There have been many different iterations of the Power Rangers property on television since Mighty Morphin Power Rangers debuted in 1993, but the basic premise has never changed: a team of human teenagers are given tech that imbues them with super-powers (morphing abilities), along with giant assault machines (Zords) by a wise mentor figure, so they can battle a variety of intergalactic villains and threats.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (naturally) featured what remains the most widely-known wise leader and villain duo in Power Rangers history: the noble alien warrior Zordon and the evil-doer Rita Repulsa, respectively. It would make sense for both characters to be included in the upcoming film reboot, and Umberto Gonzalez (now of Heroic Hollywood) is claiming that this will, indeed, be the case. Here is how Gonzalez’s sources describe Rita, based on her planned depiction in the 2017 Power Rangers movie:
“A huntress. A striking, yet subtly alien-looking woman. She carries a metallic staff topped with a distinctive crescent shape. Advances with a soldier’s confidence, guided by some sort of compass… Her staff is actually a device of immense power. She points it at the ground. Heads emerge, built layer upon layer like 3-D printing, made from the earth itself… The staff’s technology grants her the ability to create humanoid figures, soulless and robotic.”
Israelite has said that the Powers Rangers reboot will “mature but still playful” in tone, suggesting that screenwriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz have re-imagined the Rangers universe in a way that will (in theory) resonate with a broader demographic, in terms of their age – bringing to mind how the duo approached the Marvel comic book world, with their Thor and X-Men: First Class script work. The idea behind such an approach would presumably be to make the Power Rangers film reboot something that has appeal to both adult fans and a younger crowd alike (much as Marvel Studios’ film releases generally do).
The description of Rita (assuming it’s accurate) lines up with that idea; the villain’s appearance sounds less campy than in previous versions, but it’s not so “grounded” as to no longer be kid-friendly and/or accidentally become a self-parody (which is somewhere that producer Adi Shankar and director Joseph Kahn’s viral hit Power/Rangers short film internationally went). The same goes for how Gonzalez’s sources describe Zordon in Miller and Stentz’s Power Rangers script (before Rita traps him in a time warp):
“Though alien, he looks like a man in his 50s. Sinewy and strong, as if carved from some root that refused to die. A being of integrity and iron will.”
The Power Rangers reboot will apparently introduce this new version of Zordon (as the original Red Ranger) during a prologue where he’s shown battling Rita on Earth, back when there are still dinosaurs roaming the planet. That would be in keeping with the world-building approach that Miller and Stentz took on Thor, which (you might recall) also starts out with a prologue (beginning in ancient times) that explores the history behind its main villains and heroes alike. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
In short: between official details and rumors alike, it sounds as though the new Power Rangers film is going to fall close to your average Marvel Studios movie release, in terms of temperament and how it aims to respectfully update the Power Rangers lore without alienating either newcomers or longtime fans of the property. That might not be the most innovative approach but again, it’s a smart one with a proven track record for success – and it might give Lionsgate (as well as Saban) the hit the studio wants.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on January 13th, 2017.