It's morphin' time! Children of the '90s have much to be thankful for this November, because Insight Editions is releasing Power Rangers: The Ultimate Visual History, a 253-page exploration of one of the most enduring franchises in pop culture history, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Written by Jody Revenson (Harry Potter: The Character Vault) and Ramin Zahed (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - The Art of the Movie), with a foreword by Amy Jo Johnson (aka the Pink Ranger, aka many people's first crush), the book touches on every facet of the Saban (now Hasbro) IP, from the toys, to the numerous TV shows, to the most recent movie reboot.
Luckily for you, we were able to snatch three exclusive pages from the book out of the hands of Rita Repulsa herself for your viewing pleasure. Take, for instance, the following spread on the various (and cheesy) kaiju-inspired monsters sent by Ms. Repulsa to fight the Rangers. These beasts were not handled by the show's costume department, but by the specially created "Monster Department."
"I watched every season of the show (okay, not every single episode), all the movies, and viewed as much other material as I could find, from extras on DVDs to everything online, especially panels and interviews from Power Morphicons," Revenson told SYFY WIRE.
Do monsters scare you? Then check out the following concept art done for the first Power Rangers movie in 1995.
"One favorite part was speaking to the people who worked on the shows and the movies, who honestly all had fond memories to share," Revenson added. "It was fascinating to learn how the show was put together: the writers, producers, and directors who reviewed the original Japanese footage explained how they came up with each American season’s storyline, production designers described how they arrived at their ideas and choices for new sets for each season ... stunt coordinators expounded on making bigger and bigger stunts, propmakers revealed how they would create an item to 'save the world' over their lunch hour, and the costume department spoke to how they worked with unlabeled monster suits that would arrive in crates from Japan."
For the first film's aesthetic, director Bryan Spicer wanted to update all the costumes for the main characters. What resulted were 40-pound costumes made from PVC.
"It was tough when I had to finish writing about each of the 25 seasons, knowing there was so much more that we wanted to include but couldn’t because it’s hard to sell (or at least shelve) a 40,000-page book!" Revenson said. "But at the same time, it was exciting to begin learning about the next season of the show. The most difficult part of working on the book was hearing some funny but private backstage stories that I couldn’t tell. And I never will!"
And, of course, we had to do a little nod to the modern-day iterations of the Rangers, even if the Dean Israelite-directed reboot didn't fulfill the expectations of longtime fans. Still, you can check out the updated designs for Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) as well as the Power Coins. For the latter, Israelite wanted the look to be "mythological with elements of gold and gems incorporated in and around their spherical shapes."
"I was less surprised than amazed — I was extremely impressed at the limitless creativity and imaginations," Revenson finished. "What other television show (other than the original Japanese Super Sentai series) begins each season with new heroes and villains, new costumes, new locations, new vehicles, and new everything? That’s mind-blowing ... Now I want to buy all the toys!"
Power Rangers: The Ultimate Visual History goes on sale Nov. 6.