Plot twist. After Saban Brands, the handlers of the long-running Power Rangers franchise parted ways with original merchandise collaborators Bandai America, a new announcement was swiftly made, formally showing Hasbro Inc. their seat at the dynasty table. Promptly afterward came Hasbro’s introduction to the latest incarnation of the Power Rangers legacy in the form of 2019’s new season: Power Rangers Beast Morphers. It’s a week of revelations for this undying brand. And this may be just the beginning.
Electing Hasbro as the new shepherds for the franchise seemed like a no-brainer after we reviewed some dispiriting facts on the subject of Bandai America’s business practices recently versus the comparatively outstanding performance of Hasbro in recent years. They’ve proven themselves as industry leaders in bringing beloved properties to the masses in satisfying ways.
The fullest extent of what this represents for the franchise is yet to be entirely explored, though Bandai’s own symbiotic history with the television series may give us a basic indication of things to come. The future of the show may take a different shape than fans expected after watching the last few years on TV, hopefully for the better. We pray that it comes with a new creative zest and enthusiasm for the brand that will launch it into the 21st century in ways that previous iterations sometimes failed to deliver on.
Perhaps the biggest twist of all, for those of us who followed the franchise and its international cousin in the Super Sentai franchise, from which Power Rangers receives its source material, is Saban and Hasbro’s choice for which of Japan’s vaunted series to adapt next. The ever-changing Super Sentai offered multiple options from which to draw inspiration, in keeping with their shared tradition of refreshing the cast, setting, and storylines on a regular schedule.
Smart money, before this bombshell blew up every reasonable theory on the interwebs, said that the 2017 space adventure Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger would be reworked into the next Power Rangers title. Even after Saban’s new season logo revealed the name to be “Beast Morphers”, knowledgeable fans could be forgiven for immediately thinking that they might instead adapt 2016’s animal-themed Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger. Few sane humans would have guessed weeks ago that they would bypass all of them and jump years earlier to Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters.
In Go-Busters, we had a team of high-tech heroes fighting a mechanized force infected with a living computer virus bent upon taking over the human world. Slick, new suit designs looked like the future of the Super Sentai saga. Despite its quality and a style that, in our view, was ahead of its time, the 2015 series had not been adapted, Saban instead choosing to source a third dinosaur-themed series and then to keep moving forward from there. That this new era is looking backward toward Go-Busters may represent a shift in strategy beyond simply finding new business partners to put out the same old product. At least, that’s what we’re hoping.
With a look that stands out among the rest, and a visual scope that is fun and exciting with a bit of an edge, there’s no better time for the Power Rangers brand to take a creative leap forward and reset the course for their television franchise, delivering something more fans new and old will truly appreciate.
Speaking as a fan of Go-Busters, its aesthetic, and its creative choices, it would be a shame if the storytelling in the adaptation didn’t match the dynamic visuals it’s about to inherit. Fans deserve something that does more than look special by mere accident but offers the same minimal excitement found in recent years, as some viewers will readily describe. Let it be a new era in as many ways as possible for this franchise, which has endured rain and storm to come to this point.
Set in the future, a secret agency combines a newly discovered substance called “Morph-X” with animal DNA to create the Power Rangers Beast Morphers team. The Rangers must fight off an evil sentient computer virus bent on taking over the source of all Ranger power, the Morphin Grid itself. Featuring never-before-seen leather suits and an all-new beast-themed arsenal (including dynamic new Zords), fans should get ready for a season full of secret ops and morphinominal fun.
Power Rangers Beast Morphers is set to premiere in 2019 on Nickelodeon.