will give the studio the opportunity to -cough-cough-cheap-cough- excuse me. There was a bit of time recently where a harmless tweet from Sam Clafin, gave the internet a mini-heart attack, but it’s unlikely that the twenty-nine-year-old actor has any ties to the film. Hiring Miller and Stentz also give us a peek into the films possible portrayal of team dynamics. Writing for an ensemble cast, particularly for an action movie, is a delicate feat.
No doubt the studio wants seasoned writers to pen their team’s story. Going with Orci hints at the intended scope of the film. If there are any common threads in Orci's resume (which includes the Transformers and Star Trek Films), it's grounded sci-fi elements and an immense sense of scope. It shouldn’t be overlooked that the scope of his previous works may also be the result of the directors he’s worked with (Abrams, Favro, Bay), but everything Orci has attached himself to has displayed beautiful scope and scale and choosing him as a creative force behind your movie means you want some of what he’s cooking. Now the good news and the bad news are that, due to conflicts with his Star Trek 3 schedule, Orci has since dropped out of the project. Good news, given his recent track record, bad news given the likelihood of the film finding a better pick. Either way, with these details alone, it's pretty clear the kind of bandwagon they're trying to hop on-er-I mean the kind of film they're looking to create.
Next we find out that the film has been delayed from a Summer 2016 release to a January 2017 release. This is... well honestly who can blame them? Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Warcraft, Independence Day, Deadpool, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad… Far too much competition for little old Power Rangers. Also many films (albeit with much larger fandoms) have had success with fall/winter openings, just look at many of the Harry Potter films or the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit series. This detail should be overlooked as nothing more than better odds and less competition. Nobody, and I mean nobody wants to try and tango with a Marvel film… nobody.
The Prodigal son returns? In September of 2014, not a week after Orci’s departure, Jason David Frank, JDF, Tommy "The Green Ranger" Oliver, tells comicbook.com that he has talked to the studio about appearing in the film and that shooting will begin in 2015. Now, although there is a lot of love for the veteran Ranger, as many a hardcore Power Rangers fan knows, JDF blows a lot of smoke and often acts like he owns the franchise. However if what Orci said about the film's continuity is still on the table, then Tommy could very well exist in this film's universe. Having played a Ranger on-and-off for the last 20 some odd years, on top of being a master martial artist in real life, he does already fit the bill. Having said that, it might not be a great idea to try and cram a polarizing character/actor into a movie that may be trying to breath new life into a beloved franchise. Needless to say, if they include JDF, they should go about it very carefully. At the time this article was written, there isn’t a lot of 2015 left so if they’re going to start shooting, it’s going to be soon!
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a director! After months of the state of the film shrouded in mystery, Dean Israelite, director of Project Almanac and currently without a Wikipedia page signed on to direct in April in 2015. Israelite’s idea for the film, doesn’t exactly negate the ideas inferred by the original press release, but it does give us more detail about the tone. Israelite said a few of this about making it edgy, about making it grounded, but his main focus seems to be on making it fun, joyful even! Israelite’s attachment makes fans of the original series hopeful for a happy medium between the gritty, real adaptations of late and the fun, colorful spirit of the original series. The film also finds a producer in Power Rangers series regular, Brian Casentini. The man is a great choice given that six of his ten IMDB producer credits are Power Rangers or Power Rangers-related.
And then it was May. Mid-late May gave us fuel for the rumor mill that felt like the biggest news in the world for Ranger fans...for all of 2 days. Images of alleged concept art depicting two of the ranger’s zords surfaced on the internet. The images gave the fandom mixed feelings. The images in question (pictured below), showed a pink fighter-jet, roughly themed after a pterodactyl and a red and gray...thing with a long, narrow, boxy cockpit, possibly alluding to the head of a t-rex. Take a look for yourself.
The above seems pretty self explanatory. Pterodactyl, jet, pink, that’s a zord. We get a sense of scale in the second image with a Pink Ranger-like figure appearing on the entry ramp, but the image is too fuzzy to really tell what that figure looks like in any detail. Could the Pink Ranger’s new look be behind all of that fuzz?
This picture seems to be much more controversial among the Ranger community. This zord looks like it could be a tank, or an airship…or both. We also see the words “ Red Flight Morph” and “Weapons Out” above the bottom two images. The controversy, it doesn’t exactly look like a robot t-rex. The above view look kind of like a t-rex trying to do a cannonball, but this is clearly a vehicle themed after the kind of the dinos and not necessarily a robot themed after one.
Okay, so like, Imagine for a second, that the bottom left image is a t-rex with its chin on the ground, its knees bent all the way, and its tail is tucked under its body… see it now? No? Maybe that’s just one Geek being hopeful.
We also got some alleged plot details that are familiar and comforting if they happen to be the truth. We get all of our favorite characters from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but with their traits a little exaggerated and some details fudged. For example we get Jason working at “Hart Garage.” Hmm, Hart, Kimberly Hart, hey waitta… We also get Trini, the loner and Zack, who’s not a team player who seem to be built-in jumping off points for inner-team drama. We hear about Zordon, a being in a column of light who looks as if he’s been carved out of an ancient, white root. Many of the other details feel like they were lifted straight from the 1993 series with minor differences and changes. If any of this is true we’re looking at a classic case of superhero origin movie, complete with funny one-liners about cool the suits are, how ugly the villains are and exposition for days.
How many of these rumors do you you think is true? Are any of these stories trustworthy? Put together a cast and crew for your ideal Power Rangers reboot?