WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the 2017 Power Rangers reboot.
Tommy Oliver has arrived in Angel Grove.
Midway through the end credits of the Power Rangers big-screen reboot, the film unveiled a scene revolving around Tommy, who fans know as the eventual Green Ranger — and who’s so slick he’s bolted from detention, where all five of the new Rangers have wound up after saving the world. They saved it from Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), who had been the Green Ranger fighting alongside Bryan Cranston’s Zordon before going green with evil 65 million years ago.
In Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Tommy initially works as a henchman for Rita but after freeing himself from her control, he joins the original Rangers and later becomes the White Ranger. Here, there’s not much about his rebooted origin story: No actor appears as Tommy or voices him from off-screen. All we see is an empty desk with a green jacket as the detention supervisor calls out his name, before the scene shifts to a deserted school hallway and… an explosion goes off. (Thanks, Billy!)
Below, director Dean Israelite gives some more hints on who Tommy is, talks crafting the tease (props to a classic ’80s film), and what it means for a potential sequel.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was it always the plan to leave audiences with a tease for the Green Ranger?
DEAN ISRAELITE: Yes it was. We had shot, actually, a different tease for Tommy that wasn’t working out as well, and when we did a bit of additional photography, we put this version in which we think plays much better.
What was the original version?
It took place in the cafeteria and it just wasn’t as cool or dynamic, but it was basically the same thing. This felt much more organic to what was going on at the end of the movie. It was a part of that end scene in detention with all the other kids, so we just added it on to that. We shot it in four hours.
Having the teacher call out his name over and over… that was an homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, right?
[Laughs] Yes, that was in my mind when we were doing that. I always loved that. Ferris Bueller is one of my favorite teen movies of all time.
Fans know who Tommy is, but what can you say now about this version of Tommy? Did you consider what his character would be like beyond this scene?
We thought about the fact that the movie is an updated version of the show, which was teenagers with attitude, so [the tease is saying] if you think these teenagers have attitude, wait ’til you see Tommy. He brings it in bucketloads. That’s what this scene is trying to hint at.
How did you toe that line in the scene, to balance it for hardcore fans who would probably freak out about seeing a hint about the Green Ranger and new fans of the Power Rangers who might need a little more context?
I think the end credits scene is entertaining for non-fans and fans in that you kind of understand that there is someone who isn’t there that’s really important, and what does that all mean? I agree that it’s the one thing in the movie that is so much more enjoyable if you’re [already] a fan, but I think that’s really typical of movies that are based on pre-existing content. I find I always wait for the end credits scene in Marvel movies, and if I’m not familiar with the [franchise] I really have no idea what just happened, but I get it. It’s part of the conceit of this kind of movie.
Plus, I guess if you paid attention during Power Rangers, you would understand that the Green Ranger was a possible character with Rita having been one.
Right, it’s very germane to the movie, and I also think it’s a bit of a fun story to tell once it all ended. We’ve completed the story of the five kids we care about.
So he’ll presumably appear in any potential sequels, yes?
Obviously, the next generation [of films in the franchise] would hopefully include what we’re teasing at the end of this film, because I think that’s something that fans are really going to enjoy. Even for non-fans, he would be an incredible character to bring into this ensemble, and of course you want to keep going.
Power Rangers is now in theaters.