The Power Rangers can’t be heroes without a villain to fight, and the 2017 movie just solved that problem. Elizabeth Banks was cast as Rita Repulsa, the Power Rangers’ arch nemesis.
Banks revealed the news on Twitter Tuesday. The “Hunger Games” star is the first cast member outside of the teenage superheroes to be announced. Banks will be working with Dacre Montgomery (Jason Lee Scott/Red Ranger), Naomi Scott (Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger), Becky G (Trini Kwan/Yellow Ranger), R.J. Cyler (Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger) and Ludi Lin (Zack Taylor/Black Ranger).
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) February 2, 2016
If you haven’t tuned in to “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” since the ‘90s, you might not remember exactly who Rita Repulsa is. The villain is an alien witch who wants to destroy the galaxy. In the original series, which the movie is rebooting, Rita usually sent minions, like Putty patrollers or other monsters, to fight on her behalf. She was also able to cast spells with her magic staff. Sometimes she’d make her monsters impossibly large, and other times her spells would play mind games with the Power Rangers.
Judging from Banks’ tweet, it looks like the reboot will introduce Rita in a way similar to what the original series did. When “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” began, Rita just escaped from a space dumpster after being imprisoned for 10,000 years.
Check out a clip of the original Rita escaping below:
Banks is the latest in a long line of actresses to play Rita Repulsa. The character went through several re-castings over the first decade of the “Power Rangers” franchise. Machiko Soga, Carla Perez and Julia Cortez played the witch on screen and Barbara Goodson voiced the character.
The "Pitch Perfect" actress’ background in comedy will likely help the movie’s humorous side. Director Dean Israelite said that there would definitely be a few laughs in the “Power Rangers” movie. “Oh, yes, it needs to be completely playful, and it needs to be really fun and funny,” he told IGN last year. “But like ‘Project Almanac,’ I hope it's going to feel very grounded at the same time, and very contemporary and have a real edge to it, and a real gut to it. So I think it's going to be a fun, joyful [movie] but one that feels completely grounded in a real world, with real characters going through real things.”
The “Power Rangers” movie is scheduled to hit theaters March 24, 2017.