Warning: SPOILERS for Power Rangers ahead
It’s morphin’ time! The Power Rangers have arrived in movie theaters sporting their colors and ready to do battle at the box office. Directed by Dean Israelite, Power Rangers stars Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Becky G., RJ Cyler, and Ludi Lin as the five titular teens who are recruited by Zordon (Bryan Cranston) to become superpowered warriors and defend the Earth against the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). A big budget reboot of the first season of the long running TV series, the Power Rangers set out to save the world, and they make no bones about wanting to have the chance to do it again with sequels. And they do so the way every movie franchise does it nowadays: with an end-credits scene.
Since the moment Nick Fury appeared in a post-credits tag to inform Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative in the original Iron Man, audiences now know to remain in their seats when franchise blockbuster films are running their end credits. Power Rangers is no different, taking full advantage of fans’ expectations to deliver a major hint about what – and who – we’ll see if Power Rangers‘ box office success warrants a return to Angel Grove. The Power Rangers may be sporting the primary colors found in a Crayola crayon box, but every Power Rangers diehard knows full well that there is one all-important color missing: the color green.
Power Rangers doesn’t make the audience wait very long for its extra scene – a mid-credits scene – which arrives soon after the credits start rolling:
THE MISSING COLOR AND STUDENT
Power Rangers ends by bringing us right back to where three of the Rangers – Jason Scott, Kimberly Hart, and Billy Cranston – met when the movie started: in detention. Having saved the world from Rita Repulsa, the three teens who are now secretly the Rangers are right back where they must be every Saturday if they want to graduate high school. The teacher monitoring detention announces they have a new student joining detention in classic Ferris Bueller fashion, by repeating the name “Tommy Oliver” over and over. The camera pans to an empty desk with a green jacket – but no Tommy Oliver. The implication is crystal clear: we’ll have to wait for Power Rangers 2, but we’re going to meet the mysterious Tommy Oliver, who Power Rangers fans know is (going to become) the Green Ranger.
As director Dean Israelite explained, this tag isn’t only a fan service nod to arguably the single most popular Power Ranger of all, who is noticeably absent from this major feature film adaptation, but it’s a natural way to lay the seed for what comes next:
“Obviously we’re teasing something at the end that relates to [Tommy] so it sort of all felt organic.”
GREEN WITH EVIL
Tommy Oliver being teased as part of the future of Power Rangers makes perfect sense. Tommy is not only immensely popular with fans – he is the closest thing to a main character that the Power Rangers franchise has. Portrayed by Jason David Frank (who makes a brief cameo in Power Rangers along with Amy Jo Johnson, the original Pink Ranger), Tommy’s exploits have spanned the duration of Power Rangers history, and he is regarded as the greatest Power Ranger among his fans and within the community of the Rangers themselves.
After debuting as the Green Ranger, Tommy has served the forces of good as the White Ranger, the White Ninja Ranger, Zeo Ranger V Red, Red Turbo Ranger, and Black Dino Ranger. As he aged and matured throughout the course of the television series’ continuity, Tommy rose to achieve a 6th degree black belt in karate, and he earned a Doctorate in Paleontology as well. He is Dr. Tommy Oliver in the later Power Rangers seasons.
The way Tommy as the Green Ranger was introduced in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series is the story that likely holds the most relevance to a potential Power Rangers movie sequel. In the series’ only five-part tale entitled “Green With Evil,” Tommy Oliver was a new student at Angel Grove High School. He was a rival in karate who defeated Jason, secretly the Red Ranger and leader of the Power Rangers. Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, had a crush on Tommy as the cute new guy in school. But it was the unhealthy interest Rita Repulsa took in Tommy that changed everyone’s lives – and Power Rangers history.
Sensing the potential in Tommy to be the ultimate tool to destroy the Power Rangers, Rita kidnaps Tommy, brainwashes him, and transforms him into the Green Ranger – one powerful enough to challenge and defeat all five Power Rangers. The Green Ranger performed a number of nefarious acts for Repulsa: he broke into and damaged the Power Rangers’ Command Center, uploaded a virus into the Power Rangers’ robot aide Alpha-5, and exiled Zordon to another dimension. Later, the Green Ranger isolated Jason and banished him to the Dark Dimension, and finally battles the Power Rangers’ Megazord with his own giant robot, the Dragonzord. Ultimately, the Power Rangers are able to destroy the Sword of Darkness, which Rita had been using to hold Tommy in her thrall. Once Tommy’s sanity is recovered, the Power Rangers offer him a place among them, and Tommy becomes the sixth Power Ranger prophesied by Zordon.
Introducing Tommy in Power Rangers 2 as a (reluctantly or unwittingly) villainous Green Ranger is the logical move. We learn in the prologue of the movie that Rita Repulsa herself was once part of Zordon’s Power Rangers team as the Green Ranger, and she now sports the green power coin in her golden staff. Who better to face the Rangers now that they’ve gotten their colorfully armored feet wet and saved the world as dinosaur robot-piloting superheroes than a new Green Ranger?
Tommy’s origin and his ties to the Power Rangers are traditionally dependent on Rita Repulsa, and it seems they will be again in Power Rangers 2. Luckily, Elizabeth Banks, who portrays Rita in Power Rangers, has already remarked that she’s “down for whatever” the future holds when it comes to sequels. With Trini, the Yellow Ranger (Becky G.) established as the first LGBTQ Power Ranger, and Billy the Blue Ranger (RJ Cyler) also making history as the first autistic Power Ranger, it will be interesting as well to see what changes, if any, Power Rangers 2 will make to Tommy Oliver to update him to reflect modern teenagers and their struggles. After all, five more Power Rangers sequels are said to be in the planning stages at Saban’s Power Rangers Movie Command Center. If Power Rangers makes a ton of green opening weekend, the chances of seeing the Green Ranger are assured.