There’s a reason the song doesn’t say “Stop-Stop, Power Rangers.” They couldn’t if they wanted to! Since the inception of Saban’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1993, the merchandising titan has kept churning out a supply of new superhero teams with colorful costumes and giant robots to battle the monstrous forces of darkness. And while the shows have kept coming apace, the rest of the brand has had its ups and downs. But now, Hasbro is launching a new big-and-small screen initiative through its eOne producing arm.
According to a Hollywood report in The Hollywood Reporter, eOne has tapped Jonathan Entwistle—creator of Netflix’s End of the F***ing World and I Am Not Okay with This—to head up new movie and TV projects. Entwistle was already attached to a Power Rangers film project through Paramount Pictures before Hasbro acquired eOne. Now they’re not only keeping him around, but expanding his role. “Entwistle will act as a conductor of a connected story universe that will bridge across multiple platforms,” THR writes.
A statement from eOne talked about Entwistle as the right architect to “reimagine the television and film worlds of this property,” and taking Hasbro’s rich roster of fan-favorite brands and “building universes around them.”
Entwistle himself said:
“This is an unbelievable opportunity to deliver new Power Rangers to both new and existing generations of awaiting and adoring fans. We’ll bring the spirit of analog into the future, harnessing the action and storytelling that made this brand a success.”
But here’s the problem with this: Power Rangers is already delivering new stories to this very day. The original MMPR was an attempt by Saban Entertainment to utilize footage from the popular Japanese tokusatsu series Super Sentai; Sentai itself reboots with new cast, characters, and gimmicks every year. While the US adaptation kept the cast for several years, they updated the costumes, monsters, themes, and enemies as they ran out of footage. They continued the show with footage from subsequent Sentai series. To date there have been 27 seasons of the show, with a 28th expected to drop in 2021.
When Hasbro acquired the brand in 2018, they launched the Lightning Collection action figure line, the same high-quality six-inch figures they make in other property lines, like Marvel Legends and Star Wars the Black Series. And while they have made figures for characters across the various iterations, it’s Mighty Morphin that gets the most attention.
In 2017, Lionsgate released a Power Rangers movie giving an update to the core MMPR team and theming. That movie, while a lot better than it could have been, didn’t do much at the box office. While it’s certainly possible for eOne and Entwistle to expand the scope to reimagining of other seasons and teams, given the global phenomenon of the original series and films between 1993 and 1997, they’ll probably just focus on that.
Which is another example of trying to “legitimize” a show kids loved 30 years ago for that same audience who are now grown up. They want to live in nostalgia while demanding those things grow up with them. It also kind of spits in the face of all the fans who have stuck with it over this time. Stuck with it, and introduced their own children to it. Even the THR news only mentions the heyday years.
But Entwistle has a good track record of writing compelling drama about teenagers. We could get something great. But one can’t help but worry it’ll just be another attempt to take something for kids and try to make it palatable to the adults who’ve outgrown it.
Featured Image: Saban