Elizabeth Banks has just earned the honor of portraying the villainous Rita Repulsa in the upcoming Power Rangers reboot movie.
Let’s review our Power Rangers history, shall we?
In later stateside live-action versions of Power Rangers, Carla Perez played the role, which has led many American fans to see the role as one that a Hispanic performer should play – if not an Asian actor.
Filipino-Australian actress Julia Cortez also played the role once for the 1995 live-action Power Rangers movie.
I’ve previously applauded the Power Rangers movie for seeking out diverse actors and taking a chance on unknown performers, many of whom might get their “Big break” out of appearing in this movie.
By the numbers, the current line-up of Rangers for the film is actually more diverse than the original TV show’s first season, albeit only slightly.
The casting of Elizabeth Banks feels like a step backwards as a result, but I’m sure it’s a money-motivated one – she’s a big A-list star with the level of fame needed to help drive this movie at the box office.
Power Rangers has a strange place in our culture already because it’s an example of a show that has been repurposed wholesale from its original form, then repackaged as a very different and distinctly “American” product.
As a result of that, it’s now up to the people rebooting it to decide what direction their interpretation will take – and what their version of “Americanizing” Power Rangers will look like.