If I Was Making...POWER RANGERS
It's been a while since I've done one of these but having read comments from Jason David Frank (Tommy Oliver/Green/White/Red/Black Ranger) about wanting to see a series of Power Rangers films done in the vein of The Dark Knight, it reminded me of a Power Rangers reboot idea I've had for a while.
Power Rangers? POWER RANGERS? Who in their right minds would want to see a Power Rangers reboot? Me for one.
Rather than The Dark Knight though, I would follow the Battlestar Galactica path in rebooting the series. It could be a TV Show or a film series. It would rely on Western-produced battle footage though which would undoubtedly drive up the cost, making a film series feel like the better option. With that in mind, what I'm going to write could be seen as a first film or a TV pilot.
We begin in Central Asia, circa 8000 BC. Why 8000 BC? Well because that's 10,000 years ago and anyone who remembers the intro to the show remembers Rita's line - "At last, after 10,000 years I'm free - time to conquer Earth." At this point in history, Earth is considered a protected planet due to the evolution of sentients. It's determined that the development of Earth and the human race should not be interfered with. However, Earth is in a strategically important position the galaxy, right on the edge of "peaceful space" near the border of Repulsa-controlled space. The leader of the Repulsa Dominion, Rita Repulsa, the Witch Queen, wants to take control of Earth to gain a foothold in Peaceful Space and intends to use the newly involved humans in her vile genetic experiments that combine magic and science to create horrible mutations.
However, the planet Eltar, long seen as the guardian world of peaceful space, sends it's best warrior, know as "The Dragon" to Earth to halt Rita's plans. The Dragon is the precursor to the Green Ranger and commands the DragonZord. After a fierce battle, The Dragon sacrifices himself, giving up his power coin in order to send Rita and her minions to a newly built prison on the moon, under the lunar surface. As Rita is locked away, she vows vengeance.
Peaceful space is on the verge of collapse. An Eltaran traitor, Lord Zedd, has seized control of the home world and has begun systematically destroying Eltaran outposts, hunting down opposition. Before their defeat, the Eltarans managed to erase all knowledge of Earth from their records to hide it from Zedd. The legendary Ranger Corp has been wiped out and only 5 power coins remain. The last surviving member of the Eltaran Royal Family, Zordon, is sent away to protect the coins, but during his escape, his ship comes under fire and Zordon himself is badly injured. His trusty android assistant, Alpha 5, puts Zordon in statis and flies the ship to Earth to make preparations for Zedd's eventual arrival.
And that's the backstory out of the way...now then:
Our story begins proper with a group of astronauts on a mission to the moon. As they explore the lunar surface, they come across what appears to be an airlock, sticking out of the ground. Shocked and amazed, they open the airlock and find a large, man-made structure inside. It's old. Very old. And dark. They explore inside. It's creepy as hell (think Alien) and eventually they come across a large room, I mean really massive. It's the size of Manhattan. There are hundreds of thousands of stasis pods contained within. Of course one of the astronauts presses the wrong button and the stasis pods begin to open. Thousands of alien soldiers (Puttys...but not as stupid) emerge and begin chasing the Astronauts. Just when they think they're safe, they run into Rita's second-in-command - Goldar. This Goldar is ruthless. He tears the astronauts apart with his bear hands. Then he goes to find Rita's stasis pod and releases her.
This alien prison on the moon has now been taken over by the prisoners. Going to the control room, Rita and Goldar pick up millions of signals coming from Earth. It seems that the human race has advanced over time. She tries to contact Repulsa Dominion space but there's no response. After discovering that she's been in stasis for 10,000 years, she vows revenge and she's going to start with Earth. The first thing she does is to raise the prison from under the lunar surface. It's no longer a prison, it's now her palace and from there she will orchestrate the conquest of Earth.
We go to the Eltar Command Centre on Earth. Alarms are going off. Alpha 5 is activated. This Alpha is more human in how he looks. Along the lines of Data from Star Trek. Unlike Data though, Alpha 5 has plenty of emotion and a snarky disposition. He's sarcastic as hell. He does have his "Ay Ay Ay Ay Ay" catchphrase but he says it in a less excitable way, less panic, more sarcasm. Alpha discovers that Rita has escaped and brings the Command Centre online. The first thing he has to do is wake up Zordon, who remains in stasis due to his injuries. So Alpha goes to Plan B, which involves broadcasting Zordon's consciousness into the Command Centre itself (Head in tube though not as goofy). But it's going to take a while. In the meantime, all Alpha can do is watch and wait.
Rita's armies attack Earth. This isn't some goofy putty attack. We're talking hardened soldiers, alien monsters, highly destructive weaponry. Earth is under attack and the militaries of the world are struggling to even hold their own. Done right, this sequence would be badass. You'd get to see just how powerful Rita and her forces are.
Finding ourselves in Angel Grove, California, we see alien soldiers on the streets, people dying, parents trying desperately to protect their children. Amidst all the chaos, we see five high school students, all trying to help people escape. And yes they are the original five. Jason and Zack are good friends and martial artists. They even try to fight off a couple of the aliens. They fail miserably. Kimberly and Trini are actually rivals in high school. They're on the school gymnastics team together but they are anything but friends. Billy is...well, he's Billy. A genius but no physical skills whatsoever.
With Zordon's mind transfer into the Command Centre complete, he awakens to untold destruction. Earth is under siege. There's only one thing for it. It's time for the last 5 power coins to see some action. The power coins weren't designed with humans in mind, so there is a risk, but they're out of options and since the Command Centre isn't at full power, Zordon and Alpha can only choose from a limited range, the nearest population centre being Angel Grove.
Alpha suggests finding 5 soldiers currently fighting against Rita's forces but Zordon explains that to become a Ranger, you need more than strength or skill in the art of war. He lists out the virtues required to become a Ranger and with the parameters set, Alpha begins scanning the city for candidates. It turns out that there are 6 individuals who meet all the requirements. Alpha picks 5...the sixth...well that's for later.
As the soon-to-be Rangers do their best to help people escape the aliens, they find themselves suddenly being hit by what look like bolts of lightning. Next thing they know, they are in the Command Centre. When Alpha realises they are teenagers, he wants to send them back, but Zordon says that there is no time and that since they meet all the requirements, their age is irrelevant - Zordon of course knows nothing about human teenagers. Ha.
Alpha of course has spent the last few years preparing for the return of the Ranger Corp. Being on Earth, he has modeled the power coins on Earth's great beasts of the past, meant to convey a sense of power and respect to the local population. Had there been Power Rangers on Tatooine, the Zords would look like Banthas and Krayt Dragons.
Zordon and Alpha explain the situation to the teens. All of them, except Billy, think it's way over their heads. They're afraid of being targeted, of their families being targeted, even though Alpha says their identities will remain hidden. They feel like it's all too much for them and want to leave. Billy wants to stay and fight but Zordon says a Ranger shouldn't fight alone. They're a team for a reason. We learn that there's not enough power in the Command Centre to teleport the teens back to where they were, but it's just a 5 mile walk back to Angel Grove.
Before they leave, Zordon insists that they take a power coin and a "morpher" each, confident that they'll change their minds. What none of them know is that when they were teleported from Angel Grove, Rita managed to discover the signal of Eltaran technology and has sent her forces to find and destroy the Command Centre. As the teens begin walking back to Angel Grove, they are surrounded by alien soldiers. They fight them off as best they can but the odds are stacked against them, the enemy is overwhelming. They are left with only one choice - It's morphing time.
Now, about morphing. How would it work in this series/film? Well the first thing the morphers do is alter the user's genetic make up. They make the user stronger, more agile, quickens reflexes, enhances brain function to make them more adaptive in combat situations. It also uploads combat techniques to the brain (I know Kung Fu). This isn't instant though, when they first morph, non-martial artists will struggle until their brains can process all of the combat information being uploaded to their brains.
The suits rely on what I call "nano-expansion" technology. They are essentially compressed within the morphers and advanced, alien nano-tech is used to expand the suits around the user. You literally see the suits growing around them. The whole calling out the name of the beast on the power coin thing remains. It's essentially a code word to activate the morpher. With everything at peak condition, the helmets relay combat data and strategies to the wearer through the helmets. All of the suits are linked together for communication and enhance strength even further than the genetic-resequencing. This allows the Rangers to fight outside their suits with enhanced strengths, only wearing them when the situation becomes dire.
So the teens become the Power Rangers for the first time. They protect the Command Centre and manage to drive back Rita's forces, all the way to Angel Grove. Eventually the alien army is forced to retreat...but the rest of the world is still under siege - this is where the TV pilot would end.
In a movie we continue on and the following events are basically a condensed version of what would happen in the TV show.
The newly-formed Power Rangers have a clear mission - drive Rita Repulsa off Earth. In the TV show, this involves a series of missions around the world and the gradual introduction of the Zords. In a movie, the Zords are introduced for the climactic battle when Rita sends Goldar to deal with the Rangers. Rita does have magic in this version and she can make her monsters grow. Unlike the original series however, this doesn't include Goldar. At least not yet. The reason being that in this version, the monsters/aliens, once grown to building-size, become unstable and will ultimately die in a most explosive manner. In the climactic battle, Goldar has what amounts to a giant tank and two magically grown monsters at his side. The battle is intense. The Zords are powerful but untested. Eventually they come together to form the Megazord but Alpha reveals that the Megazord wasn't complete. There were a hell of a lot of bugs to work out and half of the weapons don't work. In fact, the Rangers are reduced to using the power sword.
After an intense battle in Angel Grove where the Rangers in their Zords fight off Rita's army and defeat Goldar, Rita is forced to call a full retreat. What's left of her army returns to the prison/palace on the moon as Rita realises that if she's going to conquer Earth, first she must take care of the Rangers.
The Rangers return to the Command Centre, victorious and ready to celebrate. The celebrations are cut short however when Rita and Goldar enter the Command Centre. We learn that Alpha 5 is actually a capable fighter as he lays into Goldar, humiliating him. Rita though says they aren't there to fight, but to talk. Zordon informs her that her old empire has long since vanished, her home world is now under the control of Lord Zedd. He tries to convince Rita that they need to be on the same side but Rita just laughs it off. She proclaims that she will rebuild her empire, starting with Earth and that if Zordon really wants to protect Earth, the Rangers should fight for her, that she will spare Earth untold misery if they swear allegiance to her. The Rangers of course refuse. Rita and Goldar leave. Alpha vows to increase security, Billy has a few ideas about that.
Back on the moon, we discover that while in the Command Centre, Goldar managed to get a hold of an empty morpher. Rita holds out the ancient power coin that she took from "The Dragon" all those years ago. Maybe she'll make her own Power Ranger...
And so the movie/season ends with Earth free - for now. The Rangers are firmly established as heroes and friends, ready to face what's coming next. They go back to school, their identities as Rangers a secret. We meet Bulk and Skull for the first time (they have bigger roles in the next movie/season) as well as the mysterious sixth candidate who ultimately wasn't chosen to be a Ranger - Tommy Oliver.
The way I would do this isn't to make it "dark" for the sake of being dark. I'd treat it like a war. The Rangers would go through personal trials. They wouldn't all be friends and they would have to learn to work together. It would only be at the end where they truly become a team, the Megazord symbolizing how they've all come together.
I also want to make Rita more of a threat. When she invades Earth, it really all goes to hell. People die. Cities are destroyed. It's a war.
Movie/season 2 would focus almost entirely on the Green Ranger Saga. We'd follow Tommy Oliver's kidnapping and brainwashing, his battles against the Rangers, his use of the Dragonzord etc before eventually breaking free of Rita to help the Rangers defeat her once and for all. We'd also see Rita getting more and more desperate and the gradual introduction of Lord Zedd. He wouldn't show up himself until the end but his presence would be felt throughout as word of five Rangers being left in the galaxy reaches him.
Movie/Season 3 would go dark. I mean really dark. Lord Zed arrives, kills Rita's lieutenants and imprisons Rita. The Rangers take him on and lose badly. Like Rita before him, Zed would invade Earth, only this time, the Rangers lose. Zordon's essence is returned to his body and Zedd heals him, just so he can torture him. The Command Centre is destroyed, the Rangers are stripped of their powers, the power coins being crushed in Zedd's hands. Earth comes under his complete control. Much of the film/season is spent with the now-powerless Rangers becoming part of a resistance movement. Their victories are few. Rangers die. None of this "world peace conference crap." Jason attacks Zedd and gets his neck snapped. Rocky is introduced as a resistance fighter. He obviously becomes the next red ranger. Other rangers, like Zack and Trini, who were written out of the original show when the actors left, may stick around a bit longer. I think Jason being killed is provides a big enough impact.
Eventually the Rangers leave Earth behind to go to Eltar to free Zordon with help from Alpha 5. On Eltar we even see Alpha 1, the first Alpha-droid prototype, which happens to look like the original Alpha 5. With Zordon freed, they seek to reforge the power coins and build new Zords. They return to Earth as the Thunder Rangers, for the final battle against Zed. Defeating Zedd means freedom, not just for Earth, but for the whole galaxy. When Zedd is finally defeated, he's dead. No prison. No escape. Dead. And he takes Rita with him. The end of the story sees the end of the Power Rangers. Earth no longer needs them and Zordon is free to return to Eltar to help rebuild Peaceful Space. The Ranger Corp is re-instated across the galaxy and the Rangers go back to their lives before their adventure began.
I wouldn't have a set up where the Ranger teams start changing every film/season. There'd be no Turbo, Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed, Time Force. None of that. If there was to be a fourth season/film, it would involve the Ranger Corp as a whole. It would be somewhat of a Rangers in Space adaptation but with the characters from the Rita/Zedd era.
So yeah...Power Rangers. Long read. Discuss. Ha.
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