Power Rangers is coming back to theaters in 2017 with Saban’s Power Rangers (as the film is officially “branded”), a cinematic reboot of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers property that the franchise began with back in 1993. The Rangers themselves are being played by relative newcomer Dacre Montgomery as Jason the Red Ranger, Naomi Scott (The Martian) as Kimberly the Pink Ranger, RJ Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Billy the Blue Ranger, Ludi Lin (Monster Hunt) as Zack the Black Ranger, and pop singer/actor Becky Gomez as Trini the Yellow Ranger. So far, though, we’ve only gotten images and leaked set photos from the film that show costar Elizabeth Banks (the Pitch Perfect franchise) in her full costume(s) as the other-worldly sorceress Rita Repulsa.
An official photo of Power Rangers‘ main cast out of costume was previously released, but director Deaen Israelite (Project Almanac) and his production team managed to prevent images of the cast in their Ranger outfits from leaking ahead of their official unveiling – which, as it were, has happened today (at the time of writing this, of course).
EW has the exclusive on the first official photo of the Power Rangers movie cast in their proper Rangers costumes, which you can check out below. Their armor is (as you would expect) shinier and more practical in design than the body-tight cloth Ranger suits that were worn by the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers cast. However, they still retain the same general aesthetic, complete with each of the Rangers having their respective dinosaur or prehistoric animal-themed helmet and visor shape. One difference that’s worth touching upon concerns the two female Rangers (the Pink and Yellow Rangers), who appear to have platform boots and “boob armor” plates – something that their MMPR predecessors did not have. [UPDATE: An official high-resolution version without the EW watermark has now been released – see below.]
Israelite, in his interview with EW, explained the logic behind the Power Rangers’ varying armor designs as follows:
“The show was about kids coming of age, about metamorphosis. These suits needed to feel like they were catalyzed by these kids and their energy, their spirit.”
Power Rangers production designer Andrew Menzies, who previously worked on such films as G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Fury, further elaborated on the thought-process behind the Power Rangers’ costumes in the 2017 movie reboot:
“It’s tricky finding a new language for a superhero costume. Ours is an alien costume that grows on them, that’s not man-made. You can’t win everyone over, but we are trying to appeal to a more mature audience and gain new fans.”
The gender-neutral design of the costumes worn by the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team can, admittedly, be partly attributed to the fact that the TV show was always a low-budget production – down to its recycling of footage from the Japanese TV show Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger for its action sequences and even the scenes that featured Rita Repulsa (with Japanese actress Machiko Soga being dubbed over for the English-language TV show).
All the same, in a time for pop culture when characters such as the Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens antagonist Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and/or mech suit-equipped Rita Vranski (Emily Blunt) from Edge of Tomorrow get to wear gender-neutral armor, it’s disappointing to see that the Power Rangers movie reboot is not gong to be following suit. Israelite’s explanation that these Rangers’ armor reflecting the individual character’s “energy” and “spirit” is a bit of a stretch in this regard, as things like elevated heels won’t exactly be helpful to the Rangers during their battles with Rita and her minions.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the Pink and Yellow Rangers will be less impressive fighters than their peers. After all, fellow costumed female characters such as Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice found ways to kick butt while dressed in “high heels”, too. It will also be interesting to see how far this Power Rangers movie reboot takes that concept of the Rangers’ costumes being armor that truly “morphs” and is guided by the wearer – or if the concept does more than make the “morphin” sequences look flashier than they did on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show (and the many subsequent Power Rangers TV series released over the past 23 years).
Saban’s Power Rangers follows five ordinary high school kids who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover that they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so they will have to overcome their real-life issues and band together as the Power Rangers before it is too late. The movie is being directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) and its credited screenwriters include Max Landis (Chronicle, Victor Frankenstein), John Gatins (Real Steel), Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold, Gods of Egypt), and Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (X-Men: First Class, Thor).
Saban’s Power Rangers will open in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.