Fans are exploring a new mighty morphin mystery after this year’s New York Comic Con. In attendance at the Lionsgate panel for 2017’s Power Rangers was the ensemble cast and director Dean Israelite, who let slip that a golden general of Rita Repulsa, Goldar, will appear in the film. Also in the movie: a spaceship. Wait, a spaceship? What spaceship?
“This is really just a teaser,” said Israelite after premiering the teaser to a packed house in Madison Square Garden. “You’re not seeing the Zords, you’re not seeing the spaceship, Putties…” The audience began cheering at the mention of the Megazords, which buried the REAL mystery. “It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s all coming!”
Just before confirming Goldar, Rita’s loyal general and rival to the Red Ranger appearing, Israelite brought it up one more time: “You get Zords, Alpha 5, Zordon, the spaceship…” Goldar’s cool, and who doesn’t want to see Bryan Cranston play Zordon, the wise mentor of the Power Rangers? But let’s back up to “spaceship.”
Throughout the original 145 episodes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, there was never any spaceships aside from two: 1) The NASADA mission that released Rita Repulsa from her imprisonment on Earth’s Moon, and 2) Serpenterra, which we’ll get into in a sec. But as far as any kind of sci-fi spaceships, never, until the Astro Megaship in 1998’s Power Rangers in Space.
Could these three ships indicate a grander mythology at work in the new Power Rangers movie? Let’s break it down.
The NASADA spaceship
The first time there was a spaceship in Power Rangers, it was in the background of the show’s first episode, “Day of the Dumpster.” It was also more of a rocket ship, but the entire history of Power Rangers begins when two astronauts from NASADA (the NASA analog in the Power Rangers universe) stumble upon Rita’s prison, a space dumpster. (It was 1993, people.)
This event freed Rita Repulsa and her monster generals — including Goldar, Finster, Baboo, and Squatt — after 10,000 years, allowing her to resume her mission of taking over Earth, given to her eons ago by Lord Zedd. We never learn the fates of the astronauts after that.
In Season 2, after Lord Zedd returned to take up Rita’s mission himself, Lord Zedd unleashed Serpentera, the largest and most fearsome Zord of all time. Dragon-like and monstrous, it was Zedd’s personal war machine, which he waged against the Rangers in the three-part episode “The Power Transfer.”
Although terrifying, Serpentera’s colossal size also meant it spent as much as energy as it needed, requiring long periods to recharge. Without Elon Musk to fix that, Zedd saved Serpentera only for special occasions, including his escape when King Mondo and the Machine Empire invaded at the end of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Serpentera was finally destroyed a years later in Power Rangers Wild Force when Tommy Oliver recruited every Red Ranger in history to fight the surviving generals of the Machine Empire.
The Astro Megaship
After Zordon went missing during the events of Power Rangers Turbo, the mysterious Andros from the alien colony KO-35 (and wielder of the new Red Ranger powers) piloted the Astro Megaship, in his mission to rescue Zordon from imprisonment by Dark Specter, the grand monarch of evil. Desperate to also help their mentor, the Rangers of Earth joined Andros and became a team, using the Astro Megaship as their base and Megazord in 1998’s Power Rangers in Space.
A full-blown spaceship straight out of Star Trek, the Astro Megaship was a fully-equipped mobile home, but y’know, for space. There were personal quarters, rec rooms, high-tech kitchens that created food in an instant, and even a separate recon ship that became “the head” for when the Megaship became the Megazord.
Cut the Bull-ship, what does it mean?
If any of these ships are what Israelite is hinting at in his Power Rangers film, we can potentially guess the plot and maybe even storylines for sequels.
If it’s the NASADA rocket ship — which it can’t be, because why would Israelite hype that up? — then Rita is still released by clumsy astronauts just like she was in the TV show. Which is great! An iconic inciting incident remains intact.
But what if it’s Serpentera or the Astro Megaship? With Serpentera, it means Lord Zedd isn’t far away from the movie. If it’s the Astro Megaship, then there are other Rangers in the new universe that we probably won’t meet (yet?). Elizabeth Banks’s Rita Repulsa says in the teaser she’s “killed Rangers before,” which without context is a bizarre line of dialogue.
What other Rangers are there? Could Andros have survived Rita and now seeks revenge for his fallen comrades? Does Zordon go missing, encouraging the Rangers to traverse space to save their mentor? That’d be a hell of a sequel.
It’s still not known how close the Power Rangers film is within continuity with the TV series. When producer Roberto Orci became involved in 2014, Orci told IGN the film wouldn’t “walk all over” the 20-year TV history, adding it had a “continuity within the world.” After Orci left the film, Israelite “plead the fifth” about the subject.
Israelite’s film might be totally original and separated from the TV show, which is great, because a movie of this caliber needs to be accessible. In fact, there’s quite a lot of huge changes from the TV show! But it would also be a shame if at least some of the 20-year history wasn’t used for inspiration.
Saban’s Power Rangers releases in theaters on March 24, 2017.