Before Marvel assembles its Avengers a third time and DC finally founds its long-awaited Justice League, another popular team of super-powered heroes will band together to save the universe: Saban's Power Rangers. Expected to begin production before 2015 draws to a close (and then bow in theaters in early 2017), the "mature but playful" project will relaunch the franchise's film brand after nearly two decades of dormancy.
And like all reboots/adaptations/highly-anticipated films these days, Power Rangers has seen its fair share of fan hearsay and development teases. From potential concept art to rumored plot details, such information - whether accurate or not - has painted the movie as derivative of its long-established, colorful mythology, albeit with a contemporary edge (perhaps darker and grittier).
Of course, while the balance between tone and nostalgia is important, viewers want to see the film for its titular characters: five ordinary teens-turned-extraordinary heroes. That transformation, coupled with an air of relatability and vulnerability (unlike many other God-like superheroes), epitomizes the Power Rangers - and how they have remained popular for so long. As such, much of the film's success shall be determined by those very human, very young characters behind the masks, and how they deal with their newfound abilities and forthcoming experiences ("With great power...").
Courtesy of Collider, sources close to the film have provided the names of the five protagonists in Power Rangers, along with a brief biography for each one. Check out the descriptions below, though do so with a grain of salt as nothing official has been confirmed yet.
Jason – 17 years old, the makings of someone or something great if he would just get out of his own way. Jason was a legend of this town—a freshman quarterback with the skills to take him all the way. People knew his name. Children wore his jersey. Until, one night Jason wrapped his car around a pole and busted out his knee. Everything Jason was going to become ended in an instant. And with it, he lost himself. When we meet him at the start of the film, he’s a kid in need of redemption. By the end, he’ll be leading this disparate group of teens to shed their individual baggage and find who they truly are.
Kimberly – 17 years old, unconventionally cool all in a way the popular girls wish they were. In fact, she was one of those girls, but isn’t anymore. Not since she’s returned to school after an absence of 6 months. Rumors are flying as to why; rumors she seems not to care about, because she’s come back with this new rebel-without-a-cause, edgy attitude. But the truth is, it’s all masking a deep secret that makes her feel profoundly vulnerable.
Trini – 17 years old, mysterious and extremely bright. Her parents constantly move for work, making Trini the perpetual new girl to any school. A loner who owns it, Trini is self-sufficient, contemplative, but always observant. All she wants is to find her gang of friends, but she’ll never admit it – least of all to herself.
Billy – 17 years old, slight and awkward. Billy is challenged in his abilities to communicate and interact socially. Whip-smart and sweet, but always odd. Sometimes in a fun way, sometimes not, Billy is a kid with no filter. Showing his emotions, understanding sarcasm, and dealing with his OCD is a constant challenge. Has never really had any friends and instantly gravitates towards Jason.
Zack – 17 years old, always the life of the party. Filled with bravado and swagger, Zack’s tough and cool on the exterior. A charming guy who’s never had trouble with the one-liner, nor lacked confidence around women. A great athlete that’s never wanted to play on any team but his own. Zack advertises everything about himself, except the truth, which is that he lives in a trailer park with his single mom, and because of it, feels deeply inferior to all his peers.
Diehard fans of the franchise should be pleased to note that the new movie will not only use the same names as the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but also the same personalities and traits, reaffirming that this is indeed a hard reboot (it's not morphin time). Hopefully, though, the writers take the character development a step further, defining the heroes with more than their corresponding colors. Speaking of colors, while not mentioned above, it's also safe to assume the characters will don the same signature hues as their 1990s predecessors (Jason as the Red Ranger, Kimberly as the Pink Ranger, Trini as the Yellow Ranger, Billy as the Blue Ranger, and Zack as the Black Ranger).
When compared with previously leaked plot details, which summarized nearly the entire first act of the film, the rumored character descriptions line up relatively well. Jason is the fallen leader; Kimberly the imperfect perfectionist; Trini the perpetual new girl; Billy the gifted loner; and Zack is the insecure extrovert. Each exhibits weakness and strength - a forte and flaw. Such duality is archetypal of the 'Power Rangers' ideology, with each member of the group struggling on his or her own and unable to succeed without the aid, support, and friendship of the entire team.
That said, Saban's franchise has always been about more than unimaginable powers or dangerous monsters; it hinges on family, and how the strength of family can overcome individual crises, insurmountable odds, and apparently, world-ending threats. With the leaked character bios alluding to such themes, it seems the film - which is being directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) from a script draft by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class) - aims to continue that tradition of using the Power Rangers as role models for adolescents and teens. And who can complain about that?
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on January 13th, 2017.