As a child in the 90’s, I was fortunate enough to grow up watching Power Rangers. As an adult in 2016, I’m still fortunate enough to recapture those Saturday morning memories on Netflix. That being said, I was cautiously optimistic about Power Rangers being rebooted as a feature length film. After seeing so many of my childhood memories destroyed by Hollywood (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The ENTIRE Transformers Franchise), seeing that Power Rangers was getting the reboot treatment didn’t exactly sit too well with me at first. When the cast was announced, I was a little more optimistic about the idea. Sure, they had to change the races of certain characters around in the interest of being politically correct (because, as we all know, the world would just come to an end if, god forbid, the yellow ranger was Asian), but the choices they made for casting were fine nonetheless.But the thing that really turned me around to this movie was the casting of Elizabeth Banks (Spider-Man, The Hunger Games) as the villainous, Rita Repulsa.
When I heard that news, I shouted “Woo Hoo” at the top of my lungs and wanted to see the movie immediately. Elizabeth Banks has shown in the past that she can play an over the top character (watch The Hunger Games) and Rita Repulsa is the evil queen of over the top. Many have condemned her casting as whitewashing, considering that Rita has, up until now, been played by non-white actresses, but if no one else is gonna complain that Trini is no longer Asian, Billy is no longer White and Zack is no longer Black, then you shouldn’t be complaining about this. Personally, I don’t care, I’m just glad that they got a great actress to play the character.
Well, as you can see above, we have been given our first official glimpse of Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, courtesy of PEOPLE. This costume is such a radical departure from the original show’s design and yet, I’m still strangely on board with it. She looks amazing as a villain and the evil eyes she displays in the photo really sell the whole look. “It’s definitely a modern and edgy re-imagining of the original Rita Repulsa,” Banks said in regards to her new look. She then went on to tease us with this: “We wanted to give her a backstory that connects her to the new Rangers.”
This is actually interesting for those who know Power Rangers lore and if you take a hard look at this new costume, a connection to a certain “Sixth Ranger” showing up at some point, should be pretty clear. I’m just gonna throw out a theory I have regarding how they may go about this; Maybe, Rita was one of the original rangers. Really, think about it for a minute. Zordon, the wizard who assembled the rangers, stated many times in the Mighty Morphin Era that there were rangers in the past. Maybe this version of Rita was a ranger who went rouge. It would explain the change of the costume, it would give her a deeper backstory, closer to that of the new rangers (as Banks stated) and it would explain why she has The Green Power Coin; it was hers. Again, just a theory, but something to think about regardless. Adding to that, giving her a deeper connection to the rangers could potentially lead to this character becoming more interesting. Let’s face it, while we all love Rita for her over the top goofiness, she was hardly interesting as a character, at least not in the beginning. It seems to me that they might try to flesh out a more detailed character this time around. If nothing else, at least her lips will match what she’s saying this time around.
“I’ve never played a villain before,” Elizabeth Banks said in her interview with PEOPLE. She went on to add that she looks forward to “world domination – and being unpredictable as a character.” It’s nice to see how Elizabeth is excited about the role. It will be interesting to see what she can do with this character. As of right now, she is the one thing I am looking forward to the most.
Also starring Dacre Montgomery as the Red Ranger, RJ Cyler as the Blue Ranger, Naomi Scott as the Pink Ranger, Becky G as the Yellow Ranger and Ludi Lin as the Black Ranger, “Power Rangers” hits theaters in March 2017.
Sound off below on what you think and share with us your excitement for this reboot of the series!