The official teaser trailer for Power Rangers dropped onto the web this morning, giving the world its first real look at the new faces of Jason, Kimberly, Tommy, Zack, and Trini, as well as a better idea of what kind of world the new Power Rangers are going to occupying — and even a taste of the threat they will face. Though plenty of stills, images, and interviews have appeared online throughout the last year, this is the first opportunity that fans have to get a good look at the movie, which will hit theaters on March 24, 2017.
With a style reminiscent of Chronicle and the original characters of the 1990s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series recast in more contemporary roles, this reboot of the franchise will star such actors as Elizabeth Banks, Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky Gomez, and even Bryan Cranston as Zordon. The movie is still some time off, but thanks to the trailer, we now know a lot of details that we didn’t before. Keep reading to learn the 15 Biggest Reveals from the First Power Rangers Trailer.
15. The Darker, Realistic Tone
The first thing that’s immediately notable about the trailer is its tone. Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis at one point worked on the screenplay for this, and while there are a lot of other influences also present, his touch can be felt. From the outset, the trailer makes it clear that it’s taking place in a grittier, more realistic world with a grey and brown color palette, where actions have consequences and relationships become strained.
There’s a lot of directions that a Power Rangers reboot could have taken. For kids who grew up in the 1990s, the wacky and silly TV series has a lot of nostalgia value, and a big screen movie could have coasted by on that without taking any chances. Instead, it seems that this film is going to attempt the ambitious task of taking all of that silliness, filtering it down to its base ingredients, and portraying the Power Rangers in a more serious light than they ever have been before. Good luck to everyone involved.
14. The Red Ranger Comes From a Troubled Background
The Power Rangers trailer is more slow-paced and methodical than we may have expected. But more predictably, it’s clear that the primary protagonist is going to be Jason Lee Scott, AKA the Red Ranger. Although in the series Jason is a friendly, outgoing jock type, the movie is set to put some skeletons in his closet.
It’s not yet quite clear what damage has occurred in Jason’s past, but we have some pretty big hints that, at some point in his recent history, he messed up in some serious way. We see him mention “his screw up” as the camera lingers on a totaled vehicle. Was it drunk driving? An accident? Did anyone die? These details aren’t yet exposed, but there is a shot of a police cruiser. Whatever happens, Jason seems tortured by it, and it will probably be a central part of his character arc in the film.
13. A Focus on Character Development
One of the most interesting aspects of the trailer is that it doesn’t even begin to delve into the big martial arts fights or giant aliens that the Power Rangers franchise is generally known for. Instead, it goes a long way toward establishing that, at least for the first chunk of the movie, the focus will be on developing the teenage characters, and establishing them as actual teenagers with problems, insecurities, and relationships.
The lion’s share of development so far seems to be on Jason, but the trailer does give hints about the personalities of the other characters. Kimberly, the future Pink Ranger, is seen on the receiving end of taunts from her fellow classmates, whereupon she cuts her hair and seems to adopt a more confident style. Trini, the Yellow Ranger, is an edgy smartass. Zack, the Black Ranger, is seen climbing onto the school’s rooftop, implying that he’s probably an extreme sports/athletic kind of guy. A lot of screen time also goes to Billy, the Blue Ranger, who is clearly the school nerd, and is seen perfectly arranging colored pencils on his desk, implying that he may have a bit of OCD.
12. Love is In the Air Between Jason and Kimberly
When Kimberly emerges with her new look, Jason noticeably looks up at her, as if taking note of her for the first time. So does Billy, admittedly, but the camera lingers on Jason’s stare in a telling way. These suspicions are confirmed later in the trailer, when the two of them can be seen making out on either his or her bed. Yep, it’s happening.
This is a change from the TV series which will probably rile up many fans. Until now, the major relationship of the original Power Rangers is not between Kimberly and Jason, but rather, Kimberly and Tommy—the fan-favorite Green Ranger, a villain turned antihero who eventually grows to become the White Ranger, the iconic leader of the team. It wouldn’t make sense to introduce Tommy from the outset, since the Green Ranger doesn’t come in until the team is fully established, but if the movie is successful enough to spawn a sequel, we can probably expect to see him pop up then. If and when he does, a love triangle between Tommy, Jason, and Kimberly seems likely.
11. They Have Powers Outside of Their Suits
Despite their name, the Power Rangers series never put a huge emphasis on the “powers” of the heroes, so to speak. For the most part, they were shown to be skilled martial artists who used their coins to “morph” into brightly-costumed Power Rangers, capable of taking on alien bad guys, doing crazy flips, kicking bad guys a billion times while suspended in midair, and of course, piloting giant robotic Zords. The Power Rangers’s abilities were linked to their coins, and to their costumes.
In the movie, it seems that after coming into possession of the coins, the heroes themselves are physically changed. Jason exhibits six-pack abs and super strength, breaking the corner of a sink into crumbling bits with his bare hand, while Billy is invulnerable enough that a blow to the head leaves the other guy knocked out. This exhibition of superhuman abilities, while the teenagers are still “regular” humans as opposed to costumed Power Rangers, is a change from what many fans would have expected… and it plays into the next reveal, as well.
10. They Find The Coins On Their Own
In another similarity to Chronicle, the central narrative shown by the teaser trailer involves the teenagers investigating a strange alien phenomenon, where they happen upon weird looking “coins” that soon give them their powers. Though it’s hard to say for sure, it seems like them finding the coins is something of an accident. They aren’t selected, they aren’t chosen, they simply happen to be in the right place at the right time. This also is in contrast to the TV series. In the first episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, “Day of the Dumpster,” the teenagers are specifically selected by Zordon and Alpha 5 to become Power Rangers after Rita is released from a goofy space dumpster: at the time of their selection, they’re beamed into Zordon’s headquarters, whereupon the giant floating head informs them that they are to become the first Power Rangers.
In the upcoming movie, there’s still a lot to be seen regarding how the teens find the coins, and whether fate or destiny plays a part. What we can see already, though, is that they don’t really understand what’s happening when they do collect the coins, and it seems like they soon decide that they have to go back and investigate.
9. Angel Grove is Now a Sleepy Little Town
The teenagers who will become the Power Rangers still live in Angel Grove, just as they did in the TV series. But whereas the Angel Grove in the TV series was a sunny Californian metropoli, either standing in place for Los Angeles or possibly a suburb within it, this new Angel Grove is a differently place entirely. It might not even be in California.
Small, grey, and even a little rundown looking, the Angel Grove that we glimpse in the trailer doesn’t seem to be placed in any specific state; surrounded mostly by mountains, fields, and wilderness. The classrooms we see are small, uncrowded, and dingy. This probably plays into the sort of estranged and lost vibe of the teenagers at the beginning of the trailer; all of them seem to be outcasts, out of place with their surroundings, yearning for some type of escape. Needless to say, coming across a bunch of alien coins that turn them into color-coordinated superheroes is probably a different getaway than they were expecting, but hey.
8. Rita Repulsa
Yes, that’s right: it’s brief, but we get our first glimpse at Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, the archenemy of the Power Rangers, hovering in the air over Trini. Rita in the series was usually more of a distant threat; mentioned by Zordon, but usually staying in her moon palace and only attacking the Earth through whatever monster of the week she wanted to send down. This new Rita seems to be a more personal adversary who isn’t afraid to interact with the Power Rangers themselves, even going so far as to take an active interest in them.
In the brief moment that we see her, Elizabeth Banks is menacing, violent, and smoothly calculating, giving us an early glimpse at one of the major characters that will make or break this movie. We’ll have to wait and see what Rita’s motivation is, but for now, we at least get an idea of what she looks and sounds like.
7. Oh Wait, These Aren’t the First Power Rangers?
In her quick moments on the screen, Rita does slip out one rather telling tidbit, when she warns Kimberly “I’ve killed Rangers before.” This tells us that, without a doubt, the team of Jason, Billy, Kimberly, Zack, and Trini are not the first team of Power Rangers. There have been Power Rangers before, and evidently, at least some of them met ugly deaths at the hands of Rita Repulsa. This is a telling detail, and it raises more questions.
The most prominent possibility here is that the Power Rangers may, perhaps, be a sort of intergalactic police force that spans across the universe, akin to the Green Lantern Corps in DC Comics. Perhaps each world has its own Power Rangers team, with the same corresponding colors? Or maybe there have been prior Power Rangers teams on Earth? Another distinct possibility, though unlikely, is that this could be referring to alternate realities, and perhaps referencing the Power Rangers teams from the TV shows (hello, Star Trek). Most likely is the Green Lantern-style explanation, as parallel realities would be a little much for a newly established film franchise that already has its work cut out for it.
6. Rita Seems Reeeeally Interested in Trini
What’s also telling is that Rita’s one scene occurs with Trini, and it’s a rather unusual encounter. Rather than a confrontation, Rita approaches Trini in bed, holding her face. While it’s possible that she also approaches the other Rangers in a similar manner that we just haven’t seen yet, it does seem possible that their may be a unique relationship between Rita and Trini that we’re getting our first taste of.
Why does Rita seek out Trini, specifically? Is there something in Trini’s personality that she connects with? Is she trying to get the Yellow Ranger to join her side, and betray her friends? According to one interview, Rita tries to make Trini believe that she’s the weak link of the team, less capable than the others, so she may simply be trying to corrupt the Rangers from within. It’s possible that there’s some sort of connection between Rita and Trini that will play a big role in the movie’s storyline. (And hey, if Rita is trying to pull her over to the dark side, maybe they could setup Trini and Tommy in the sequel, instead of Tommy and Kimberly…)
5. Bulk and/or Skull, Maybe?
Two of the fan-favorite characters in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are the dimwitted bullies Bulk and Skull, played by Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy. Farkas “Bulk” Bulkmeier and Gene “Skull” Skullovitch were the comic relief of the series, similar to Bebop and Rocksteady in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, attempting to push around and bully the main male cast members while obnoxiously hitting on the female ones. Both of these characters made it into almost all of the Power Rangers spinoff shows, all the way until 1999, when they were separated in the pilot episode of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.
There have been no official announcements regarding whether the duo would make it into the movie, but we do see some bullies pushing around Billy in a couple of scenes, included one redheaded kid who tries to head butt the Blue Ranger only to find himself getting knocked out by the effort. Whether or not this guy is Bulk or Skull remains to be seen, and even if he is, it seems like he/they will have only a minor role. Still, fans can hope. We’ll see in March.
4. The Government Might Know
When the teenagers are investigating that big alien phenomenon that leads to them finding those aforementioned super-powered coins, they’re startled by the sound of sirens, and maybe even a helicopter. It’s implied that they quickly have to get away before someone finds out that they’ve been creeping on the premises, at which point they go home, find out about their new alien superpowers, and then go back to learn what caused them.
The point here is that they’re investigating something that they’re not supposed to, potentially breaking into a zone that’s been sanctioned off by the government. If so, then it means that the government is going to play a role in whatever alien situation is happening on Earth, though we don’t know whether they actually know what’s going on, whether or not they’ve taken sides, or if they are simply closing down the area in order to prevent people from getting hurt. This is all speculation, of course, but the bits and pieces offered by the trailer offer lots of possibilities to muse on. So far, it seems like the film is approaching the story more as a sci-fi movie than a superhero one, but that might all change in the second half of the movie once costumes, monsters, etc. get involved.
3. No Zordon Reveal Yet
One of the most anticipated aspects of this movie is the casting of acclaimed Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston as Zordon, the alien mentor of the Power Rangers. Zordon was portrayed in the series as a giant floating head in an energy tube that broken down in the 1995 movie by villain Ivan Ooze, a purple bad guy who is furious about having missed the Brady Brunch Reunion. Long story, that one…
Anyway, for the time being, it looks like the film production is holding this card close to their chest, probably because they know that it’s the one fans are most hungry to see. Though the teaser at least hints at super powers, Rita Repulsa, and costumes, there isn’t even a whiff of Zordon’s name. It’s also unclear what role Zordon plays in the updated origin story of the Power Rangers, especially if he doesn’t actively select them. Similarly absent is Alpha 5, Zordon’s android assistant with the wacky flying saucer-shaped head, who will be voiced by Bill Hader. Only time will tell what form Bryan Cranston’s Zordon will take, and whether it will resemble the concept art, but chances are that the marketing team will hold out on showing any Zordon footage until much, much closer to the release.
2. Okay, So Those Alien Suits Are Actually… Surprisingly Cool?
All right, so we’ve already seen what the Power Rangers costumes look like, and fan reaction has been mixed. The images that were released before definitely look very Iron Man inspired, while trying to maintain the same design aesthetic and colors as the spandex costumes that inspired them. It’s a tough balance.
We don’t see much of these costumes in the trailer — there’s only the slightest glimpse of one at the end, and it’s revealed to be a sort of liquid substance that spreads across the hero’s body a lot like Venom’s symbiote in the Spider-Man mythos. But this quick reveal is one of the money shots of the entire trailer, and for what it is, it works. The film’s production designer has stated in interviews that the intention behind the costumes is for them to be more alien, and not seem man-made. So far, so good. The liquid costumes do seem more alien. Now we’re looking forward to seeing them in motion, and seeing whether those silver mouths will actually move, talk, whistle, and so on.
1. There Are Still a Lot of Mysteries
Every movie production is its own long tale of releases, leaks, reshoots, and rewrites. Some movies give it all away from the beginning, some spoil everything in the first trailer, and some keep their secrets close to their chest as long as they can help it. So far, it seems like Power Rangers is taking the latter approach. This first trailer truly is a teaser trailer in every sense of the word: it gives away just enough to whet the audience’s appetite, and then pulls back right at the moment that the teenagers start to become the Power Rangers we recognize.
Essentially, this trailer had two jobs to do: first, it had to set the stage, introducing its core concepts to an audience that might’ve never grown up watching the TV show, or perhaps never liked it. Second, it had to show just enough central Power Rangers concepts to the old fans, to let them know that things like Rita Repulsa, coins, and costumes are still going to be a part of the narrative. For what it’s trying to do, this teaser succeeds. Only time will tell if the movie lives up to its promise. In the meantime, we can look forward to the full trailer release sometime before March
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.