Power Rangers fans have been eager to see some of their favorite Rangers team-up once again, and thanks to The Order: Icarus Rising fans are finally getting their wish.
The Order: Icarus Rising is the first in a graphic novel series that serves as a prequel to the upcoming film The Order, which unites some of your favorite Power Rangers actors under a brand new IP created by Karan Ashley (Aiesha/Mighty Morphin) and David J. Fielding (Zordon/Mighty Morphin). Nakia Burrise (Tanya/Zeo) is serving as Producer on the movie as well, and recently ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to all three about how The Order came about.
"It kind of came from the fact that we used to all do Comic-Con together," Ashley said. "And we got to really know the other cast members from the Power Rangers franchise. And honestly, we would talk all the time. Fans would ask us all the time at panels, like, "Are you guys ever going to come back to the show? Are you ever going to work together? Are we ever going to get a reunion?" And honestly, it just kind of hit me one day, where I was like, "Why are we waiting for them to bring us back together? Why don't we create something, and maybe we can talk them into doing a new project and do something different?" One thing I always felt was everyone was so talented, and Power Rangers is just one facet of everyone's career, and I thought, "
Hit the next slide for more about the rise of The Order!
Most of the actors had previously interacted with each other, but the cast was even more supportive of each other's efforts once they got on the set.
"It was crazy! Because we were like kids in the candy store," Ashley said. "I think we all have been ... we all know each other really well, and we're all actually really good friends, and so when we all got on set, everybody was so supportive, we were all working together. There would be people who were doing their fight scenes and other people would be fanning them, and making sure they were good on camera, it was just like an all-out team effort. What it shows me was we've just been dying to kind of do something like this, and I think that many of us have talked about it and many people have said, "Oh, let's do this project, that project," and this one just so happened to get off the ground and we were able to shoot those three days and kind of come up with that proof-of-concept that we put out there. We were kind of all on the same page of just having fun, kicking each other's butts, and coming up with something really cool."
Things coalesce even more for Burrise once they all got around the table to read the script together.
"I think it was, going back to the table read, when we all came in and some of them, like David was remotely in, and Austin was remotely in, and we were all sitting there reading the script together,"
"You know one thing I'll piggy-back kind of what she said, it was funny because we had come up with the script and we got it to kind of a rough place, and we said, "Okay, it's good enough for us to present to them." I kind of just invited them all over to Nakia's house and said, "Let's have a pitch party." I didn't tell them what I was pitching, and just said I had a project that I'd like to pitch to all of you," Ashley said. "I also didn't tell them who all was coming, so it was hilarious because as people started showing up, everybody was like, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!" And it was like 15 Rangers show up to the house, and everyone was just ... it was funny because Azim, who's on Megaforce, probably had the most outward experience where he was like, "What the heck is happening?!" Like Walter walks in and David walks in, everybody just kept walking in, and the anticipation just kind of started."
The pitch was something with a more adult tone than Power Rangers, and that lit a fire under everyone in the room.
"I just told them, I really just think that we should do a project that is not Power Rangers, that is completely different from Power Rangers," Ashley said. "It's an edgier project. It's something that's current for today's market. I think the fans will get what they want because we will incorporate martial arts, and we'll also be standing next to each other, but The Order has ... there are certain teams, there are the good guys and bad guys, and I think everybody just kind of got excited."
"Yeah, very much so,"
While the film will have recognizable faces to fans, they will be playing completely new characters, and their motivations and allegiances will be harder to discern than the characters you know them for. That includes Burrise's Shania, and good luck trying to figure out what side she's on.
"I am just so excited to play Shania, she just has a brilliant mind, I think she is going to be very articulate, having three college degrees,"
"Well, from a writer's perspective, we tried to make the characters a little bit different from what the actors were used to for the Power Rangers show because Power Rangers is what it is, the characters tend to be ... I don't want to say one-dimensional, but they don't have a lot of range," Fielding said. "They're basically one mode all the time, and what we wanted to do with these characters was to layer them and to make sure that each of them had different facets to them. So you're never really going to be sure about any of the characters. The way that we're structuring the story and everything is that these guys all have interests, and they all have places that they don't want to go to, and all of that stuff will come out in the prequel and also in the film."
"Yeah. I'll piggy-back what both of them said. It's one of those things where we decided to do The Order: Icarus Rising because it was going to be a set of prequel stories," Ashley said. "So the comic that you got and the next two volumes, they kind of prequel the movie, and where the third volume ends is where the movie's going to pick up. It was a great opportunity for us as writers to really delve into the backstories of all these characters before you see them in a movie and before you see the actors bring them to life. As David said, they're all ... they've all got secrets, they've all got dark sides, and The Order is an elite group that kind of shadows the FBI and the CIA, so they're not like government-run or anything. They're kind of like the shadows that restore order."
Hit the next slide to find out more about these brand new characters!
Restoring order in this world results in a lot of
"In order to do that, sometimes they do good things and sometimes they do bad things," Ashley said. "It's just a matter of getting the job done, and in the movie, you'll really see a split in the team. We've kind of foreshadowed...people keep saying it's like a Power Rangers Civil War because they see us against each other. And it's true that they are going to be a lot more complex because you really don't know who's good and who's bad. I mean, it kind of is what you feel is what side you want to be on, but at the end of the day in the movie, they're faced with the biggest challenge, and the challenge is they have to fight each other."
"So we're leading you up to that whole thing, that whole story with the prequel. The Order: Icarus Rising just kind of gives you how did they get to this place? How did they turn on each other? That kind of thing. It's really cool as a writer because we really get to delve into the stories. We're not limited by budgets, like movie budgets. We're an independent film, so we've only got so much money to work with, we've only got so much for visual, special effects, and all that good stuff, but in the comic book, graphic novel world, I mean we can do anything. So it's really cool to write and not be limited and to take you kind of on this journey."
The Order will feature a host of new characters, and Ashely found herself finding a new favorite with every page.
"You know what? I can't say that there's a favorite," Ashley said. "I mean I obviously ... it's funny, David can tell you, there would be times when we'd be writing and I would be like, "Oh God, I love this character," and then we would jump to another scene, and I was like, "Oh my God, I love this character," I was all over the place with my favorites. Then when we had the cast on set and they went through hair and makeup and they got into
"Yeah, I don't know if I have a favorite character," Fielding said. "I think there are some favorite moments that really allow some of the actors to shine, and so those are the things that I was really excited about, what I would consider to be my favorite moments.
"I don't know that I have a favorite character, either,"
"We have such twists and turns in the script, it's true, but the cool thing is in the graphic novel we did use some of those twists and turns," Ashley said. "Especially in volume two and three, which will be out later next year, we're really going to take you ... like we start it pretty early, and who you think is the bad guy isn't really the bad guy, it's someone else, and it's just kind of all over. But it's pretty cool."
Early on the team tried to lay out a precise guide as to who would play who, but eventually, that gave way to just letting that organically form over time.
"It was hilarious because at one point, in the beginning, we were trying to kind of assign people, we had ideas of who would be who, and then we just got totally away from that and said, "Let's just write a really cool action movie with really cool in-depth characters, and then we'll figure out who's who." And even then it changed two or three times," Ashley said. "So I don't know, I felt I was so ready to create something different for us to do. It was like I was almost a rebel."
There were a few things that didn't make the cut, and some of those things did hurt a bit to let go.
"Well I mean, there's an axiom in writing," Fielding said. "You have to kill your darlings, and I think there were several times where we had written some good stuff, but the script was either getting too long, or the scene was getting too long, and we really tried hard to make sure that all of the actors and all of the parts had a moment to shine or something along those lines. So there were moments were we felt like, "Okay, we need to trim this there, we need to pull this back, and reword some stuff," and it was really fun to have Karan as a writing partner because we were able to bounce things off of each other and really sort of take the problem together rather than being one person in the room and trying to figure everything out. So that aided in the process of making sure the script was balanced and everybody had a moment and it was just really fun to work on."
The Order: Icarus Rising is the first of three graphic novels detailing the prequel to The Order, and the next volumes will have a few changes.
"We made a decision we're going to use different artwork and different artists and we're going to kind of start taking this book artistically, taking it into a more realistic art version, just so that it leans more towards the film," Ashley said. "We were so happy with Nathan Blue and what he did with volume one, it's just one of those things where we've decided maybe we'll use different artists for each volume just to kind of take us up to the film. Because it was just a really fun process."
As for the movie, Ashley gave us a new update on what the plans are for the movie and where the funding is coming from.
"Well right now we are ... the way that we structured the graphic novel series, the proceeds from the graphic novels, 70% of it is going right back into the film," Ashley said. "So it's all just to help us build our film budget. We're talking to different investors, and we're trying to get the budget locked, and as soon as we do that then we'll be able to start setting dates. We're excited. I told them, I said, no matter what happens, no matter where we are, no matter what kind of budget, we're shooting our film next year. The fans have been waiting. We have been waiting, and I think we'll be able to pull it off. But again, it's an independent film and it's had its challenges."
Ashley also revealed that the film got extremely close to filming last year but ended up hitting a roadblock.
"We even got so close to almost filming it last year, and we weren't able to," Ashley said. "We had some hiccups and we just had to pause. But one thing I found, it just always seems when stuff like that happens, something better comes along, and I don't think ... we wouldn't have had a graphic novels series, and we're almost building the show and building ... it's almost like the character's show bible. Like they really know what their characters are going to be about before they even start the filming. We never saw this movie as a one-shot deal. We've always kind of seen it as either a multi-film kind of situation or even a TV series. So I was happy with the graphic novel and with the film that we're going to shoot, it's kind of like we're just writing our own destiny here. So we're just excited to get off the ground and get all the budget and legal stuff in place so that we can get rolling next year."
For all three the Power Rangers franchise will always hold a special place in their hearts, and for Ashley, her fondness for the franchise comes from the always diverse cast.
"I've always loved the fact that it's culturally diverse," Ashley said. "Power Rangers was diverse before diversity was cool. It was like you always had a cast who was multi-cultural, different races, different backgrounds, girls, and boys and to me, that was always something that just really stood out. Children have someone they could directly identify with and see themselves in. You may have liked any of the characters, but you could see someone, I don't know how many times people come up to me and they go, "You being on the show changed my life because you look like me," and that just blows me away every time I hear something like that. I didn't think about that when I was on the show. I was 19 years old and super excited to be an actor and have a job that would pay my rent. It was like, "I'm on a TV show!" So for me it just really, I've just come to find how it really resonated with everyone to be able to directly identify with the team. I feel like that's my favorite thing about the show, hands down."
For Fielding, it was all about the positive message the show showcased.
"I really liked the positivity of the show," Fielding said. "The very encouraging and sustaining message of the show is that with your friends, you're an unstoppable force, and I think that's very important for a lot of people to understand that everybody has something that they can bring to the table. And when you can bring all those skills to this table together, you're almost unstoppable. So I really think that's a really great message that is very much in need today, and to be a part of that and know that something that we did 25 years ago is still generating that level of positivity, that's something I feel really good about."
"I agree with both Karan and David about the diversity,"
"It was just so cool that everybody was friends with everybody. You were friends with the smart, nerdy guy, you were friends with the girl next door, you were friends with the
You can read The Order: Icarus Rising for yourself on The Order's official website, and there are currently several Black Friday options for you to choose from. You can check them all out right here! As for The Order, it will hit screens in 2019.