Earlier this week, we reported that production is under way in Vancouver on Lionsgate's highly-anticipated Power Rangers movie, which the studio has set for release on March 24, 2017. The studio has gotten the jump on any potential set photos that may surface from the set, giving us our first full look at the main cast, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly. This photo features Dacre Montgomery as Jason the Red Ranger, RJ Cyler as Billy the Blue Ranger, Naomi Scott as Kimberly the Pink Ranger, Becky G. as Trini the Yellow Ranger and Ludi Lin as Zack the Black Ranger.
Power Rangers follows five ordinary high school kids who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove - and the world - is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover that they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so they will have to overcome their real-life issues and band together as the Power Rangers before it is too late. Entertainment Weekly spoke with director Dean Israelite, who shed some light on the casting process, and how he wanted a diverse array of youngsters to play the Rangers.
"From the very beginning, diversity was a very important part of the whole process. 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."
All of these characters are described as "disenfranchised and disparate," who all attend the same high school but are not friends before the story truly begins. While we don't see the new costumes in this photo, the director employed the Weta Workshop to create these new suits, which he says have a "really modern, edgy, badass, aspirational quality." While it remains to be seen when we'll get our first look at these costumes, here's what the filmmaker had to say, highlighting one important difference between the original suits.
"We've really pushed ourselves to make them feel different from any other superhero costume that's out there. 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."
The cast also includes Elizabeth Banks as the main villain, Rita Repulsa, who fans of the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers series will recognize. There have been reports that Rita Repulsa actually isn't the main villain, and her underling Scorpina will serve as the primary antagonist, but as far as we know, that character has yet to be cast. Here's what the director had to say about Elizabeth Banks playing Rita Repulsa.
"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. 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."
In the original series, both Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd were pacified by Zordon's energy wave, known as the Z-Wave, but Scorpia wasn't neutralized, promising that she would one day return. It has been rumored that the opening scene will feature Scorpina and her army doing battle with the Power Rangers and their robot Megazords. Since this battle will take place several years before the new story picks up, it is believed that these rangers will be the current Power Rangers Dino Charge team, who are tasked with protecting the Morphin Grid, an energy field that provides every generation of Rangers with their powers, and also allows them to access past, present and future Rangers' memories to come up with battle strategies. The Morphin Grid cannot sustain more than two Rangers for very long, which will likely figure into the story somehow. Those details have not been confirmed yet, but while we wait for more information, check out this new cast photo.