08/15/2014 AT 4:00 PM ET
08/16/2014 AT 5:30 PM ET
Children and grown-ups alike flocked to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in its first weekend of release, and now Hollywood is betting the the ’90s nostalgia wave will last least two more years – on Wenesday, Lionsgate announced that its Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot will hit theaters on July 22, 2016.
The studio has signed the the writers of Thor, to produce a script off a story by Star Trek’s Robert Orci. There are no plot details yet, but knowing that Lionsgate was the studio behind Ender’s Game, The Hunger Games and I, Frankenstein, it’s likely the Power Rangers movie will skew in the same dour, effects-driven direction.
So let’s cast the thing, then, with the quality of actors who might be able to bring a gritty realness to this tale of five teenagers with attitude picked to defeat the evil Rita Repulsa. We’re gong to abide by the same racial casting standards used in the first iteration of the Power Rangers squad. If it makes you uncomfortable, that’s OK – that awkwardness is practically an integral part of Power Rangers at this point.
Tom Hardy as Tommy Oliver, the Green/White Ranger
Anthony Harvey/Getty; Everett
If this is a Serious Reboot, then we’re obviously going to center our story on Tommy Oliver, the brooding transfer student who was tasked with infiltrating the Power Rangers, only to make a face turn
and ultimately become their leader. Our leading man needs to have some darkness in him, but also heaps of charisma. He needs the acting chops to sell Tommy’s transition and the physicality to be a fearsome fighter. Anyone who’s seen Inception
and The Dark Knight Rises
knows that Tom Hardy is perfect for the role. (He can leave the ponytail
Liam Hemsworth as Jason Lee Scott, the Red Ranger
Mike Marsland/WireImage; Everett
The Red Ranger is the Liam Payne of the Power Rangers squad, originally pegged as the leader, only to cede his power and influence to a more alluring frontman. What makes this different from a Brian Jones
situation is that the Red Ranger is content to stick around in his diminished role. Liam Hemsworth of The Hunger Games
is our man for the role, with the brawn of a leader and the kind eyes of a sidekick.
Ashley Benson as Kimberly Hart, the Pink Power Ranger
Vera Anderson/WireImage; Everett
It’s not easy to step into Amy Jo Johnson
’s boots, but we think Pretty Little Liars
’s Ashley Benson is certainly capable; we know she loves gymnastics
and Spring Breakers
already gave her plenty of experience acting in a pink mask
Donald Glover as Zack Taylor, the Black Ranger
David Livingston/Getty; Everett
Glover lobbied for the part of Spider Man
– would he be open to appearing in another nostalgia-based action franchise? Probably not, but this is our
fan casting, and we’ll choose who we want to!
Brenda Song as Trini Kwan, the Yellow Ranger
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Everett
Brenda Song deserved much better material than what her roles in The Social Network
gave her. The Yellow Ranger was the most underwritten of all the original Power Rangers – her defining character trait was “niceness” – and Song’s the perfect choice to add a little bit of edge to the saber-toothed-tiger driver.
Jamie Bell as Billy Cranston, the Blue Ranger
Jim Spellman/WireImage; Everett
Jamie Bell came to fame playing another famous Billy
, and his dancing skills wold add an interesting aspect to any fight scenes. As anyone who’s seen Snowpiercer
or The Eagle
knows, Bell excels at playing the witty sidekick to taller, musclebound heroes.
Cameron Diaz as Rita Repulsa
At this stage in her career, Cameron Diaz
is having a lot of fun playing nasty characters in everything from Bad Teacher
to The Counselor
. We can see her taking the role of demented space witch Rita Repulsa just for the heck of it.
Patrick Stewart as Zordon
Zordon was wise, distinguished and apparently bald. This one’s not rocket science, folks.
Matt Lauer (left) and Bruce Willis
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP;David Livingston/Getty