100th Post – Power Rangers Reboot
Well I did it, I’ve reached a milestone and successfully managed to keep something going for an extended period of time. Yay me! I tend to abandon projects so I’m quite proud of myself for not doing that with this. I’d like to thank everyone who’s shown me support, read my posts, retweeted my posts and generally being awesome.
For my 100th post I decided not to review something and instead do something a little more creative. There’s been lots of talk of a big budget live action Power Rangers reboot with the ever talentless franchise ruiner Roberto Orci acting as executive producer so I thought I would share with you some notes I took a couple of years ago that detail how I might tackle a modern reboot of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Is this juvenile and childish? Absolutely but I still hold a special place in my nostalgic heart for this series and I put a fair bit of work into it and I’m ready for it to be seen. I hope you enjoy.
The original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was set in a fictional town/city called Angel Grove and all of the main characters were at high school. My version would be a city and would the name of Angel Grove but I’m not really interested in a high school superhero story so I would age the characters slightly and have them at university. This would allow the stories to be a little more grown up as well as making it more believable that they would be able to handle this massive responsibility thrust upon them. This would put the characters between 18 and 20 years old and have them at different stages of their university careers.
A university setting opens up lots of possibilities for locations. In the original show they hung around in a juice bar that also doubled as a gym/demonstration area/whatever the show needed it to be but for this version I would look to expand this. The characters would socialise in the student union run by a man named Ernie but they would make use of the campus gym and other locations on the university grounds as needed. The student union would always be a hive of activity and would attract every student at one time or another. There would also be scope to head into the city and make use of whatever locations are there.
I would look to preserve the team dynamic of the original series and the characters but my plan is to expand on the social differences that the show usually did little more than imply, I’ve put a brief bio of the main characters below:
The leader of the team and the oldest of the group, being in his final university year; he’s handsome, smart, athletic and popular but very judgmental and dismissive of others who don’t agree with him. He won’t give those he considers to be “uncool” any thought and regards them as beneath him. His best friend is Zack but he’s never short of friends. He’s very talented in martial arts.
Initially, his character arc would be to overcome his judgmental tendencies and focus on what is the best for the team as well as learn how to function effectively as a leader. His martial arts prowess makes him a perfect choice to be put in charge of the team but he has much to learn before they become a well functioning unit.
She’s beautiful, shallow, self obsessed and very narrow minded. Coming from a rich family she has always lived out of daddy’s wallet and never wanted for anything. As a result she’s prone to judgmental behaviour, obsessed with appearances and always expects to get what she wants in life. She’s never been in a situation where that hasn’t happened. She’s a very talented gymnast who always wins competitions and never expects anything else. As a result she is very difficult for some people to get along with but has managed to become friends with Trini despite the fact that they are very different people.
Her character arc initially will be learning how worthwhile other people are and growing out of her selfish nature. A big thing for her will be learning that she is able to help others and that there are lots of people out there that she could be doing things for. She will also need to learn to get along with the team as some of them aren’t people she would typically associate with. Another thing that will happen to her is that she’ll quickly become distanced from her other shallow friends as they perceive her as suddenly being “no fun” and never around. She will undergo the most fundamental personality changes of the group.
He’s the group’s resident genius and might be perceived as being a nerd stereotype at first. He’s very socially awkward, incredibly intelligent as well as being very compassionate towards the misfortunes of others. People find him very difficult to get along with as they simply can’t understand what wavelength he operates on and struggle to find any common ground to strike up a meaningful conversation. He spends all of his free time alone and has no friends because he doesn’t really want any since he finds social situations unsettling and awkward. In his spare time he prefers to study and conduct his experiments privately, only really attending university so that he has documented proof of his abilities so that he can move onto greater things as soon as possible. It is suspected but not confirmed that Billy is on the Autism spectrum. It should also be noted that he goes by William but it’s Jason that decides to call him Billy despite the fact that he doesn’t like it.
In terms of character arc his will involve him learning how to function in social situations. He will have to learn how to contribute to team discussions using language that people will find acceptable and the team will have to get used to him as well. He will have the most difficult time fitting in as his nature makes the others feel uneasy. His genius will be an excellent asset to the team and he will get along best with Alpha 5.
Trini is the daughter of a Chinese billionaire who really wanted a son to take over the company from him once he retired. Her family life growing up was very uneasy because of this, made worse by the fact that her mother died when she was 3. Trini’s father was incredibly hard on her, practically forcing her to go to America and study business so that she could prove herself worthy of being her father’s heir. She is a very private individual as well as being very driven and intelligent. She spends much of her time studying in a misguided attempt to live up to her father’s impossible expectations but occasionally does manage to socialise and have fun. She and Kimberly have become friends after sharing some classes together but they aren’t at all close due to a combination of Kim’s shallow attitude and Trini’s guarded personality.
Her character arc will involve her coming out of her shell a little and gaining confidence to help her realise her self worth. Her intelligence will help her empathise with Billy more so than the others and eventually the two of them will become friends through an understanding of how distanced they feel from the others.
He’s the most laid back member of the group and is completely lacking in prejudice, a sense of social superiority or animosity towards others. He can be a little shallow in who he decides to become friends with but bears no ill will towards anyone else, he will be pleasant to everyone he meets but forget about those he doesn’t want to become friends with after the conversation. This means that he is well liked by pretty much everyone but only a handful of people can claim to really know him. He is a few months younger than Jason who is his best friend and he is a very accomplished dancer. His major failing is pursuing a girl named Angela who isn’t interested in him at all. The team will mostly be held together by his easy going nature stopping their disparate personalities from breaking the group apart altogether.
The main character arc for him will involve taking life more seriously, the stakes involved in being a Power Ranger won’t really affect him at first but events will force him to become more aware of what is actually involved. He will have to start thinking about the consequences of his actions and the effect they have on his team mates.
In the original show, Tommy didn’t appear right away but in my version he would. His role would be very much a background one to begin with. To prepare for his eventual role as enemy to the Power Rangers he would start out as being incredibly aggressive and confrontational, especially to Jason who would be a big rival of his in the field of martial arts. They would appear to be evenly matched here but each of them would disagree on this point. His aggressive nature means that he doesn’t get along well with people but he also doesn’t really want to. Kimberly seems very attracted to him and Tommy occasionally shows interest in her on a purely superficial level.
In terms of a character arc he won’t really have one to begin with. He’ll be around to begin with and will interact with the characters in different ways but won’t become prominent until an adaptation of the Green Ranger introduction arc happens.
These characters are important to the mythos and it’d be wrong to not include them. Back in the original series they were bumbling bullies who existed to be laughed at for the most part. In this version they will be criminals who are doing community service at the university. They’ve had a rough upbringing in a run down are with disinterested parents which has caused them to lack ambition and act out by hurting others and committing crimes. They will be a minor nuisance for the rangers in their civilian identities for a while.
They will have a character arc in the form of becoming better people. They will act as the outsider perspective on the Power Rangers and through these characters the public perception of this team of super heroes will be explored. Bulk will be a fan of the Power Rangers where Skull will not causing conflict in their friendship but both of them will be inspired by the selfless acts and wonder what they can do to make themselves better.
An inter-dimensional being who manifests to the Rangers as a transparent head projected onto a field of energy. His voice deep and what he says has a lot of wisdom but there’s a lot of mystery about him and his past, something that some of the Rangers do not trust at first. He is a force for good and his intentions seem noble if vague. Zordon’s motivation and his past will be revealed over time.
An android that pretty much serves as Zordon’s physical presence. He operates the command centre and provides technical support for the Rangers when they are in the field. The artificial intelligence is advanced but whether he is sentient is open for debate. Billy is naturally fascinated by the existence of Alpha and they become friends, commenting on humanity through their shared detachment. Who built Alpha and why is left vague for a while but like Zordon his origins will be revealed as time goes on.
An ancient enemy of Zordon who can’t be destroyed so was locked in a seemingly inescapable pocket dimension similar to the Phantom Zone in Superman lore. She manages to weaken her prison to the extent that she is able to exert influence on the Rangers’ native dimension. The Rangers won’t directly interact with her at first and neither will Zordon but she will interact with her agents on Earth as well as those trapped with her.
Goldar is Rita’s primary agent on Earth. She is able to communicate with him and order him to do things to help her escape as well as cause untold destruction. He is an ancient warrior who used to fight on Zordon’s side but felt betrayed at some point in the past for an as yet unspecified reason so joined with Rita in opposition. He is a mysterious figure but seems to be honourable in his own way. There are things he won’t do for Rita and victories he won’t claim over the Power Rangers because of his personal code.
Another agent of Rita’s on Earth. He specialises in creating monsters that can be used to further Rita’s cause. He is blindly loyal and always follows orders which causes him to frequently disagree with Goldar over the methods being used. He’s very timid and put upon so normally backs down in an argument but he struggles with the differing orders from the two sources.
The story would start during a normal day at Angel Grove University where our characters are going about their daily lives as normal. At this point they don’t all each other though Jason knows Zack very well and Kimberley doesn’t know Trini as well as she thinks she does. It is a beautiful, cloudless, sunny day until the weather changes instantly and an earthquake begins.
During this panic and chaos, the five Power Rangers are teleported to the command centre where they meet Alpha and Zordon who tell them that they have been selected to protect the Earth. Naturally the group are full of questions and disbelief. Zordon and Alpha are vague about the reasons for choosing the five of them but they do labour the assertion that each of them were chosen for a reason, opting not to answer the questions specifically asking for details. They are given some superficial information about the nature of the current threat and are told about their powers as well as what Zord they will be piloting in situations where they require more firepower.
No sooner are they given this brief information dump are they told of a threat that needs their immediate attention and are teleported away still confused and full of questions. When they arrive at their destination they are in costume and confronted by Goldar with a Finster created monster and a group of henchmen (later to be affectionately known by the Power Rangers as The Putty Patrol or simply Putties). Goldar clearly recognises the costumes and is fully aware that Zordon sent them but doesn’t say any more than that before attacking them. Jason is the only member of the team who holds his own with the rest being easily incapacitated. Eventually Jason is overwhelmed and Zordon has them all teleported out allowing Goldar to complete his mission that involves draining a nuclear power station dry in order to increase Rita’s influence on Earth.
Back at the command center the Power Rangers lick their wounds and discuss their defeat. Each of them tell Zordon that they were the wrong choice and should just be sent home in favour of people better suited to combat but Zordon insists that they are the right choice and tells them that they cannot be separated from their powers and remain alive. Trini in particular is angry at this responsibility being thrust upon them against their will. Zordon coldly insists that they’re stuck with their powers and need to learn how to use them properly and work as a team.
Goldar’s success has increased Rita’s influence in our dimension allowing her to make Goldar and the monster dramatically increase to skyscraper size. Zordon and Alpha detect this so instruct the Power Rangers to pilot their Zords into battle. The battle is a difficult one but the monster is destroyed and Goldar is injured to the point where he is forced to retreat. He returns to his normal size and awaits instructions.
Following the battle the Power Rangers are in good spirits and celebrate their victory. Zordon is quick to remind them that it is far from over and that they will be called on again very soon. They are issued the familiar communication watches and returned to their lives, reminded of the rules set out for them including concealing their secret identities at all costs.
The rules that Zordon issues are the same as the rules he issued in the original show:
- Never use your power for personal gain
- Never escilate a battle unless forced to
- Always keep your identity a secret
Rule 2 isn’t something that the Power Rangers understand since they could deal with a small monster by simply standing on it rather than risking large scale destruction and the loss of life but Zordon cryptically insists that there are reasons for this and leaves it at that. He also heavily implies that willfully breaking these rules would have dire consequences to them.
During the first battle the Power Rangers aren’t issued with their familiar weapons for reasons that will later be made clear to them, basically Zordon doesn’t feel confident supplying them with weapons until they have greater mastery of their powers. When they are eventually issued with them Jason angrily states that their initial battle with Goldar may have had a very different outcome if they were better equipped.
This is only one example of the Power Rangers having a strained relationship with Zordon. None of them trust him because he isn’t very forthcoming with information they consider crucial and him having his reasons is often the only explanation that’s given. In many ways the only reason the Power Rangers continue to do what he requires of them is out of a combination of fear and acceptance that they are at least doing some good.
To begin with the Power Rangers will have a very strained relationship with each other. Socially they are very different people and the disparate personalities clash on many occasions. This makes it difficult for them to function effectively as a team. Jason takes it upon himself to train them to fight and try to encourage teamwork but it goes spectacularly badly to begin with as they continually argue with each other. It will take a while for them to grow to feel a sense of camaraderie with one another.
Rita’s plan is to escape her prison completely and manifest on Earth so that she can continue her plans to destroy Zordon and assert her dominance over the universe. To begin with her resources will be limited having to act through Goldar and Finster with her powers able to exert some influence on the monsters created. She will have no idea who the Power Rangers really are nor does it matter to her since she plans to destroy them along with the rest of humanity. She makes cryptic references to Earth being important to her plans but chooses not to explain why for her own interests since she doesn’t trust Goldar who has his own agenda but works with her because she promises him certain things that he wants.
The Zords respond to mental commands from the pilots -similar to Pacific Rim except they don’t have to simulate movement and only one pilot is needed per Zord- and are equipped with advanced weaponry beyond anything that humanity has managed to develop. Some of them are better in combat than others. The Tyrannosaurus is the most powerful offensive combatant, and Sabre-toothed Tiger is fast as well as being powerful in attacking. The Triceratops and Mastadon are slow and bulky but incredibly strong. The Pterodactyl is quick but not very powerful being used mostly for support and distraction.
Unlike in the original show, the Zords will be used individually to a far greater degree, allowing them to perform their own functions in battles. The Rangers won’t be very proficient at piloting them initially but they’ll become more focused through Jason’s training and become more effective and skilled as pilots eventually gaining enough focus to combine into the Megazord. The Dragonzord is more powerful than any of them but won’t appear until a lot later. The Zords are housed in a hanger beneath the command centre that teleports them to the Rangers when they are summoned.
Main Story Arcs
The main story arc initially would be the Power Rangers learning to function as a team and becoming a more effective fighting force. They will mostly get through the first few battles with dumb luck and relying on their powers as well as their Zords instead of skill. As they become a better fighting force the battles don’t always reach the giant monster stage meaning they use their Zords less and less as time goes on. Increased teamwork will eventually lead to them combining their Zords to create the Megazord when the occasion calls for it.
Mistrust of Zordon and Alpha will also be a big story point early on. Most of Zordon’s orders and advice will be incredibly vague and many of the missions they are sent on are less effectively completed due to a lack of information. Zordon dances around the questions asked of why they were chosen and what the consequences would be for breaking one of the 3 rules issued. Early on it seems like they are Power Rangers because they have no choice and they are fearful of the outcomes if they disobey. There will be a sinister undercurrent to everything Zordon says and it will be implied that he isn’t the force for good that he claims.
Tommy will be around early on and will be featured prominently to set up the eventual Green Ranger arc. He will succumb to various temptations set up by Rita and Goldar which will cause him to become more and more corrupted as time goes on. He will still think for himself but his morality will be completely corrupted, his thinking being warped to think that working for Rita is the right thing to do. He will also foster a hatred for the Power Rangers as time goes on.
There will also be mini arcs that carry through such as Jason acting as a vigilante in his spare time and helping people as well as stopping crimes. Zordon tries to accuse him of breaking the personal gain rule but Jason rightly reminds Zordon that there’s no personal gain involved since all he’s doing is using his powers for what Zordon claims to have given them for in the first place.
Allusions will be made to Zordon having recruited Power Rangers before and the history of the Power Coins as well as the nature of “The Morphing Grid”, also something that Rita is clearly connected to given that she is able to manipulate the green power coin.
That’s basically it for all the notes I had taken way back. For this post I looked over them again and made some updates but my thinking was still in the preliminary stages. Is everything meticulously figured out at this point? No and it may never be but I thought I’d share what I have anyway. The ideal plan for such a reboot would be a TV series to give time to really explore the characters and the situations throughout even though the budget limitations of television would likely kill all the cool effect shot potential. That’s the great thing about notes though, they don’t have to factor in budget or anything like that. I would of course keep the designs of the costumes and the Zords as close to the original as humanly possible, specifically retaining the colourful imagery that helped make the show so popular in the first place. I just love how the thing looks so have no real desire to change that to any massive degree. The music would also be preserved as much as possible because you’re just not beating that iconic theme.
In terms of tone it would be somewhat tongue in cheek but serious enough so that none of it feels meaningless, something akin to the early days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer of the 2010 Knight Rider series, both of which seemed to be self aware of their ridiculous concepts but still managing to be taken seriously enough for audiences to care about what was going on. I hope that this post at least outlines the dramatic potential of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series or that people at least had a laugh at how ridiculous this post really is. Also, remember that comic-con image of a battle damaged Red Power Ranger from comic-con a few years ago? How cool was that!
Following this post I will be moving my online presence to my very own website http://kneelbeforeblog.co.uk/ designed and built by Dayne De Kock and domain name inspired by Katie Siwek. I will be setting up redirects from here to the new site when I have time so don’t panic if clicking this link redirects you or if clicking on your favourite -I know you all have the blog favourited- takes you to the website instead of the blog. Thanks to all who read my first 100 posts and here’s to 100 more.