Lionsgate has revealed the first image of Elizabeth Banks as villainous witch Rita Repulsa for the upcoming Power Rangers film.
The film will be a reboot of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers that started the Power Rangers franchise. The look is drastically different from the character’s appearance in the original ‘90s television show. Rita now sports a sleek green and gold aesthetic and matching green hair. Banks explained the change, saying, “It’s definitely a modern and edgy re-imagining of the original Rita Repulsa.”
People Magazine revealed the first look of Banks in costume in an interview with the actress. “I’ve never played a villain before,” Banks said of the casting. When asked what she is looking forward to, Banks says “world domination – and being unpredictable as a character.”
Banks also gave exclusive information about the film’s interpretation of Rita, “We wanted to give her a backstory that connects her to the new Rangers.” It is unknown how the story will be changed to connect these characters. In the original show, the Power Rangers were just “five teenagers with attitude” that were recruited by their mentor Zordon. The teens had no attachment to Rita outside their battle.
The original Rita Repulsa was stock footage of actress Machiko Soga from the Japanese show Super Sentai. Sosa portrayed villain Witch Bandora on Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, which was the basis for Mighty Morphin’s stock footage. After the unexpected success of the original season, actress Carla Perez was cast in the role so the show could film new American footage of the character. Barbara Goodson provided the character’s distinct, shrill voice.
Power Rangers has been an ongoing franchise since Mighty Morphin’ premiered in 1993. The show is currently airing it’s 22nd season, Power Rangers Super Dino Charge. The franchise previously hit theaters with 1995’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers the Movie. The movie featured the then current cast of show despite being set outside of the series’ continuity. The new Rangers will be played by Dacre Montgomery, RJ Cyler, Naomi Scott, Becky G and Ludi Lin.
The movie is being produced by Lionsgate and Saban Entertainment. Saban is the Power Rangers’ original production company. Saban ran the show for its first ten seasons before selling the franchise to Disney. Saban recently bought the rights for the franchise back from Disney in 2010 and began airing the show’s current seasons on Nickelodeon.
The Power Rangers reboot is currently filming in Vancouver and is directed by Project Almanac’s Dean Israelite. The film is set to come out March 24, 2017.