Power Rangers with Hasbro – What does the future hold?
This week Hasbro completed the $522 million purchase to the rights a several properties including Popples, Treehouse Detectives and most notably the Power Rangers.
Power Rangers is franchise with over a quarter of a century of rich history including films, toys and the iconic TV series. With this recent acquisition Hasbro will now be the creative driving force for the future of the franchise while its previous owner, Haim Saban, works with them as a consultant.
The Power Rangers toy line continues to be extremely lucrative which is largely why Hasbro was likely keen to take control over the franchise however the series presence on both the small and big screens has lacked the social impact in recent years that I’m sure Saban had been hoping for.
It’s with film and TV that I think Hasbro can have the biggest impact with the series due to their vastly superior resources and commercial vision.
Many of their properties have come to life in film and TV, with the most famous being the Transformer series. A series that has become a multi billion dollar franchise despite its reception critically.
The Power Rangers TV series continues to offer new iterations even after 25 seasons however its popularity has dwindled amongst its target audience in recent years which is likely due to the dominance of Marvel.
Saban also partnered with Lionsgate to create a live action reimagining of the series for the big screen that was released last year. Despite getting ok reviews and coming off favourably with long term fans it struggled at the box office only grossing $142 million worldwide, more than $450 million less than Transformers: The Last Knight (the lowest earning entry in the series).
Power Rangers has huge potential. It’s has always had diverse characters and great action but it is, in many ways, still stuck in the 90’s when it was at its peak. Hasbro now has the chance to once again establish the Power Rangers as a smash hit and here are a 4 ways I think they can achieve this.
2017’s Power Rangers may not have been the box office hit that Saban and Lionsgate were hoping for but there is no denying that it was a fun film that got a lot of things right. It reintroduced people the the concept of the Power Rangers with a fantastic cast that truly were the stand outs. It added an interesting backstory with Zordon being the Red Ranger and also left a nice after credits tease of the Green Ranger too, arguably the most popular character ever to appear in the franchise.
If Hasbro is able to continue with the foundations laid down in this movie they would be wise to do so. To reboot the series again would only cause confusion and with the correct implantation of the Green Ranger story line they could very well have a box office hit on their hands.
Power Rangers has always had its home on TV and it would be a mistake to change that. While the latest seasons may not have the appeal that older fans would hope for they offer a great jumping on point for a new audience. Hasbro should take a step back, look at the history of the series and potentially look at a fresh start. After all, the Mighty Morphin series is widely considered the best of all and yet those are now more than 25 years old. Fans may not like the idea of remaking the original series but taking those characters and ideas and then bringing them to life in a new, relatable and interesting way for younger fans could give the series the adrenaline shot it needs.
Despite being a show targeted at children Power Rangers has maintained its nostalgic appeal with older fans as they have grown up. In 2015 a bootleg, unlicensed fan film was released on the internet that captivated those long term fans. It depicted a much darker, mature take on the Power Rangers series and gave fans a glimpse of what the series could be if it was made for them. A glimpse that Hasbro could make a reality. Netflix, Amazon and many other companies are now providing opportunities to create content that normally wouldn’t get a chance to be green lit for TV. A serious action Sci Fi take on the Power Rangers could be a massive success if distributed on one of these services. I’m thinking Kick-Ass crossed with Altered Carbon. A series which takes the characters and law established in the older series and puts a spin on it that can interest existing fans as well a new audience.
Releasing it on a streaming service would also help separate it from the other interpretations intended for children too as not only are they likely to be in film or TV but many streaming services have sections dedicated to children’s shows that this would obviously not appear in.
The final approach I think Hasbro could take would be with an animated series. Animation has always created great series and I think Power Rangers could easily join the list of successful properties that appeal to children and adults alike. The cheesy nature of many of the Power Rangers villains would also be more accepted in animation too, rather than their rubbery counterparts currently seen in the live action shows.
An animated show could also take inspiration from the Power Rangers comic series that is currently having a very successful run. In that series not only the artwork but the story has really stood out. An alternative reality where the Green Ranger becomes the evil Lord Drakkon, a character that has become an instant favourite amongst the Power Rangers community.
If a version of these comics was to be translated into an animated show with the same care that Disney has taken with the Star Wars Rebels series then it could easily help the franchise reach the levels it has hoped to get back to.
Although the future of the Power Rangers in film and TV may be in question there’s no doubt that it has a big future with Hasbro.
What paths are you hoping they take?