Back in 2015, Adi Shankar and Joseph Kahn teamed up to produce a fan film dedicated to a very adult version of the Power Rangers. James Van Der Beek plays a turncoat who betrayed the Rangers to the Machine Empire in the popular film, and it in an interview with Inverse he reveals how Adi got him involved.
"I was having dinner with Adi, and I think his father and I asked him what he was up to, and he was like, 'Dude, I'm going to make a super dark, hard R re-imagining of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," Van Der Beek remembers, laughing. "I think my exact response was, 'That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, I'm in.'"
Shankar let Van Der Beek have a go at rewriting the script, and afterward brought on Katee Sackhoff to play Kimberly, the Pink Ranger.
The film takes a harsh look at what a group of teenagers turned superheroes might look like, and the obvious baggage they would carry throughout their lives. Shankar wanted to explore those adult topics through something fans could relate to, hence using the Power Rangers.
"I want to take a complicated idea and explore it and present the question to the public, using these very accessible characters or universes," he explains. "You say 'Hey, would you want to watch a deconstruction of the impact of PTSD on being a child soldier?' Most people are like, 'No, I don't want to see that movie.' But you throw in the context of Power Rangers, people are like, 'Yo, it's dope!'"
The fan film would go on to amass plenty of buzz, though it was shut down for a bit by Saban. They eventually came to terms, and the film is back online to influence a new group of Power Rangers fans.
You can view the Fan Film here.
The recent theatrical Power Rangers reboot currently enjoys a 73.23 on ComicBook.com's composite rankings, and you can submit your rating for the film here. The official description is included below.
"Saban's Power Rangers follows five ordinary high school kids who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover that they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so they will have to overcome their real-life issues and band together as the Power Rangers before it is too late."
Power Rangers is in stores now.