It’s most certainly morphin’ time!
The Saturday morning TV staple Power Rangers (née Mighty Morphin) is coming to theaters in 2017 with a big-screen revival that will introduce a new version of the classic line-up of five alien-blasting teens.
While the roster might sound familiar, director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) told EW that he wanted this superhero story to reflect the lives of teens today. The new Power Rangers is a coming of age story for these “disenfranchised and disparate” high schoolers, who are not friends when the new story begins.
The modern setting was also taken into account during the casting process. Though many of the characters have had their races swapped, the cast retains the original’s diversity—while getting rid of the more race-based color assignments. This, according to Israelite, was a conscious choice to maintain what the original meant for fans around the world.
“From the very beginning, diversity was a very important part of the whole process,” he said. “We switched all of the races around, but we made sure that the essence of each of those characters are who they were in the original show, and this really will be an origin story of those characters.”
The Rangers’ suits will also be getting a update as well, thanks to Weta Workshop of Lord of the Rings fame, who fabricated the costumes. Israelite wanted the costume to be immediately recognizable as belonging to the Power Rangers, while give them a “really modern, edgy, badass, aspirational quality.”
“We’ve really pushed ourselves to make them feel different from any other superhero costume that’s out there,” Israelite said. “One key that’s different to the Power Ranger suits is that they’re not really suits that people get into. They’re suits that morph onto our kids, so they already have this almost metaphysical quality to them.”
And the Rangers will need those suits if they’re going to stand a chance against Elizabeth Banks’ Rita Repulsa, who from the sounds of it, lives up to her insane legacy.
“It’s very exciting that we got [Banks], and I think what she loves is the opportunity to really embrace the insanity and deliciousness of Rita Repulsa in terms of how weird and wonderful that character was, and really dive into and consume that character,” Israelite said. “You should always be off-balance when you’re watching her. Is she insane? Is she totally calculated? Does she know what she’s doing? Elizabeth can toe that line really well.”