Ay-yai-yai-yai! LionsGate just released our first look at the new Power Rangers’ Zords in a series of a character posters. And these one-sheets show that the 2017 team’s mechs will be as drastically re-designed as their outfits. Flip through ’em here, and decide which Ranger knows how to lounge best.
Anybody who knows this franchise’s history knows it’s already done plenty of morphin’ throughout its various iterations. Power Rangers itself took massive liberties with the Super Sentai serials it was re-purposed from. And now that some seasons have finally been released in pure, unedited form, it’s much easier to understand the gleeful insanity that came before. So, before anybody gets on about what the “original” Rangers were like, here are some reminders about how the old shows already “evolved.”
Rita Repulsa is a Satanist
As in, she explicitly worships Satan. Or the great “Dai-Satan.” She’s known as Witch Bandora in Super Sentai, and isn’t a “witch” in the cute Sabrina sense, but a witch in the classic sold-her-soul-to-the-devil sense. Bandora is the big bad of the Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger (from which the first season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is derived), a primeval queen who turns to evil when her son is killed by a T-Rex. In her grief, Bandora signs a contact with Dai-Satan which grants her the power to wipe out all dinosaurs in revenge. So yes, the thunder lizards are gone because of her–not some silly meteor.
The Rangers are millions of years old
Far from SoCal “teen with attitudes,” these dino rangers are princes and a princess who’ve been kept in suspended animation for 170 million years. So, while they might still have their youthful looks, they’re hardly teenagers anymore. Zyuranger holds more significance for the “dino” aspect of the Power Rangers’ Dinozords, too. They’re actually mystical deities called “Guardian Beasts” who tried to save the dinosaurs from the extinction event that, as mentioned, was perpetuated by Witch Bandora.
The Green Ranger dies… and doesn’t return
Death is a realer thing in Super Sentai. The Rangers actually kill their enemies, and when the conflicted Dragon Ranger Burai perishes, that’s the end of his story. Remember the “powerdraining candle” which Rita uses to reclaim the abilities she’s given to Tommy? In Zyuranger, that candle represents Burai’s life force, and in a very Arthurian flourish, it wilts down more and more every time he leaves a sanctuary to help his fellow Rangers. When it extinguishes, he dies and that’s it. There’s no coming back as the White Ranger.
The White Ranger is actually a little boy
Not Tommy. Not a re-branded Green Ranger. A child who pulls a Shazam and transforms into a grown-up “Kiba Ranger.” That’s him with the skateboard up there. The Sentai iteration which Power Rangers took its Thunderzords from, Gosei Sentai Dairanger, is about a dynastic feud between the evil Gorma tribe and the descendents of the Dai. 9-year-old Kou is torn between the two tribes, having blood from both. And anybody who recalls the cheeky humor of the original Dragon Ball shouldn’t be surprised to learn Kou is actually a bit of cad, hitting on the much-older Pink Ranger constantly.
Lord Zedd has no equivalent
While Super Sentai is more intense and bizarre than Power Rangers in nearly every aspect, the flayed man with the exposed, pulsing brain was surprisingly designed by the American crew. Zedd may look like a tokusatsu character, but his closest analog in Dairanger is actually the Gorma Emperor, a chalk-white stone man with long blonde hair (though, Zedd’s Serpentera Zord was actually re-puporsed from the godlike Daijinryuu in that show). The irony, of course, is that Zedd proved so scary, he was a big part of American parents asking for Power Rangers to be toned down.
Which versions of the Rangers do you prefer most, now? Are there other details about Super Sentai which would sound more surprising, now? Drop ’em in the talkback.
Featured Image Credit: Lionsgate
Image Credits: Shout! Factory, Saban