Power Rangers is head back to the big screen in 2017, under the direction of Project Almanac helmsman Dean Israelite and based on a screenplay penned by Thor and X-Men: First Class duo, Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz. The film looks to be a reboot of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series in particular, headed by a cast of lesser-knowns that includes Dacre Montgomery as the Red Ranger, Naomi Scott (The Martian) as the Pink Ranger, RJ Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as the Blue Ranger, Ludi Lin (Monster Hunt) as the Black Ranger, and pop singer Becky Gomez as the Yellow Ranger.
It’s heavily rumored that Chronicle and American Ultra screenwriter Max Landis pitched a story idea for the Power Rangers movie reboot early on during the project’s development, but his vision failed to land a green light. Meanwhile, Star Trek and Amazing Spider-Man 2 screenwriter Roberto Orci was onboard the project as a producer during its pre-production before he stepped down, but it’s not known whether or not Orci was ever in line to helm the project – nor what other filmmakers were considered to direct the film, before Lionsgate and Saban decided to hire Israelite for the job.
Concept artist Alex Ruiz posted the following Power Rangers conceptual art – which he made for an unnamed director’s abandoned pitch for the upcoming movie – to his DeviantArt account (hat tip to CB for picking these up), explaining that “an amazing PR fan film [lit] the fire under many asses to get a full on Hollywood film made.” No doubt, the fan film he’s referring to producer Adi Shankar and director Joseph Khan’s Power/Rangers “Bootleg” short that was released online earlier in 2015.
Pictured here, we have Ruiz’ designs for both a giant monster in the movie, as well as the Rangers’ Megazord in battle. While the look of the creature shown here is reminiscent of the Kaiju featured in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim (a film that, in turn, was inspired by properties like the older iterations of the Power Rangers TV series), the Megazord is noticeably slimmer and architecturally different that the comparable Jaegers featured in del Toro’s movie. Ruiz explained that the director behind this pitch for the Power Rangers film “had a very cool idea of wanting to see the Rangers through a transparent visor, instead of the traditional head” – hence, their helmets are more like astronaut helmets than the traditional Rangers design, in the above image.
Concept artist Gregory Semkow has also posted artwork that he created for an abandoned Power Rangers film pitch over the past few months, revealing the designs that he crafted for not just the Red Ranger Zord, but also characters like Zordon and Rita Repula, along with some details on the reasoning behind his approach to re-imagining these elements for the big screen. You can check them out (via Semkov’s Facebook page), below:
Previously-leaked Power Rangers concept art depicted the Rangers’ Zords as being vehicles reminiscent of the Quinjet design from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though with a distinctly animal form. Still, it remains to be seen if that vehicle design will be carried over into Israelite’s film or if it too came from a different director’s abandoned pitch for the movie; likewise, it’s possible that elements similar to those featured in the above Power Rangers concept art will ultimately make their way to the big screen, or that Lionsgate/Saban went with Israelite’s pitch because it was a far cry from what other directors had planned for the film.
That being said, the general expectation is that this new Power Rangers movie will emulate the MCU, by creating modernized cinematic versions of characters and objects (vehicles, costumes, etc.) that are less campy than previous iterations, yet still retain a certain playfulness in their design; the same goes for the tone of the script from Miller and Stentz, for that matter (based on previous comments made by Israelite about his “mature but still playful” vision for the film). Don’t expect a gritty and grounded take on the franchise, when Power Rangers returns to theaters in 2017, for those reasons.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.
Header image artwork by MartynTranter @ DeviantArt