Lionsgate and Saban's upcoming Power Rangers movie has been described as a reboot of the sci-fi/action franchise for much of the past year that it's been reported on. However, more recently there have been reputable claims that the project is, in fact, a continuation of the franchise - following the most recent installment in the shape of the Power Rangers Dino Charge TV series - rather than a re-imagining of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers film/TV show property that debuted in 1993.
The official casting announcements that've been made for the 2017 Power Rangers feature film so far have likewise suggested this movie may not simply be a modernized take on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers characters and mythology. We might now have some fresh details on who the Rangers in this new film will, in fact, be - along with certain other noteworthy bits of information (such as the budget) concerning the project.
Collider is reporting that the 2017 Powers Rangers film has been branded Saban's Power Rangers, and that Power Rangers franchise co-creator Haim Saban is actively revising the earlier script draft that was penned by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class, Thor) with the movie's director, Dean Israelite (Project Almanac).
Official casting announcements for the film have so far avoided mentioning the names of the individual Rangers. The reason for that, according to Collider, is that the ongoing script revisions have resulted in the movie's Rangers lineup changing from the well-known Mighty Morphin roster (see: Jason, Kimberly, Zack, Billy, and Trini) that was allegedly featured in the earlier draft by Miller and Stentz.
Here, in turn, is the current Power Rangers (2017) character lineup and their respective Ranger colors, as well as their Zod designs:
- Callum Oliver (Dacre Montgomery) - The Red Ranger/Tyrannosaurus
- Priya Patel (Naomi Scott) - The Pink Ranger/Pterodactyl
- Brian Olson (RJ Cyler) - The Blue Ranger/Triceratops
- Oscar Fernandez (Ludi Lin) - The Black Ranger/Mastodon
- Teyana Jones (casting TBA) - The Yellow Ranger/Sabre-Tooth Tiger
Bearing in mind that these details aren't confirmed for the time being, this information does align with Collider's previous report on the upcoming Power Rangers movie - and would, in turn, explain why this film's casting announcements have so far deviated from the original Mighty Morphin group, in terms of such elements as the characters' ethnicities. Collider's report indicates the movie may still include some shout-outs to the Mighty Morphin TV show mythos (for longtime, and nostalgic, Power Rangers fans).
Said nods to Power Rangers history could include the appearance of Mighty Morphin costume designs and/or an opening sequence which may well include certain famous Mighty Morphin super-villains. It will depend, presumably, in part on which elements from earlier script drafts end up being included in the final shooting script for the project. If nothing else, the new Red Ranger being named Callum Oliver should soon have fans wondering: could he be the son of famed ex-Ranger Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank), who started out as the Green Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers?
Lastly, Collider reports that the 2017 Power Rangers movie is currently budgeted at the relatively low cost of $35 million. That number, at first glance, come as a suprise, given the higher average cost of franchise movies nowadays (with exceptions like the first Maze Runner film, which cost $34 million to make).
However, when you consider that the Power Rangers main cast will be composed of lesser-knowns who cannot demand high salaries - and that Israelite was presumably brought onboard to direct in part due to his experience crafting relatively effects-heavy genre fare on a slim budget - that number begins to make more sense. After all, Power Rangers TV series have never been that expensive to produce (even the 1995 feature film only cost $15 million) - and a comparatively lower budget would help to explain why Lionsgate/Saban isn't sweating the possibility that the film will reap a smaller box office crop at its current January date than it might've at its former Summer 2016 launch date.
Principal photography on the project is expected to get underway in Vancouver by the first quarter of 2016, so perhaps an official synopsis will be released before then, shining some light on which of these Power Rangers rumors are accurate - and which are, well, not so accurate. We'll keep you posted.
Saban's Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on January 13th, 2017.