As a child, I was a Power Rangers nut. I loved Beanie Babies and Pokémon as much as the next kid, but the color-coded team of heroes were my primary passion. So last week’s news that Saban Brands and Lionsgate are partnering to produce a reboot of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had me giddy. When will it come out? Who will play whom? Will anyone go to the midnight premiere with me? (No.)
But as anyone who’s ever had a childhood obsession ruined by Hollywood knows, casting is key with projects like these. Assuming the creative team is planning on directly adapting the original team, there are a lot of potential pitfalls. Will Red Ranger Jason be played by a 30 year old? Will Blue Ranger Billy be nerdy enough? Will MTV’s evil plan be allowed to come to fruition and produce this:
This must be stopped. Let’s cast this movie before someone else has the chance to screw it up. (Note that I didn’t even try to accurately cast ages here. Considering the original Rangers were also far older than their characters, Hollywood’s favorite terrible casting practice is at least still in the spirit of the show.)
JASON, Red Ranger: Michael B. Jordan
Though MTV’s casting was fairly atrocious (MORETZ), they were onto something when they cast Jordan as Tommy. But let’s not stick the charismatic actor in another sidekick role (see also: Human Torch). He deserves the chance to lead, and Jason needs someone with both warmth and toughness. Jason was a great leader not because he was the best or toughest, but because he kept his team together. Jordan could be both that leader and the star of this reboot.
ZACK, Black Ranger: Hunter Parrish
Yeah, Parrish is a little on the older side for this, but he’s been a good bit less successful than he deserves to be at this point. He’s done many a TV stint (most notably Weeds), and a supporting spot in a franchise could be just what his career needs. Plus, the original characterization of Zack (has fun, dances) could use some expansion. Giving Parrish the chance to cut loose in something completely different might help him break through.
BILLY, Blue Ranger: Paul Iacono
Unlike Jason and Zack, Billy isn’t an athlete. He’s a nerd who winds up growing as a Ranger, eventually becoming the longest-serving Ranger in his original powers. You need someone with charm who’s still a little geeky. You need someone to be a fan favorite, an antidote to the dashing hero type. You need G.B.F. star Iacono, a star just waiting to break out. All credit to @tawilliams11 for this brilliant suggestion.
AISHA, Yellow Ranger: Xosha Roquemore or TRINI, Yellow Ranger: Ellen Wong
Casting the Yellow Ranger presents a whole host of potential issues for Lionsgate and Saban to handle/probably ignore. First, when the series began, there was a big ol’ controversy about the Yellow Ranger, Trini Kwan, being Asian. (There was similar flap about black Black Ranger Zack, a mistake the show never made agai–oh, whoops.) Additionally, Trini’s original actress, Thuy Trang, died in a tragic car accident in 2001. So if they want to skate over any controversy, they might want to cast for replacement Yellow Ranger Aisha (originally played by Karan Ashley) instead. Roquemore – a witty actress with grace and sharpness in equal measure – would fit the role well.
That said, it’s a shame that Wong, who broke out as Knives Chau in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, would miss out on the chance to take part. Wong is so completely right for Trini. She’s played a high schooler as recently as The Carrie Diaries. She’s got the action chops from Scott Pilgrim, and she knows how to embrace a little camp. I love Roquemore, and I’m sure I’d love her Aisha. But Wong would be perfect for a movie like this.
TOMMY, Green Ranger: Jacob Artist
Look, I know the unspoken goal of all young actor casting posts is “keep Glee actors the hell out.” But there’s a lot that has to go into casting Tommy Oliver, the original Green Ranger. For starters, Tommy starts off brainwashed into being evil by evil villainess Rita Repulsa, then turns good. So we have to buy him as both good and bad boy – Artist can do that. He also has to be a legitimate rival for Jason, similar in look and style but with a different attitude. Artist and Jordan definitely fit that bill. Plus, Artist was only on Glee for a bit. We can forgive him for the sake of the team, right? Think of the team.
KIMBERLY, Pink Ranger: Anna Kendrick
This is the hill on which I’ll die. I’m taking my stand. Anna Kendrick would make such a perfect Kimberly and I’m totally unwilling to accept anything else. As Kim, Amy Jo Johnson struck the perfect tone as a sassy valley girl who was both a team player and ever-so-slightly over it. Kendrick is that girl, to a T. She looks the part, she’s always game for new challenges and she somehow doesn’t have a franchise yet. Let’s give her the best franchise’s best character. #Kendrick4Kimberly