Movie theaters today are awash in big-budget adaptations of superheroes, cartoon characters, and toys all falling under the umbrella-theme of “nostalgia” marketing. Thus far it has mainly been nostalgia culled from the childhood favorites of Baby-Boomers (The Lone Ranger, Pirates of The Caribbean), Generation-Xers (Transformers, G.I. Joe) or both (the Marvel Cinematic Universe). But with Millennial audiences an increasingly dominant market force, it was only a matter of time before’ 90s nostalgia hit Hollywood. And now, Lionsgate is looking to make the first major ’90s kids box-office impact with the reboot of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 2017.
Now, the new young actors cast to portray these color-coded characters have taken to Instagram to show off the training regimens required to mold them into martial-arts superheroes.
As Power Rangers was originally created by splicing new American footage of the main characters in their civilian attire into footage from older Japanese Super Sentai TV shows, the original Rangers were mainly portrayed by a mix of adult American actors with martial-arts, gymnastics and dance backgrounds, Japanese Sentai actors (in the original footage) and a succession of stuntmen and doubles on both ends. The new film, like the previous big-screen outings in the 90s, is reportedly aiming to utilize entirely original footage — so it’s no surprise to see actor Dacre Montgomery pumping-iron to get into Red Ranger shape:
Or to see Becky Gomez getting in some basic weapons training as she gets ready to take over as the new Yellow Ranger:
Fans of the original series will recall that the Blue Ranger was typically framed as the “nerd” of the team, but still managed to hold his own in a battle. From the looks of things, RJ Cyler’s new incarnation of the character will be no slouch either:
Much of the film is still being kept a close secret by the studio, including whether or not the new film is a reboot or a continuation of the franchise. However, now that it’s officially confirmed that the film will feature characters who (if nothing else) have the same first names as the original Mighty Morphin crew, early signs point to a reboot. In his Instagram posts, Cyler likewise refers to his character as “Billy C,” as further confirmation that he is in fact playing a new take on original Blue Ranger Billy Cranston (previously played by David Yost.)
Some fans have speculated, (particularly in the wake of the surprise news of Elizabeth Banks being cast as Rita Repulsa, the original Mighty Morphin villain) that the film may be part of a timeline-changing reboot of the overall franchise, spinning out of events in whatever the current television incarnation is at the time of release and allowing Saban to start the storyline over again with new actors in the “classic” roles. That was the approach Fox took to fix the convoluted X-Men continuity with Days of Future Past, and Power Rangers’ ongoing storyline has faced similar hurdles. This is especially evident with various iterations of the series said to have taken place in alternate futures (or alternate realities) in order to maintain a semblance of cohesion. The previous most-recent season of the series, Super MegaForce, featured a 20th anniversary crossover event with multiple Rangers from earlier seasons making guest-appearances.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.