Nostalgia for pop culture of the past is at an all-time high right now, as all of our favorite films, TV series and cartoons of the '80s and '90s continue to be recreated for a new generation. Yet for every remake that does well according to critics and fans, there's another one out there that ends up missing the mark.
This is the challenge facing the new Power Rangers reboot from executive producer Roberto Orci (Star Trek) and screenwriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class), which hopes to “re-envision" and share the classic children's series with a wider audience. In order to do so, however, the franchise of more than twenty years must be condensed into a two-hour movie, all without alienating both the new fans who love the current TV incarnation and the old ones who have since grown up. It won't be an easy task.
Orci spoke to IGN at the TCA press tour on Sunday - where he was promoting season 2 of Sleepy Hollow - about just how he intends to make this happen, while simultaneously squelching fears that he'll end up ruining the franchise.
According to Orci, the key is understanding why fans love the series:
Part of it is seeing what we remember of it; our generation and what our memories of it are. Part of it is seeing the fans of it today. There are a lot of kids that love it today, and so it's about doing your homework. You talk to everybody who loves it and you find out why they love it and then you figure, what is the appropriate translation of that, tonally, to now? We have the added benefit of a movie is going to be two hours, or whatever it is, so it's gotta have an arc and a reality to it that maybe you don't have a chance to do all the time. That's going to be the exciting part.
Then there's the matter of what to do with 20 years of story material, whether you include it in the new movie or simply use it as a springboard. Thankfully, original series creator Haim Saban continues to be very invested and involved in the franchise, so Orci has already started brushing up on his Power Rangers lore:
One of the first things we did was learn and read... They have 600 pages of research that they have on their stuff. We read through the synopsis of everything they did and we are actually taking into account quite a bit of the canon in a real way. We're not just a leave it behind reboot. [Haim] Saban cares very much about that. This is something that he created. I had to go to his house, personally, to tell him, "Listen, I'm your man. Miller and Stenz, these are your guys. I promise you I won't ruin your franchise." And he said, "It's very important to me, because kids around the world know what the Power Rangers are. So you can't just come in here and walk all over it. It better be consistent with what I've been doing." And I said, "Yes sir!"
So after all is said and done, where will the new film stand in the continuity? Orci was rather vague on how exactly it'll fit in, but his answer should please fans for now:
It's got a continuity within the world. I can't tell you what, but it does have a continuity.
Of course, a Power Rangers reboot wouldn't be complete without appearances from at least some of the actors that have starred in the series over the years. While it's still way too early to know who could end up making a cameo, Orci seems rather confident of the possibility we'll see some familiar faces:
That's something we want to rely on the Saban group to tell us. They have a lot of internal knowledge of their franchise and we're just learning now. We've seen it only as fans, but they actually know it inside and out, so I'd love to know what fans want to see.
It all comes down to this. Obviously, there's no way to make a reboot that will please everyone, but at this point it seems the people behind the film are truly interested in appealing to the fans. They're asking the right questions and they've done their research.
It's also impossible to take so much history and include everything fans would want to see. Yet if reboots like Casino Royale and Rise of the Planet of the Apes can succeed, then there's hope a Power Rangers reboot can also be done well, with nods to the original that simultaneously takes the franchise in a new direction.
A script for the reboot is currently underway, so it could be sometime before we get more news on what Orci, Miller and Stentz have planned for the franchise. Until then, it doesn't hurt to speculate that a Power Rangers film with a more serious tone than ever before is probably on the horizon. Lionsgate is best known for producing The Hunger Games, and Miller and Stentz made a name for themselves writing for TV series like Fringe and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, all credits that might indicate an end to the overall cheesiness of Power Rangers.
What would you like to see from the Power Rangers reboot, Screen Rant readers? Who should make an appearance in the film? Let us know in the comments.
The Power Rangers reboot doesn't have a release date yet. Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available.