Minor SPOILER warning for Power Rangers
Power Rangers opens in theaters this Friday and while the reviews of the film are still coming in, there’s no denying its breaking new ground for the superhero genre.
Power Rangers presents audiences with the first openly gay superhero movie character. Trini Kwan, the Yellow Range played by Becky G, reveals in the film’s second act that she is gay. The moment comes when another character assumes Trini is having “boyfriend problems” and then realizes it is actually “girlfriend problems.”
"For Trini, really she's questioning a lot about who she is," director Dean Israelite tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She hasn't fully figured it out yet. I think what's great about that scene and what that scene propels for the rest of the movie is, 'That's OK.' The movie is saying, 'That's OK,' and all of the kids have to own who they are and find their tribe."
Openly gay actor David Yost portrayed the Blue Ranger in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series but left the series after being harassed for his sexuality. "They really stepped up to the plate,” Yost says in regards to the film’s representation. “I think so many people in the LGBTQI community are going to be excited to see that representation.”
The original Yellow Ranger, played by the late Thuy Trang, was represented as straight.
LGBTQ representation has been a sticking point for the superhero genre. Progress has come slowly to comics. Marvel’s mutant Northstar became the first openly gay character in either a Marvel or DC comic when he came out in 1992. Since then, new LGBTQ characters like DC Comics’ Batwoman, Apollo and Midnighter and Marvel’s Wiccan, Hulking, and Miss America have been introduced but have not appeared in live-action. Other more established characters like Marvel’s Iceman and DC’s Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman have been portrayed as LGBTQ in the comics, but have always been represented as straight on the big screen.
Television has seen a bit more progress. The CW’s Supergirl, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow each feature LGBTQ characters prominently and are produced by the openly gay Greg Berlanti. Marvel’s LGBTQ characterization has been limited to Inhuman guest star Joey Gutierrez on Agents of SHIELD and corporate away Jeryn Hogarth on Marvel’s Jessica Jones.