I don’t consider myself a huge Power Rangers fan right now, as I am a Star Wars fan or a comic book movie fan. However, 15 years ago, Power Rangers was my life. Just like many of you, I would finish my homework early and beg my mom to let me watch Power Rangers every weekend. I loved the original series and, heck, I even loved the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie that had horrible, over the top characters like Ivan Ooze and CGI that doesn’t at all hold up to this day.
So, when news first broke out that Saban was pairing up with Lionsgate to produce a new Power Rangers movie, I lost my mind! Although I hadn’t watched Power Rangers in years, this news brought back so many memories and I couldn’t help be excited. But of course, I was also a little worried. Do we actually need a Power Rangers movie? And if we get it, will it actually be any good? Then the first trailer dropped and all my worries faded away. The entire marketing campaign for Saban’s Power Rangers has been nothing short of amazing.
Having watched the movie twice, I can say that this movie exceeded all my expectations. Sure, it isn’t a perfect movie – far from it in fact. It’s definitely no masterpiece. But, it’s everything I expected a Power Rangers movie to be and more.
With that said, here are 15 mind blowing facts about Power Rangers. Let’s start with 10 facts about the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series and movie.
15. Power Rangers is based on Super Sentai
If you thought Power Rangers was an original American idea, you would be wrong. In fact, Power Rangers already existed in Japan way before the 90s and was known as Super Sentai. Super Sentai was created by Toei Studios in the mid-70s, with its first version lasting about two years or so. After the first iteration, the Rangers in Super Sentai got a new theme every year. The American version that most of us have come to know and love were based on the 16th version of Toei’s Rangers known as Beast Rangers of the Dinosaur Corps (yep, I know. It’s a mouthful).
In an article written by the Los Angeles Times, Toei chose that theme as they wanted to ride on the popularity of Jurassic Park, which was the biggest craze at that time. These characters were then licensed to Saban Entertainment which then birthed the American Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
14. The action sequences were from Super Sentai
In addition to being inspired by the Japanese show Super Sentai, all the action sequences of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were taken from the Japanese show as well. In an interview with complex, the show producer Levy said:
Rather than film their own action sequences, they chose to keep the Japanese action and create an American show for the rest. When it finally got to air, the main challenge was, because all of the action in the show came from Japanese footage, we were obligated to follow that storyline. For example, we’d get an episode where they were fighting some type of rubber-looking pig. We had no idea what the story was about, and so had to build our own around the Japanese footage … In time, we got more in sync with the Japanese, and when they saw the success of the show in the U.S. they started adjusting their work patterns to accommodate us.
In fact, the American actors who played the power rangers rarely even wore their costumes. These actors only wore their costumes for transitioning purposes or in the command center when they wore their suits with the helmet off. Other than that, all the scenes with the rangers in their suits were all Japanese footage, including all the scenes involving Zords.
13. Jason David Frank is king of Power Rangers
I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s favourite Power Ranger of all time is Tommy Oliver played by Jason David Frank. Tommy Oliver was originally the Green Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers but has since then played the Red Zeo Ranger, Red Turbo Ranger, White Ranger, White Ninja Ranger and Black Dino Ranger as well. This guy is nothing short of legendary. Heck, even to this day, he shows up at comic conventions all over the country promoting his appearances on various Power Rangers series.
And if that isn’t cool enough, note this: Since the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Jason David Frank has acted in over 230 episodes in the series, which is a number that no other Power Rangers actor can even come close to. And he doesn’t just appear in the main series as well. In fact, Jason David Frank has made multiple appearances in hardcore fans’ favourite web series Super Power Beat Down.
12. Zordon was only filmed once in the original MMPR
If you found the idea of Saban infusing pre-existing action sequences from a Japanese show into an American TV series hilarious or lazy, wait till you hear this. Even as a kid, something seemed awfully weird about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Well a lot of things felt weird, but this one stands out in particular. Zordon’s head more often than not seemed out of sync with whatever he was saying. And as a kid who didn’t know anything about editing or what goes on behind the scenes, I always thought there was something wrong with my TV. Yeah, I know. I was an idiot.
However, in actual fact, Zordon’s head seemed out of place because for the sake of cutting cost, the showrunners had David Fielding, the actor played Zordon, come in to film Zordon’s scenes only on one occasion. David Fielding filmed for a few hours and then went on his merry way. Whatever footage they got from that one filming session, was used in every single scene in the show involving Zordon. Every now and then, David Fielding would head back to the studio to record more dialogue that will be used in future episodes. These dialogues were then lazily incorporated into the same Zordon footage that was recorded that one time.
11. Rita Repulsa was fired then rehired in the original MMPR
One of the more interesting aspects of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is Barbara Goodson’s Rita Repulsa. Sure Rita Repulsa isn’t a complex villain like The Joker from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but through Barbara Goodson’s performance, Rita Repulsa became an iconic cheesy character that 90s kids will remember forever. However, there was a point where Barbara Goodson almost wasn’t cast as Rita.
In an interview with Complex, Barbara Goodson had this to say:
When they initially cast me, they told me they needed a Wicked Witch of the West-like voice so I did exactly what they asked. But after a poll, they determined I wasn’t scary enough—and fired me. I asked them if I could try something else, but they said they would open it up to other people. And at the point, I had already done the pilot. So I said, ‘Come on guys, let me audition at least.’ I was pissed off. … I came up with that [hoarse Rita] voice out of being annoyed, and it lasted for five years.
Safe to say Saban made a damn good decision in hiring Barbara Goodson. In the latest movie, Saban’s Power Rangers, Elizabeth Banks plays a more grounded and gritty version of Rita Repulsa than Barbara Goodson’s original.
10. The original series was banned in several countries
What is up with countries and their crazy censorship laws, especially of shows and movies targeted towards children. Most recently, there was huge controversy surrounding the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast because of its inclusion of a gay character. However, over the past week or so, that issue has been resolved.
Having said that, in the early 90s, many countries opted to ban Mighty Morphin Power Rangers because of its “VIOLENCE.” What on earth? Sounds like a joke right? But the reality is, the series was banned in New Zealand and two Canadian TV stations chose not to air it. If that isn’t funny enough, the series was also initially banned in Malaysia, but not because of violence. In what could possibly be the biggest joke of the century, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was banned in Malaysia because authorities figured that the word “morphin” would encourage children to start doing the drug, “morphine.” However, after censoring the word “Morphin,” the show was allowed back on the air.
In addition to the show being banned, any clothing and merchandises associated with the series was banned at one pre-school in New York City. Also, many parents thought the show was extremely violent from the get-go and disallowed their kids from watching the show.
9. The actors choreographed their own fight sequences in the original series
In addition to the Rangers fighting in suits, the original series featured many action sequences where the Rangers fought without their armoured spandex suits. All these action sequences were choreographed by the actors themselves. Saban made sure to hire actors who were also fairly athletic. Johnson and Yost were gymnasts, while St. John, Frank and Jones were experiences martial artists.
The showrunners asked Jones to find a way to embody the character, “hip hop kido.” In an interview with Huffington Post, Jones said:
“It was something I had to go put some thought to and figure out why I was doing what I was doing and how it would be most effective … That was one of the funnest parts of the job for me, coming up with new ways to dance and fight at the same time.”
However, as evident from many of the points mentioned above, the show wasn’t actually known for its excellent planning. Most of these fight sequences were shot within a short period of time and Jones wasn’t given much time to choreograph these sequences.
It wasn’t like a film production where you get two weeks to do a fight and it’s choreographed properly. It was like, ‘OK, so in the script today, you’re going to be fighting in the park. Hey, how about you fight on this park bench, can you come up with something?’ And so I got 15 minutes, 20 minutes, a half hour, to figure out what I wanted to do. They give me a couple putties … It was all really improvised and choreographed spontaneously.
8. They got horrible salaries
Although the actors were tasked to choreograph their own action sequences, they were not getting paid proper salaries at all. In an interview with No Pink Spandex, Amy Jo Johnson said, “Literally, we were being paid, I think, tops $600 a week.”
And in an interview with The Huffington Post, Austin St. John said:
I could have worked the window at McDonald’s and probably made the same money the first season. It was disappointing, it was frustrating, it made a lot of us angry … We had a lot of fun. We worked around the damn clock. We worked long, long hard hours on a non-union show. And we’ll just never be paid what we should have been paid.
One of the biggest reason for this was because Mighty Morphin Power Rangers wasn’t a union show and so the actors did not have any protection.
I figured after two seasons we deserved to be a union show. And the conversation basically went that we should all get together and talk to representation and have someone represent us for these contracts as [a] group. And that didn’t work out. So three of us ended up negotiating and three of us stayed. And eventually what happened is that we just negotiated out of the contracts and moved on.
7. The original movie was almost a disaster
With everything that has been mentioned above, the fact that the first Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie was almost a disaster isn’t surprising at all. In fact, what’s surprising is the fact that this movie actually got made and raked in close to 67 Million USD worldwide against a 15 million USD budget.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers features entirely new props and suits and the movie would take place in an alternate timeline (so to speak) from the show. We had the same characters and many of the same actors including Jason David Frank as Tommy, but this wasn’t a direct continuation from the show. However, the production process underwent a lot of problems.
In contrast to the TV show, this movie comprised solely of original footage. Which means Saban didn’t splice action sequences from the Japanese show Super Sentai into this movie. This led to a few problems during filming as it was uncharted territory for the people involved. But perhaps the biggest issue with the movie revolved around the script as producer Suzanne Todd would constantly rewrite the script even on set while the crew were already filming. This often times led to certain scenes undergoing reshoots.
6. Bryan Cranston voiced two villains in the past
When Bryan Cranston was initially cast as Zordon, fans rejoiced. One, because Bryan Cranston is an incredible actor. His work in Breaking Bad is undoubtedly one of the best television performances of all time. Two, because Bryan Cranston actually has a long history with the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
If you pay very close attention to the villains in two episodes of the 1993 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series – “Foul Play in the Sky” and “A Bad Reflection on You” – you’ll definitely be able to hear the voice of Bryan Cranston. In a recent Reddit AMA, Bryan Cranston had this to say:
I did voice work for the Power Rangers years and years ago. Someone once told me they named the Blue Power Ranger after me, his last name was Cranston. I found out years later that was true.
After watching 2017’s Saban’s Power Rangers, I think it’s safe to say that Saban and Lionsgate made an excellent choice in casting Bryan Cranston. Cranston brings a certain depth and nuance to Zordon that hasn’t been seen before.
5. The first LGBT superhero
Back in the day during the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the original Blue Ranger played by David Yost was treated horrendously on set by fellow cast and crew members because of his sexual orientation. His treatment was so bad, that he even contemplated suicide. Speaking at the Anime Festival Orlando 2010, David Yost said:
I walked off set one day during the middle of lunch – I had made a decision, I had been thinking about it for a good week, and the reason I walked off was because I was called faggot one too many times. I had heard that several times while working on the show from creators, producers, writers, directors. It’s not that people can’t talk about me, and have their opinion about me – but continuing to work in an environment like that is really difficult. I myself was struggling with who I was, or what I was, and to be made fun of on some level, or to be stereotyped, or put into a category – I felt like I was continually being told I’m not worthy of where I am because I’m ‘a gay person’ and I’m not supposed to be an actor and can’t be a superhero.
So it’s great to know that all these years later, we actually have a LGBT Power Rangers. In Saban’s Power Rangers, the Yellow Ranger, Trini is a supposedly LGBT. I say supposedly because it isn’t explicitly mentioned, but rather implied. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Director Dean Israelite had this to say:
For Trini, really she’s questioning a lot about who she is. She hasn’t fully figured it out yet. I think what’s great about that scene and what that scene propels for the rest of the movie is, ‘That’s OK.’ The movie is saying, ‘That’s OK,’ and all of the kids have to own who they are and find their tribe.
4. No romance
In the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Kimberly and Tommy are a couple. Heck, for the most part, Kimberly pretty much plays the role of a beautiful damsel and distress who constantly needs to be rescued by Tommy. In Power Rangers Zeo, Jason is romantically involved with Emily, who just like Kimberly plays a damsel in distress.
In 2017’s Saban’s Power Rangers, Jason and Kimberly are the ones romantically involved, as indicated by their kiss in the trailer. Which was something most of us saw coming from a mile away. The Red Ranger and Pink Ranger being in a relationship isn’t exactly ground breaking stuff.
Or so we thought…
In the final cut that we see in cinemas, Jason and Kimberly are not romantically involved at all. There is a scene where Kimberly creeps into Jason’s bedroom to talk to him and my initial thought was, “yep, they’re going to kiss here.” Only it didn’t happen. There was no kiss in that scene and there wasn’t a post-action celebratory kissing scene as well. As a matter of fact, Jason and Kimberly are just good friends here. And, unlike the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Kimberly isn’t a damsel in distress here, but a legitimate badass.
3. Classic 90s theme song
One of the things I was looking forward to the most in Saban’s Power Rangers is the classic Power Rangers theme song. That theme song was pretty much absent throughout the movie’s marketing campaign, besides a split second right at the end of the trailers. That got me a little worried. As with most reboots and reimagined movies these days, the classic scores are rarely included. Man of Steel lacked John Williams’ iconic theme song and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy lacked the iconic Batman theme as well.
Fortunately, Saban’s Power Rangers did include the classic theme song although merely for a fleeting moment. Though, when it did play, it was SPECTACULAR. And as an icing on the cake, the classic 90s theme – Go Go Power Rangers – isn’t remixed nor remastered. It is exactly how it is in the original.
However, the rest of the movie’s soundtrack is extremely underwhelming, consisting of some popular mainstream songs. Saban’s Power Rangers could have been so much better had someone like Hans Zimmer, Ramin Djawadi or John Williams composed the tunes. Sadly, for the most part, the soundtrack is flat. Don’t get me wrong, this is an enjoyable movie overall. However, it didn’t feel epic, not even during the scene where The Megazord is taking on Goldar. And I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of the underwhelming soundtrack.
2. Abundance of easter eggs
While 2017’s Saban’s Power Rangers isn’t a direct continuation to any of the Power Rangers series nor the 90s movies, it still does come with a fair share of throwbacks and Easter Eggs to get fans of the classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers excited. The following are some of the Easter Eggs that can be found in the movie:
1) Angel Grove High is the school that the Rangers studied in, even in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Cool thing is, The Angel Grove High logo in this new film is the same one used in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
2) While there are Zords in 2017’s Saban’s Power Rangers, there wasn’t much discussion about each Ranger’s specific animal. However, in Trini’s bedroom there is a window that features a circle with a tiger’s head which was the Yellow Ranger’s original Power Coin design in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
3) While watching Saban’s Power Rangers (2017) there will be a couple of moments where there are noticeable street signs that read “Reefside” and “Ocean Bluff Rd.” While on the surface it may seem like any regular street sign, in actual fact, these are references to classic Power Rangers TV shows, Power Rangers DinoThunder (2004) and Power Rangers Jungle Fury (2008), which were set in the cities of Reefside and Ocean Bluff.
1. No Bulk and Skull
Just like Rita Repulsa, Zordon, Alpha 5, and the multi-coloured Rangers themselves, Bulk and Skull were extremely cheesy yet iconic characters in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Bulk and Skull are pretty much like Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise, except nine million times cornier. They’re mostly villainous, sometimes good, sometimes bullies and most definitely the series’ best source of comic relief. In fact, at one point, Saban actually considered making a Bulk and Skull spinoff series. As much as I enjoyed Bulk and Skull in the Power Rangers, I think it’s safe to say that giving them their own series would have been an absolute tragedy.
What’s interesting is the fact that there was no Bulk and Skull in sight in the latest Saban’s Power Rangers. Which is peculiar seeing as how there was a new bully character created just for this movie. It seems as though Saban missed a real golden opportunity here. However, something else in this movie did catch my attention. In the first act of the movie, we see two girls bullying Kimberly Hart. I wonder if this is the new versions of Bulk and Skull. Only time will tell. After all, Saban does have six movies planned for this franchise.