Warning: Spoilers for Power Rangers ahead
The Power Rangers have finally returned to the big screen, and with it comes decades of lore established in the classic TV show. While the mobie establishes and entirely new universe inspired by the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers of the show’s first season, the seeds of future iterations of the team have already been planted.
Long time fans may have noticed several plot elements, Easter eggs, and references that could be developed further into future story ideas. With news that at least five sequels could be on the way, the events of this first movie, especially those revolving around the Zeo Crystal, could give us a hint about where the franchise will go from here.
The New Movie and the Zeo Crystal
Power Rangers opens with a flashback to Earth 35 million years ago. Rita Repulsa, the Green Power Ranger, her massive molten gold enforcer, Goldar, and an army of golem-like “puttys” are aiding in her search of the efforts to acquire a massive energy source, Earth’s Zeo crystal. Unfortunately, removing the Zeo Crystal will come at a great cost, essentially obliterating all life on the planet.
The rest of her former Ranger allies try to stop her, but they’re no match for the combined might of her Green Ranger powers, Goldar, and the Putties. She dispatches the Pink, Black, Blue, and Yellow Rangers, leaving only the team leader, the Red Ranger, Zordon. Collecting the Power Coins, the essence of a Ranger’s power, from his fallen allies, Zordon orders the team’s assistant robot, Alpha-5, to direct a meteor to strike his location. The meteor stops Rita, sending her into the depths of the ocean, and kills Zordon, but Alpha-5 collects his consciousness in their ship, ensuring he can live on.
In modern day Angel Grove, five teenagers with attitude come across the Ranger Power Coins embedded in glassy rock in a quarry, eventually finding their way aboard the old Ranger ship where they meet Zordon and Alpha-5. In a twist of fate, Rita Repulsa’s body is recovered from the ocean by a local fishing vessel. Her body is shriveled and dead, but the energy of the Green Power Coin begins to rejuvenate her and she begins a killing spree around Angel Grove, collecting gold from her victims, which restores her body as she consumes it.
Zordon and Alpha-5 tell the Rangers that Rita plans to collect enough gold to recreate Goldar, who will locate and retrieve the Zeo Crystal, resulting in the immediate destruction of Angel Grove and starting a chain of events that would render Earth almost entirely uninhabitable.
The teens learn to Morph into Power Rangers and unite to stop Rita and Goldar, sending Rita into space with the Green Power Coin.
Zeo Crystals in Power Rangers Lore
The Zeo Crystal isn’t an invention for the sake of the new movie. As many Power Rangers fans from the 90s should recall, the Zeo Crystal came into play in the third season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, serving as a major component in the grand finale of the Mighty Morphin iteration of the Rangers and ushering in a new era – Power Rangers Zeo.
Zordon and Alpha 5 had assembled a team of five teenagers with attitude from Angel Grove: Jason, Billy, Zack, Kimberly, and Trini. Zordon helps the teens become Power Rangers to stand against the evil Rita Repulsa, who had recently been freed at last after ten thousand years of imprisonment. Rita mind controls a sixth teenager from Angel Grove, Tommy, giving him the powers of the Green Ranger, pitting him against the other Rangers. Eventually, the Green Ranger is defeated, but the Rangers forgive him and he’s accepted onto the team as a sixth Power Ranger.
Over time, Tommy becomes the White Ranger, earning a promotion as the new team leader and other members of the original Rangers crew begin to retire, leaving just Tommy and Billy with new team members, Rocky, Kat, and Aisha. Eventually Rita’s father, Master Vile, arrives in search of the Zeo Crystal, planning on using it to destroy the Earth. Zordon foils Master Vile’s plans by having Tommy cut the crystal into 5 pieces, which he scatters to prevent Vile from getting the crystal in its entirety. In retaliation, Vile turns the Rangers into children, causing them to lose their powers.
Coincidentally, the best way to return the Rangers to their normal selves is with the Zeo Crystal. With the aid of Power Rangers from the planet Aquitar, who stave off Lord Vile’s attacks, the Earth Rangers search for the fragments. They eventually recover all the necessary pieces, returning to their teenager bodies, regaining their powers, and defeating Master Vile. Unfortunately, Goldar and Rita’s brother, Rito, sneak into the Rangers’ command center, planting a bomb and destroying their base of operations. The Rangers dig through the rubble to find the Zeo Crystals, Alpha-5, and Zordon in an area of the Command Center unaffected by the explosion.
A new threat, the Machine Empire, arrives with plans to (you guessed it) conquer the Earth. With the destruction of the old Command Center, Zordon gives each of the Rangers one of the Zeo Crystal fragments which they use to become the Zeo Rangers, gaining new powers and new Zeo Zords, making Tommy Oliver the new Red Zeo Ranger and leader of the team.
Zeo Crystals in the Power Rangers Future
The new Power Rangers movie obviously takes most of its influences from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but the prominence of the Zeo Crystal will doubtless raise some eyebrows with its obvious indication that the Zeo Rangers could be in the franchise’s future. This new mythology has a couple of changes that might make a direct adaptation from the TV show unlikely – specifically the fact that the mere removal of the Zeo Crystal could destroy the world.
There are a few ways the franchise could use the Zeo Crystal to bring about an eventual evolution of the team to the Zeo Rangers. The fact that Rita is likely still alive and the Zeo Crystal is still in play means the status quo can’t be maintained, as she’ll want to keep returning until either she seizes the crystal or the Rangers kill her. The crystal will need to be split into five fragments like it was in the show, and it would make sense for that to be Zordon’s objective. If he doesn’t already have the means to do so, then either Billy will have to find a way, or maybe the introduction of Tommy Oliver will also mean the introduction of a weapon or tool that can be used to cut up the crystal like in the show where he uses the White Ranger’s sword, Saba, to cut up the Zeo Crystal.
Regardless of the specific approach, the movie’s introduction of the Zeo Crystal and tease of Tommy Oliver has already laid the framework necessary to evolve from its Mighty Morphin origins into a Power Rangers Zeo inspired team.