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How The Power Rangers Should Really Look

What at first seemed like the ultimate dream come true for '90s kids is starting to turn into more of a nightmare, as mixed reviews for Saban's Power Rangers continue to roll in following the premiere. The big-budget reboot of the action series courted controversy from the moment the promotional material was released, with fans of the original series complaining about a driver's ed joke on the poster of new Yellow Ranger Becky G (original Yellow Ranger actress Thuy Trang died in a car accident in 2001).

Lionsgate recalled the ads and apologized for the unintentional offense, however, their blunder had done enough to convince fans that paying homage to the cult '90s show wasn't on the studio's to-do list. As always seems to be the case where a reboot is concerned, attention eventually turned to the new cast and how much they resembled the 'real' one, if at all. Now that the film is out and the verdicts are in, let's see how the new Rangers match up against the old ones. This is how the Power Rangers should really look.

Billy Cranston (The Blue Ranger)

Professionally speaking, it was the most successful period of his career, but original Blue Ranger David Yost's time as a Power Ranger didn't end happily. The openly gay actor tried to hide his sexuality during his time on the show and claims to have received vile homophobic abuse from "creators, producers, writers [and] directors," to the point that he ultimately quit. Despite his on-set trials, Yost did a great job at portraying the gadget-savvy Ranger, with his floppy hair and large round glasses becoming as much a part of the show as the Zords.

RJ Cyler certainly doesn't come across as the stereotypical nerd that Billy Cranston was at the beginning of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, and he bears little resemblance to the older-looking Yost despite both men being the same age at the time of their Rangers debut. The filmmakers decided to take a different angle on the character's high intellect in the reboot and give Billy a spectrum disorder, a bold move that didn't pay off according to Empire, who criticized the filmmakers for using autism for laughs.

Reboot rating: 3/10 – Kudos for fair representation, but this Billy isn't nearly nerdy enough.

Jason Lee Scott (The Red Ranger)

Austin St. John went from playing a fictional hero to being a real-life one when he left his career in acting behind to train as a tactical paramedic. It was after coming home from a deployment on the Iraq-Kuwait border that St. John first heard about the convention circuit and decided to get back into the Power Rangers scene to reconnect with the fans. Though he now sports a bushy beard, back when he played lead Ranger Jason Lee Scott, he was a baby-faced martial arts expert with a smart haircut and near-constant frown.

Assuming that Dacre Montgomery has been brushing up on his karate, that same description could be applied to him. The Australian newcomer has admitted he never saw Power Rangers growing up and risked the wrath of fans when he revealed that producers told him not to bother going back to watch it. Yet while his hair isn't quite as thick and his tan could do with a top-up, Montgomery is a pretty good doppelgänger for the original Jason—and the fact that he never saw his predecessor in action doesn't change the fact that they look a lot alike.

Reboot rating: 9/10 – Karate kid, part two.

Trini Kwan (The Yellow Ranger)

In the original series, Trini Kwan was the first Ranger to morph after the group were given their powers by Zordon, though despite this momentous moment in Power Rangers canon, her character is instead remembered for the controversy it's always courted. The fact that Asian teen Thuy Trang was cast as the brainy Yellow Ranger raised eyebrows at the time, though Black Ranger Walter E. Jones has since confirmed that race wasn't a factor and that the Vietnamese actress came in to replace Hispanic-American Audri Dubois at the last moment.

Why is this important? New Yellow Ranger Becky G is of Mexican descent, a smart move on the part of the filmmakers who knew they were swimming in dangerous waters when it came to casting against race. The studio was able to take away the whole "Asian Yellow Ranger" thing and still claim loyalty to the source material. And funnily enough, Becky G actually looks like a mix of Trang and Dubois, with the same round, smiling face of the former and the olive skin tone of the latter.

Reboot rating: 6/10 – Made the best of a tricky situation and created a milestone by making the new Yellow Ranger the first openly gay superhero.

Kimberly Ann Hart (The Pink Ranger)

Proud owner of the Pteradactyl Power Coin, valley girl Kimberly Anne Hart was a first crush for a lot of boys growing up in the '90s, and she was popular with the in-universe male population too—the way-creepy Lord Zedd once attempted to kidnap the teen and make her his Queen. Actress Amy Jo Johnson portrayed the lethal gymnast in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, and the beautiful brunette recently turned out to pull a surprise interview on some of the new Rangers, including her replacement Naomi Scott.

The English actress may have a slightly darker complexion than her predecessor, but that aside their looks are remarkably similar. They both have wide smiles that reveal their top teeth, pronounced laughter lines leading up to a prominent (but in no way unattractive) nose that sits between chocolatey brown eyes. Scott clearly didn't see the resemblance herself, however, as she originally went for the part of the Yellow Ranger before being told she'd be a perfect Kimberly. While their stories don't quite match up (Mighty Morphin Kimberly never sent naughty photos to classmates!), the new Pink Ranger certainly looks like the original one.

Reboot rating: 10/10 – Sister from another mister.

Zack Taylor (The Black Ranger)

Walter E. Jones almost missed out on the part of Black Ranger Zack Taylor because he was trying to get his big break on Star Search, but after making his audition and attending a few callbacks he was awarded the part. The actor later revealed exactly what Saban were looking for in their Black Ranger, someone "who can dance, do martial arts, and gymnastics." While there are obvious differences in their appearances—race aside, their faces and features are entirely different shapes—Ludi Lin certainly has one of the three role requirements nailed down.

The Chinese-Canadian is not only an experienced martial artist having trained in various different disciplines across Asia, he's also worked with Jackie Chan's legendary team of stuntmen, which helped him convince director Dean Israelite to let him do his own stunts. Lin hopes people can look past the against-race casting and see it as a positive step for marginalized Asian actors. "I wanted to develop something very different for the character because the character is the first Chinese superhero," he said.

Reboot rating: 4/10 – Yet another milestone, but Kung Fu aside, they're nothing alike.

Rita Repulsa

"Wand, make my monster grow!" When you heard Rita Repulsa shrieking these words, you knew Morphin time was just around the corner. This sorceress plagued the galaxy before her imprisonment by Zordon, and after escape became a menace to the Rangers. In the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, stock footage of Japanese actress Machiko Soga was used to bring Rita to life, though Philippine-born actress Carla Perez took over from season two, and her take on the character is considered the quintessential one in '90s circles.

Leggy blonde Elizabeth Banks has little in common with either actress, however, with a longer face that just doesn't lend itself to maniacal screaming in the same way. Her hair was dyed dark for the role when it should have been a crazy-lady gray, and her outlandish headgear is nowhere to be seen; instead, the filmmakers seem to have used rejected designs for Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy. Her performance has been criticized in the first wave of reviews, with the New York Times writing that "Ms. Banks chews scenery as Rita."

Reboot rating: 1/10 – A definite misfire. This Rita should never have been allowed to leave the space dumpster.


Canonically speaking, not a lot is known about Zordon's days on his home world Eltar, nor the steps he took to become an intergalactic sage of sorts, though that didn't stop Bob Manahan from making him one of the most memorable parts of the show after he took over the character. His big, bald head with its stern face looming down on the Rangers in their command center, became an iconic image for fans of the show, though the reboot producers opted against having him floating in a giant tube and instead made Bryan Cranston look like he was pressing his face into a giant pin-art desk toy.

Cranston did voice work for Saban on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, and Blue Ranger Billy Cranston was actually named after him. Original Billy actor David Yost wasn't too pleased about Cranston being welcomed back for the reboot, however, calling the Breaking Bad actor out as one of those who'd made homophobic remarks about him, accusing Cranston of calling him "the fey one." History with the show or not, Cranston doesn't resemble the original Zordon in the slightest, with a much harder face, a squarer jaw and none of the effortless class embodied by the original.

Reboot rating: 1/10 – The Star Tribune summed up Cranston's casting in six words: "Shamelessly beefing up his piggy bank." That isn't entirely fair—we give Cranston props for returning to the franchise that helped pay his bills as a younger actor now that he's an award-winning star—but point taken.