Shuki Levy and Haim Saban’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is one of the longest-running and most successful franchises to date, but now it’s getting a big-time Hollywood treatment. Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) is set to direct Power Rangers with the intention of providing fans with a fun, yet grounded take on the source material. Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama (The Last Witch Hunter) turned in an early draft of the script, with Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz developing a “mature but still playful” take on it, in Israelite’s words.
Whatever the tone is going to be, the success of this movie will still come down to the characters, the people behind the masks … behind the control of their Zords. Sources close to the movie have provided us with an exclusive early look at the names of the characters in Power Rangers and a great description of each of them. Fans of the original series will be quite pleased to know that the film is going back to the beginning and revisiting some old friends, albeit with much more fleshed out background stories. Check them out below:
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.
Let me be the first to say that, if these character descriptions hold true for the movie and actually come across in the script, then Power Rangers will be quite an improvement on the early days of the series. Those characters were paper-thin in the beginning because all kids really wanted to see was Austin St. John shout, “It’s morphin time!” at which point the five teenagers would spontaneously don spandex suits, boots, and helmets in order to fight the Putty Patrol, before piloting mecha Zords to battle giant monsters. It was great, and it was all you needed.
Now, after 22 years in popular culture, in order to launch a film franchise in earnest, fans are going to want a bit more out of their characters. It’s promising to note that each of the above-mentioned characters has an obvious strength that will benefit the team, but a fatal flaw that could tear them all apart or prevent cooperation at all. I also appreciate that the description wasn’t along the lines of, “Well, we need a Black guy to be the Black Ranger so…” It’s also interesting to note that while these character descriptions are certainly quite similar to the original team members, casting has yet to be announced so it’s possible we’ll see the characters represented in unexpected way. (And no mention of Bulk and Skull is a blessing in disguise.) Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Lionsgate and Saban Entertainment’s Power Rangers is due in theaters January 13, 2017.