WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS for Power Rangers
It’s a new day for the Power Rangers, and with a brand new chapter of the franchise beginning, it means plenty of easter eggs, cameos, and nods to what came before. This time around it’s director Dean Israelite’s big screen reboot, with a brand new cast of heroes, a new take on Rita Repulsa, and a franchise plan that apparently stretches to half a dozen Power Rangers movies. And while the movie’s post-credits scene alone gives a clear sign of what story comes next, that’s skipping over the loving nods to the TV show and fan service in the movie itself.
Needless to say there will be SPOILERS in our list of Power Rangers Movie Easter Eggs & Cameos.
13. Angel Grove High School
Instead of setting the action against a real American city, the original Mighty Morphin series established the events of the show to be taking place in a fictional city called Angel Grove. That was a staple continued forward through several years and seasons of the universe’s stories and teams, as well as the Rangers attending Angel Grove High School. It’s also honored in the 2017 film, with the modern version of AGHS even using the same school crest introduced in the TV show.
As a bit of extra trivia, Angel Grove turned out to be something of a paradox after years of contradictory information offered in the TV shows. At around 375,000 residents, Angel Grove is assumed to be set in California, before other shows shifted the action to another California town, Reefside. But the town’s history also claims that it was settled in 1775 by the British – both of which would be impossible, unless the show is set in an alternate world history where the British settled North America from the west.
12. Tigers, Tigers, Everywhere
Every fan of the Power Rangers is guaranteed to have their own Zord of choice, a favorite mechanized beast out of the many (admittedly outlandish) to appear in the dozen seasons of the TV shows. In this original version alone, there’s the Tyrannosaurus, Mastodon, Triceratops, and Pterodactyl. But if the movie itself has a favorite, it’s clearly the Sabre-Toothed Tiger Dinozord piloted by Trini (Becky G.). That’s judging by the decision to make the mascot of Angel Grove High School a tiger, as well as another easter egg when this version of Trini is introduced.
Audiences meet her in her bedroom, so take a look at her window. You’ll notice the unmistakable image of a tiger’s face inside a larger circle – a recreation of Trini’s Saber-Toothed Tiger power coin (and accompanying Morpher, obviously).
11. The Red Ranger’s… Ranger
The original version of Jason, leader of the Rangers (until Tommy came along) was more of a jock than anything else, but the film’s version gives him a more complicated teenage drama. When we meet this new Jason (Dacre Montgomery), he’s dealing with the kind of trouble tha comes in the form of car accidents, court-mandated ankle monitors, and house arrest.
But as proof that not all easter eggs or inside jokes need to be brilliant to be worthwhile, we would recommend fans pay close attention to the truck damaged. It’s Jason’s, and he’s apparently a Ford fan: a Ford Ranger, to be specific. And obviously, it’s a red one. Touché to the production team.
10. Finster, Squat, and Baboo
There’s Rita Repulsa on hand to act as the villain, giving older viewers a serious dose of (re-imagined) nostalgia. She even calls on a new, less uniform breed of her Putty soldiers to act as her shock troopers. And yes, Goldar too. But as thrilling as it may be to see these classic enemies given new life with a new, blockbuster budget, there’s bound to be regret that the less… glamorous henchmen never got a similar treatment. Thankfully, some of the fan-favorite, stomach-turning goons of the Mighty Morphin series do make an appearance, of sorts.
When Jason is attempting to remove his ankle monitor, a shelf in the background holds a collection of action figures modeled after the villains Finster, Squat, and Baboo. Those are the only ones we’ve spotted so far, but these alien baddies are strange enough as it is. Whether this means that there is a version of the Power Rangers in the movie’s universe… well, best not to overthink it.
9. Trini Tribute
Unfortunately, being a part of a passionate fan base can often mean sharing in tragedy, and not just a love of mighty morphers. In the case of the original Power Rangers TV series, the fan base was dealt a blow by the death of actress Thuy Trang in 2001. The original ‘Trini’ is given a number of tributes throughout the course of the film, beginning with (we assume) the extra fondness shown for her Zord, the Saber-Toothed Tiger.
The most direct tribute comes, fittingly, when the cast of teenagers first discovers their new mission in life, superpowers, and suits of armor. When they actually transform, the new Trini does so in a t-shirt bearing the year 1973. That also happens to be the year in which Thuy Trang was born.
8. Ranger Colors
After the kids have discovered the perks of being a Power Ranger, they take in the colors they were chosen to serve. Thankfully, it’s a bit less controversial this time around, since the original series earned some serious (and justified) criticism when casting Zack, played by African-American actor Walter Jones. And casting Thuy Trang, a Vietnamese-American as the Yellow Ranger. The producers claimed ignorance, but made sure not to repeat the mistake in the future.
In the film, the assigned ethnicities were tossed out the window. So when the new Zack (Ludi Lin) voices his excitement at being assigned the color black, his teammate Billy – this time played by RJ Cyler, an actor of African-American descent – presses the reason he favors black to the rest. It’s a playful nod to a controversy decades old that may go completely over the heads of new audiences.
7. Cranston’s Critters
When word broke that Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston had accepted the role of Zordon, the commander of the Power Rangers, fans were soon reminded that he had actually been a part of the Rangers family already. Cranston had already lent his vocals to two of the villains sent to do battle with the Rangers on the original Mighty Morphin TV series. Only his voice had been used to bring Snizzard and Twin Man to life, and not his face or body – but it wasn’t the only contribution he made.
It turns out that Cranston had an even greater impact on the series, with it being no coincidence that the Blue Ranger’s civilian name was Billy Cranston. The character was named in Bryan’s honor, making a surprisingly dense web of influence between the Power Rangers and one of modern TV’s most well known dramatic actors.
6. Zordon’s Rules
Once the Rangers are given their crash course in the duties and responsibilities of the Power Rangers, Zordon makes sure to condense the basic rules to a few simple, easy-to-follow tenets:
First, never use your power for personal gain. Second, never escalate a battle. And finally, keep your identity a secret. No one may know that you are a Power Ranger.
That’s a word-for-word match to the version spoken by Zordon in the original TV series. Well, in the TV show he made a point of explaining that escalating a battle would only be acceptable if Rita Repulsa forced them to. But in the movie’s version of the story and elite legion, there’s far too many villains to make such exceptions… how many we get to see on the big screen remains to be seen.
5. Shout Out Street Names
For older fans mainly familiar with the early incarnations of the Power Rangers, the connections to the succeeded TV shows are impossible to grasp. There’s Power Rangers Dino Thunder taking the action to Reefside, California, following the team known as the Dino Thunder Rangers. Then there’s Power Rangers Jungle Fury, pitting a select group of Rangers in touch with their inner animal spirits battling the ancient threats of the Dai Shi and Carnosaur, set in Ocean Bluff.
Whether or not moviegoers are up to date on those incarnations, the filmmakers are. Keep your eyes peeled, and you’ll see street signs bearing ‘Reefside’ and ‘Ocean Bluff’ among the movie version of Angel Grove, along with ‘Silver Hills’ (Time Force). Jason’s father even names Reefside and Mariner’s Bay in the film, with the latter a reference to Lightspeed Rescue.
4. “Make My Monster Grow!”
The version of Goldar introduced in the film is a large departure from the source material, where Goldar more closely resembled a gorilla costume wrapped in gold armor. This time around Goldar exists as a colossal creature formed from Rita Repulsa’s power and gold torn from the Earth itself. Thankfully, she punctuates the run up to the final showdown with a line guaranteed to make older fans feel right a home.
Sure, the line “make my monster grow!” is a harder sell in a blockbuster movie than a children’s TV show, but you can’t argue with the delivery. Although Elizabeth Banks may be the most to thank for it working at all. Either way, the monster grows, and a new level of carnage ensues.
3. Kimberly & Tommy Reunited
When the story you’re telling relies largely on massive robotic mechs doing battle with a gigantic gold automaton, it’s easy to lose focus on the human cost of that level of destruction. So when the fight is over, the audience gets a look at the everyday citizens of Angel Grove who managed to avoid obliteration. And placed square in the middle, front and center, are two of the most recognizable members of the original TV show. The very first Kimberly Hart (Amy Jo Johnson) side by side with Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank).
A cameo is a cameo, but placing these two together on screen is a clearer message to the fan base that maybe things worked out between Kimberly and Tommy after all. The two started a romance not long after Tommy joined the hero’s side of things, but when Johnson left the series, Kimberly did too – eventually ending their relationship with a letter claiming she had found her soulmate in someone else. Thanks to the movie, fans have all the reason they need to agree on a far happier ending for the Pink and Green Rangers.
2. The Yellow Ranger – Definitely a Girl
Even when you save the world from certain doom, people are still not guaranteed to give the respect you deserve. Take Trini, who’s forced to listen as her brothers debate the fact that the Yellow Ranger was totally, completely a guy underneath that suit of armor. She corrects them, and makes one incredible joke of the original Mighty Morphin series at the same time.
If you’ve ever noticed why the original Power Rangers TV show put Kimberly in a pink suit with skirt, and put Trini in a yellow suit with no skirt, you may have learned the explanation already. It’s a simple answer: in the Japanese original series from which the fighting footage was pulled for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the Yellow Ranger was a man – hence the lack of skirt. And over two decades later, Trini still needs to clarify that despite appearances, the Yellow Ranger is most definitely a girl.
1. Post-Credits Scene
You didn’t think a whole Power Rangers movie would pass without a single sign of the most iconic Green Ranger, did you? Audiences will need to stay through the credits to have their dreams come true, and catch a glimpse of Tommy Oliver…’s jacket. We’ve written up a detailed description of the Power Rangers post-credits scene already, but suffice to say that when our heroes return to detention, they’re not alone.
They’re announced to have a new colleague in the weekend punishment – a boy by the name of ‘Tommy Oliver.’ Only his green jacket is left behind on a chair, leaving the filmmakers to cast a Green Ranger for the sequel, but assure fans that Tommy’s introduction is most certainly the next chapter in their sprawling cinematic story. Power Rangers 2 can’t get here soon enough.
So there you have it Power Rangers fans: every subtle nod to the TV show mythology and note of fan service for the longtime Ranger enthusiasts. There are sure to be more discovered upon repeat viewing, so let us know if you’ve got any that should be added to our list.