The Power Rangers will return to the big screen in 2017 with Saban’s Power Rangers, a movie that will reboot the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers; itself, a property that debuted as a live-action TV series on Fox Kids in 1993 (using stock footage from the Japanese TV series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger) that in turn gave rise to multiple different Power Rangers TV shows, as well as two feature-length films and installments spanning several other platforms (video games, comic books), over the two decades that have followed.
Saban’s Power Rangers, which is being distributed by Lionsgate/Summit, features a main cast composed primarily of young lesser-known talents, with pop music star Becky Gomez being the biggest name among them. However, the film does include one proper A-lister among its acting ranks: Elizabeth Banks, the actor/filmmaker whose resume includes roles in the Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect film franchises – and who, in Power Rangers, will play the Rangers’ most famous opponent: the alien sorceress Rita Repulsa, a character hell-bent on conquering Earth (with only the Rangers standing in her way).
People has now exclusively revealed Banks’ look as Rita Repulsa in the Power Rangers movie reboot, with Banks herself noting that “It’s definitely a modern and edgy re-imagining of the original Rita Repulsa. We wanted to give her a backstory that connects her to the new Rangers.” You can check out the first picture of Banks as Rita Repulsa below.
Banks’ comment that her version of Rita has “a backstory that connects her to the new Rangers” in the upcoming Power Rangers movie is worth noting, since the character has traditionally shared a history with Zordon – the galactic sage who, in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series, provided the Rangers with the tech that gives them their “morphin” capabilities – though not with the actual Rangers themselves. A previous report on this matter indicated that the Power Rangers movie reboot will open with a prologue which explores the history between Zordon and Rita. That same report also referred to Banks’ Rita as “A huntress. A striking, yet subtly alien-looking woman” – a description that, all things considered, isn’t that far off from Bank’s actual appearance as the character. As such, that report might not only be accurate, it might also signal that the film’s prologue will reveal a more direct connection between Rita Repulsa and the Rangers’ hometown of Angel Grove (and/or the Rangers themselves).
The Power Rangers script is credited to several different writers – Max Landis (Chronicle), John Gatins (Real Steel), Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Gods of Egypt), and Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (Thor) among them – though it remains to be seen if they and director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) have managed to put together a satisfying backstory for Rita Repulsa in the film. As for the Power Rangers themselves: relative newcomer Dacre Montgomery is playing Jason the Red Ranger; Naomi Scott (The Martian) is Kimberly the Pink Ranger; RJ Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) is Billy the Blue Ranger; Ludi Lin (Monster Hunt) is Zack the Black Ranger; and Gomez rounds out the main crew as Trini the Yellow Ranger. The character of Zordon, assuming that he is in the movie, has yet to be officially cast.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.