[Potential MILD SPOILERS for the Power Rangers movie ahead.]
Lionsgate and Saban's upcoming Power Rangers movie has started casting its roster of "teenagers with attitude", ahead of production getting underway in early 2016. So far, the presumption has been that the project is a reboot of the Power Rangers property, with screenwriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (Thor, X-Men: First Class) and director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) creating a new big screen rendition of the characters and mythos for Might Morphin Power Rangers - the Power Rangers TV show that started it all, back in 1993.
However, the latest (unofficial) update suggests this might not be the case, after all. On the contrary, if this rumor is to be believed, the Power Rangers movie is going to be a semi-continuation of the current Power Rangers TV show franchise installment (which is titled Power Rangers Dino Charge), rather than a film re-imagining of the original Mighty Morphin iteration.
Previous reports on the new Power Rangers movie indicated that Miller and Stentz' script includes a slightly re-imagined version of the Mighty Morphin villain Rita Repulsa, serving as the antagonist for the film's narrative. However, Collider is now reporting that the movie will take place after the events of Dino Charge; meaning, in keeping with the Power Rangers TV show continuity, Rita and fellow Mighty Morphin villain Lord Zedd have already been "purified" by the energy wave that Zordon released across the galaxy upon his death (in the series Power Rangers in Space), by the time the film begins.
As such, it is Rita's minion Scorpina - who fans have theorized might have avoided being "purified" as a result of her humanoid form - who will be facing off with the new Rangers team in the 2017 movie, according to this rumor.
This latest Power Rangers rumor does come as a surprise; not only because the 2017 movie has been positioned as a reboot of the franchise in general, but also because the film's recent casting shortlist called for actors to play such Mighty Morphin human characters as Zack, Jason, and Kimberly - further suggesting this film is a full-blown reboot. On the other hand, Lionsgate and Saban has not yet clarified whether or not Israelite's project will be a complete break in continuity from more than twenty years of Power Rangers TV show developments - so this is a possibility, at the least. Indeed, bringing Scorpio back could help bridge the gap between older Power Rangers fans (who didn't watch much after Mighty Morphin) and those with a more extensive knowledge of the property.
Collider's report also mentions that in the new Powers Rangers movie - which is due to begin shooting in Vancouver in 2016 - the Rangers team will have to protect the Morphin Grid: the energy field that provides power to every different generation of Rangers. The Morphin Grid does a lot more than that, such as allowing Rangers to access the memories of their predecessors and learn from their battle strategies, so it's an element of the Power Rangers mythos worth keeping around in the 2017 movie (in terms of its storytelling potential alone).
Naomi Scott (The Martian) is the first official cast member for the upcoming Power Rangers movie to be announced; though, as her character was referred to as simply "The Pink Ranger" when revealed, it remains to be seen if she's playing a new version of Mighty Morphin's Kimberly or another character altogether. Additional casting announcements (along with a formal plot synopsis) ought to be arriving over the next few months ahead of Israelite starting principal photography. At that point, it'll be easier to say which rumors (if any) are accurate and which are not.
It could make sense for the new Power Rangers movie to not completely break away from the Power Rangers TV series released over the past couple decades - it depends on how far Lionsgate and Saban are intending to go with "re-imagining" the franchise with this new installment. Israelite has indicated that he is going for a tone resembling that of Marvel Studios' superhero films ("mature but playful" as he put it) - and much like Marvel's movies have managed to appeal to general audiences while also including lots of Easter Eggs for its hardcore Marvel Comics fans, the 2017 Power Rangers film could be aiming for a similar accomplishment (pleasing new and longtime fans alike).
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on January 13th, 2017.
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