Warning: SPOILERS for Power Rangers ahead
The Power Rangers have hit the big screen once more. Directed by Dean Israelite, 2017's Power Rangers reboots the TV show's original story of five teenagers from the fictional town of Angel Grove, who are given superpowers by a fallen alien hero named Zordon to protect the Earth from the evil Rita Repulsa. These new Power Rangers have been updated for modern audiences; Jason the Red Ranger, Kimberly the Pink Ranger, Zack the Black Ranger, Trini the Yellow Ranger, and Billy the Blue Ranger aren't the squeaky-clean, karate-kicking teens fans knew from the 1990s. However, when it comes time to don their colorful armor and pilot their dinosaur robots called Zords to battle a giant golden monster named Goldar, the Power Rangers amply deliver the giant robot-smashing fun their legions of loyal fans expect.
The producers of Power Rangers, led by Haim Saban, are naturally not keen on resting on their laurels. One Power Rangers movie simply won't do in this world of shared universes and movie mega-franchises. Saban and his team have grand ambitions - reportedly planning anywhere from five to seven Power Rangers movies overall. Power Rangers explicitly teases what and who the very next sequel will bring in the traditional end-credits scene.
THE GREEN RANGER
Few movies offer sequel set-ups as explicit as Power Rangers does for the Green Ranger. Teased in the end-credits scene Ferris Bueller-style, with a teacher in detention repeating the name "Tommy Oliver," we can expect to meet the mysterious new student at Angel Grove High School in Power Rangers 2. Tommy has an expansive history with the Power Rangers franchise, but this should be a whole new ball game for the character, following suit with how radically different and modern the other Rangers have been re-imagined.
Still, a few aspects of Tommy should hold true in his new movie incarnation. Tommy will be the Green Ranger; the green jacket shown in the end-credits scenes strongly hints at this. As we learned in Power Rangers, Tommy will not be the first Green Ranger in the rebooted movie series. Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) herself was the Green Ranger in the Power Rangers team led by Zordon (Bryan Cranston), the Red Ranger, 65-million years ago. Rita is frozen and hurtling through outer space at the end of Power Rangers, but her staff and the Green Power Coin it contains, likely remains in Angel Grove. The signs point to Rita surviving her ordeal and somehow corrupting Tommy into becoming her new weapon, a new Green Ranger, on Earth.
Tommy's presence as a future enemy - and later potential ally - is a wrench in the works for the Power Rangers. The Rangers managed a hard-earned camaraderie by the movie's conclusion, but they're still a long way from being a cohesive unit. Their bond is certainly not unbreakable, and Tommy could easily upend these more troubled, complicated Rangers in various ways. A villainous Tommy could be a more negative influence on Billy (RJ Cyler) than Jason (Dacre Montgomery) was. He could be a wedge that divides the trust between the Rangers. Kimberly (Naomi Scott) and Jason shared a growing but unfulfilled attraction throughout the first movie, but Tommy and Kimberly have a bit of a romantic history in the TV series, and Tommy could be a romantic foil or create a love triangle in Power Rangers 2. He's also a physical rival for Jason - one who could potential attempt to wrest the leadership position of the team from him. There are all sorts of compelling directions to take the Green Ranger in Power Rangers 2.
There are greater evils in the universe than Rita Repulsa, and Power Rangers 2 is a prime opportunity to introduce the next major Big Bad in the saga: Lord Zedd. More ghastly in appearance and more powerful than Rita, who failed quite spectacularly in the first movie, Lord Zedd is the clear next adversary for the Power Rangers. We know the Zeo Crystal remains safely hidden on Earth (beneath the Krispy Kreme) and is still the most sought after prize for the evil beings of this universe. Zedd, the "Emperor of Evil," once tried to steal the Zeo Crystal millennia ago, and this is what caused his physical form to be grotesquely deformed. The return of Zordon, Rita, and the Power Rangers to the universe will likely draw the attention of Lord Zedd, who could easily rescue Rita from being frozen in space and perhaps establish their lunar palace base on our moon. Zedd also perhaps creates the opportunity for the new Rangers to go into space for the first time to do battle with him and whatever giant monster he creates to battle the Megazord.
If Lord Zedd appears in Power Rangers 2, he drastically escalates the alien menace the Power Rangers will face. Traditionally in Power Rangers lore, the arrival of a new, more powerful Big Bad usually means the Zords the Rangers presently control aren't powerful enough to stop him or her. Therefore, it'll be time for new Zords. Though we only got to see the dinosaur Zords and Megazord in action for the last few minutes of the movie, Zords getting destroyed is part and parcel of being a Power Ranger. The demands of movie merchandising will likely mean new Zords for the sequel - the Thunderzords, if the movies follow the order of Zords from the TV series - and even new color-coded armor for each Ranger as well.
Even if the Rangers don't get to pilot new Zords in Power Rangers 2, the Green Ranger's presence still guarantees a fan-favorite Zord will appear: the Dragonzord. The Dragonzord is basically a giant robot version of Godzilla. (If Mecha-Godzilla doesn't appear in Legendary's next MonsterVerse offering, 2019's Godzilla: King of Monsters, then Power Rangers 2 could beat them to the punch with the Dragonzord and present their own version of Mecha-Godzilla in their movie.) Power Rangers fans wouldn't just thrill to see the Dragonzord fight the Megazord on the big screen, they're also in the know that as allies, the Dragonzord combines with the Megazord to become the Dragon Megazord.
A RANGER DIES?
While up to seven films are reportedly being planned for the Power Rangers franchise, but in the context of movie storytelling, the second film in a saga is usually darker than the first. With the way the first movie delved into modern Millennial teen issues like gender identity and cyber bullying, the Power Rangers franchise has shown it isn't afraid to weave difficult real-life subjects into its greater story of superpowered teens piloting dinosaur robots to protect the universe. As such, the sequel's potential story point could require one of the Power Rangers dying.
Power Rangers already killed a Ranger, however. Midway through the movie, Rita captured all of the Rangers to interrogate them as to the whereabouts of the Zeo Crystal and then she murdered Billy. Zordon ended up sacrificing his own essence - and the chance to regain his corporeal body and become the Red Ranger again - to resurrect Billy. That trick will likely only work that one time. Which means, if a Ranger dies in the sequel, there's a good chance he or she won't be coming back. What's more, with the Green Ranger likely to join the Power Rangers after he battles them as their enemy, they'd still have five Rangers to form the Megazord. But if a Ranger doesn't die, possibly Zordon himself might breathe his last breath, leaving the Rangers on their own to face an uncertain future. Regardless, the entire Power Rangers unit remaining intact at the end of Power Rangers 2 is an unlikely prospect.
Another possibility we might see in Power Rangers 2 would be the movie debuts of Bulk and Skull, the bumbling school bullies of Angel Grove High. Billy and Jason dealt with a bully already in Power Rangers, who was sort of a stand in for Bulk and Skull, but it's natural to assume the fan favorite real deals will want to throw their weight around in the sequel and provide some extra comic relief.
Of course, Power Rangers 2 may also take the franchise in totally new directions, but given how much loving fan service the first movie has already delivered, it seems like Saban has a plan to more or less stay the course and adapt the Power Rangers concepts in the general order fans expect from the way they were presented in the television series. Regardless, with over two decades worth of episodes to draw from, the Power Rangers braintrust has more than enough material to fill the epic seven-part movie cycle they're promising.
- Power Rangers (2017) release date: Mar 24, 2017