While Power Rangers is go-going to the top of the box office and into a six-year franchise, we're left wondering what other beloved shows could be morphing their way to the big screen. And could the success of Power Rangers signal the adaptation of similarly kitschy team-centric shows — often from our Saturday morning lineup?
Here are a few properties ripe for adaptation that have been floundering in development hell, but may get the kickstart they need after Power Rangers' box office success.
ScreenRant went hard for a Voltron movie, and it may indeed be the next big thing we get after the Power Rangers. Coming off a successful Netflix series reboot (Voltron: Legendary Defender) which revamped the characters and animation for the 21st century, the 1984 syndicated cartoon is fresh in people’s minds.
Though Voltron is older in American audiences’ minds than Power Rangers (which debuted in 1993), the Japanese series the Power Rangers is based on, Super Sentai, actually predates the original cartoon Voltron is based on, Beast King GoLion, which premiered in Japan in 1981. The two series both have origins as patchwork American-sentai series, fused together through a combination of Japanese and American footage (though in Voltron‘s case, dubbing), and featuring five teens in primary colors operating giant robots that can combine to fight aliens. So the live-action Voltron, which has been in development at Universal, could easily be jumpstarted as a successor to Power Rangers.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Speaking of teens in primary colors, the Captain Planet and the Planeteers has been in development since last year with Leonardo DiCaprio set to produce and Everybody Wants Some!! star Glen Powell in talks to write the script with Jono Matt. But not a peep has been heard of that production since talks were announced in October. But with Power Rangers showing that superpowered teens have sway at the box office, Captain Planet may be coming along soon.
The original 1990s animated series followed a group of five kids, the Planeteers, who are gifted with the power to control the elements and tasked with helping to save the planet. Together, they can summon Captain Planet and battle environmental issues. Matt and Powell’s pitch however, sets the movie many years after the events of the original show, with Captain Planet as a washed up has-been who needs the kids more than they need him.
This take is somewhat in line with the Power Rangers big-screen reboot, which reimagined the Rangers as dour teens who reluctantly accept their duty — with a little of the original series’ B-movie kitsch thrown in.
Since the buzz for a Thundercats movie first surfaced in 2007, little else has been said about the kitschy ’80s cartoon. Indeed, it’s just a weird show, following the adventures of a group catlike humanoid aliens — clad in the most ’80s Lycra spandex suits — from the planet Thundera who flee to settle on Third Earth and battle evil. It was strange, and it was bad, but so was Power Rangers, right? Nostalgia is a powerful drug and if it’s strong enough to get millennials to the theaters in droves and earn Power Rangers $ 40 million in its opening weekend, Thundercats could get its own movie.
The prospect of a Gargoyles movie may still be a pipe dream (or a cruel April Fools' joke), but seriously, how awesome would a Gargoyles movie be? The technology is certainly there to bring this one to life — we've advanced enough in motion capture technology that the apes are more empathetic than the humans in the Planet of the Apes series, and a CGI Beast could woo Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
Disney created the original 1990s animated series, which followed a group of stone gargoyles in New York City who awaken every night to fly across the city skyline and protect the innocent. The show at times became strangely nuanced and dark, but it still had that ’90s camp — it featured a human woman having romantic tension with the leader Goliath, after all. On the surface, it sounds like this could have more to do with the terrible Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles adaptation over Power Rangers, but hey, Hollywood learns from its mistakes, right? Right?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
This is the one I was most hesitant to include because Buffy the Vampire Slayer was such a perfect TV show as it is, but studio execs seem eager to replicate the cult success of the supernatural teen show — sans creator Joss Whedon.
It sounds like an awful idea, but with Buffy containing all the elements that made Power Rangers so likable — moody superhero teens, campy sensibilities and a core "Scooby Gang," it's easy to see the reboot get pushed forward, despite the protests of Whedon, Buffy herself Sarah Michelle Gellar, and countless others. The series just marked its 20th anniversary and it’s likely that studios won't be descending on it anytime soon for fear of fan outrage, but it feels like Buffy is coming to the big screen whether we like it or not.
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