Superhero movies are more popular than ever right now, so it’s only fitting that Saban Entertainment (teaming up with Lionsgate) is bringing its own superhero property back to the big screen, with Power Rangers. Of course, the Power Rangers brand in general has remained active for more than twenty years now. A new TV show installment has been coming out on a near-annual basis for the past two decades (with Power Rangers: Ninja Steel being next in line for a 2017 debut) – and fan events such as Power Morphicon (the fifth iteration of which took place from August 12th-14th, 2016) have kept Rangers fans engaged and excited to see what comes next in the franchise.
The Power Rangers movie aims to expand the property’s fanbase by rebooting the iteration that started it all: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Said film retains the same premise as the Mighty Morphin TV show too: a group of teenagers from the city of Angel Grove are gifted with “morphin” powers, supersuits and robotic vehicles known as Zords by the alien Zordon (Bryan Cranston). They must then do battle with Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), the alien sorceress who has been intent on taking over Earth for thousands of years – and whom Zordon has continuously prevented from doing so, over all these years.
Cranston has said that the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers property is getting a dramatic makeover (but not necessarily of the over-done “dark and gritty” variety) with the 2017 Power Rangers movie. So much has been illustrated by the images released of the new Rangers’ costumes (which have a distinct post-Iron Man look to them), as well as Banks’ appearance as Rita. For further case in point: check out the latest official image of the character to have been released online through the official Power Rangers Instagram account, below.
The circumstances surrounding the above picture of Rita Repulsa remain a mystery for the time being. For all we know, that extraterrestrial sorceress could be staring through a magical globe from her lair, staring at Zordon through the (cracked?) energy tube that houses him (what with Zordon being caught in a time warp, in the present-day) – or just leering at people through some partially shattered glass. Either way, this picture is a reminder: the version of Rita from the Power Rangers movie certainly looks different than her Mighty Morphin counterpart, with her “alien huntress” costume being a far cry from Rita’s famously campy outfit and accessories.
Similarly, the Rangers are expected to be presented in a more fully-developed light here compared to their Mighty Morphin predecessors. Cranston has suggested that the movie deals with “real teenage life,” so it’s encouraging to see that the Rangers themselves are being played by such capable young actors as RJ Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Naomi Scott (The Martian) and pop star/actor Becky Gomez, among others. Plus, director Dean Israelite knows a thing or two about creating fantasy adventures that feature believable teenaged characters, following his breakout film Project Almanac.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.