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  • Writer's pictureJulio Rodriguez

Why watch Power Rangers Cosmic Fury w/ Exec Prod.Simon Bennet

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Power Rangers is morphin’ to outer space! On September 29th, 2023, Netflix will premiere the 30th season: Power Rangers Cosmic Fury. In 10-action packed episodes, the Dino Fury Rangers will scour the galaxy with new powers and zords to take on the Emperor of Evil: Lord Zedd. Heat'd South Florida has an exclusive interview with Executive Producer Simon Bennet on why you should follow this Cosmic Chronicle!




It’s All New, All-Original

Thanks to the internet, the world has discovered the intercultural origins of Power Rangers. Power Rangers derives its aesthetics (ranger costumes, monsters, megazords, etc.) and battle scenes from the Toei’s Japanese Super Sentai Series.


In 1993, Saban Entertainment took the action footage of dinosaur fantasy Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger and mixed it with American actors to create

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This practice continued throughout the franchise’s history, even when owned by Disney (2001-2009), Saban Brands (2010-2018), and Hasbro.


Zyuranger and subsequent Super Sentai shows are free to watch on Shout Factory TV | Courtesy of Shout Factory



Power Rangers continued this trend to this very day. To explore the reaches of outer space, the Cosmic Fury Rangers' new zords will come from the constellation-themed Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger. But in an evolution revolution for the series: Hasbro has opted to create all original suits for the team and thus new footage.



The new Cosmic Fury Ranger Suits as seen in key art | Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly



According to Simon Bennet, this sparked formed three factors:


1. Cultural differences

“People within Hasbro found the Sentai-based style of Power Rangers to be too cheesy and corny for modern US sensibilities. There was a genuine desire within Hasbro to make Power Rangers work for a much broader audience, and the general feeling was that the traditional show was too niche. By moving away from the Sentai performance style and look, and towards something that was perceived as more American, it was hoped to give the show broader appeal. They looked at other contemporary kids' live-action content, and quite correctly, in my opinion, saw them as being more sophisticated in their visual language.”


The original suits from Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger | Courtesy of Toei Company LTD.




2. Manufacturing

“From a toy manufacturing perspective, some of the Sentai designs would be difficult to produce, and it was felt, have limited appeal to US audiences. Remember, the adult collector market is a small part of the overall toy sales, and not the target audience of the show. Hasbro Brand wanted creative ownership of the designs, rather than having to go with designs that were adopted from elsewhere. There was a lot of Brand and Toy input into the Cosmic Fury designs. They weren’t attempting to be like the Sentai designs, but to be something quite different, that would be easy to manufacture, for US kids. The inclusion of the MMPR lightning bolt logo on all the suits and props is an example of the Brand wanting to apply consistency across the range.”


Courtesy of Hasbro




3. Storytelling

“While helping to keep the cost of the showdown, from a story perspective, the use of Japanese footage was very limiting. Stories and characters had to be contrived around the usable footage. Finding matching filming locations was always challenging. The end result was rarely seamless. This meant that a typical Power Rangers episode was a bit of a stylistic mess, made of sometimes ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle pieces. It was wonderful on Cosmic Fury to finally not be a slave to the Sentai footage, and to be able to tell the stories we wanted to tell.”



3.5 Diversifying the power

The use of original footage allows them greater liberties in storytelling. The use of original costumes and footage also appeals to the American sense of diversity.


Previously Pink Ranger Amelia will now don leadership as the Red Ranger. Power Rangers and Super Sentai have had two female reds, albeit with temporary screen time. However, Amelia will keep her color and title throughout the entirety of Cosmic Fury.



Red Ranger Amelia as seen on the box of the Cosmic Fury Morpher | Courtesy of Hasbro



Green Ranger Izzy made waves as the first openly LGBT ranger in the live-action show. Previously, LGBT characters were limited to expanded universe media like the comics and the 2017 Lionsgate movie.


Some episodes of Dino Fury showed Izzy’s relationship with fellow student-athlete Fern. Fern will join her girlfriend on this intergalactic adventure as not just another LGBT inclusion but the first live-action Orange Ranger. Orange Rangers have also been relegated to comic book material or joke sequences in Power Rangers. Super Sentai has official Orange Rangers, though few and far between. In both series, the color has been prominently male.


Cosmic Fury Orange Ranger as shown in leaked photos | Courtesy of @redrangerfanpage on Instagram


While Power Rangers teams has long been labeled as a “boys” brand, Simon Bennet and his team sought to even the playing field:

“This came from me, and writers Becca and Alwyn. We’ve always been keen to aspire to inclusivity. I’m delighted we’ve got a Ranger team in Cosmic Fury that is 50/50 male/female. I believe there’s a girls’ audience as well as boys for the show. Hasbro and Netflix, to their credit, supported us in this.”



But what about Super Sentai?

Fittingly, a similar production method helped spark the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers tv show. Through its original three seasons, the show kept the dinosaur-themed Zyuranger costumes. However, later seasons would take their zords and villains from Zyuranger’s successors: Gosei Sentai Dairanger and Ninja Sentai Kakuranger. However, Bennet states the easter eggs and full circle connection were unintentional:


In storage (left) lies the head for Megabeast Hunter Bangray, a popular villain from the unadapted Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger | Courtesy of @Rangerboard on X and Toei Company Ltd. respectively


Fittingly, a similar production method helped spark the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers tv show. Through its original three seasons, the show kept the dinosaur-themed Zyuranger costumes. However, later seasons would take their zords and villains from Zyuranger’s successors: Gosei Sentai Dairanger and Ninja Sentai Kakuranger. However, Bennet states the easter eggs and full circle connection were unintentional:


When Tommy became the White Ranger, Saban Entertainment used the Kibaranger suit from Dairanger. However, they kept the Zyuranger suits for the other members | Courtesy of Hasbro



“The stories we wanted to tell needed monster armies. We needed cannon fodder. Toei were clearing out some of their warehouse storage and offered us a whole lot of old suits from other seasons. We were happy to accept.”



It’s the Final Countdown!

Aside from it’s 30th anniversary milestone and innovations, Cosmic Fury marks the end of an era for Power Rangers. Since buying the franchise in 2018, Hasbro has been eager to remorph the Power Rangers franchise for mainstream audiences. While currently stalled by the SAG-AFTRA strikes, the reboot project has been a priority for Hasbro.



The reboot is under the helm of Jonathan Entwistle. He previously directed Netflix hits like The End Of The F***ing World and I Am Not Okay With This | Courtesy of IMDB


“Hasbro’s main interest was always in the Young Adult Jonathan Entwhistle series that had been in development since late 2019 or early 2020. This was intended to be a hard reboot, more sophisticated, aimed at an older audience, without any dependency on Sentai or established canon. However, development seemed to be going very slowly. I don’t think Dino Fury season 2, or Cosmic Fury would have happened if it had been ready. These were stop-gap seasons intended to keep the show ticking over and supporting toy sales in the meantime. When development resumes on the Entwhistle project after the Hollywood strikes finish, I wouldn’t expect to see it going into Production until late 2024 at the earliest - so on-air sometime in 2025.”


With this change in production comes a change of scenery. New Zealand has embraced Power Rangers productions ever since 2003’s Power Rangers Ninja Storm. For then-owners Disney and later Saban Brands, it was a cost-effective replacement for the previous filming locations in Los Angeles. Over the years, Power Rangers became a revered production in the Kiwi nation, especially for local natives like Bennet himself:



New Zealand as seen in the filming of Power Rangers Dino Charge | Courtesy of the New Zealand Film Commission


“I did 4 years as a director and nearly 5 as Executive Producer. Which is a long spell, but nothing like the 19 years I was associated with NZ medical soap opera Shortland Street! My experience with Power Rangers was very positive. While the show itself isn’t something I would ever have watched if it wasn’t for the fact I found myself working on it, making the show was creative, fascinating, and never dull. My colleagues on the show were imaginative, disciplined, and committed. I felt like I was working with family and friends - a huge amount of mutual respect. I also got to learn a lot about the production of a show with such a heavy VFX and action component. I was well supported by the PR crew, and by people in Hasbro and eOne. I’m sad it’s finished.”



Simon Bennet testing the Cosmic Fury Morpher Prop | Courtesy of @pookina on Instagram


However, Cosmic Fury will also be the end of an era for production as the show moves away for the foreseeable future.

“Normally, the writing team and I would go straight into developing the next season after the previous one is written. However, we had a pretty good idea that Cosmic Fury would be the last iteration of the kid's show while we were shooting. It’s for this reason that we brought the story in Cosmic Fury to an end, rather than finishing on a cliffhanger.”


While fans may mourn the end of an era, this finality also only motivated the team to go into infinity and beyond. Fans should be curious of the final season as Bennet hints:

“It certainly meant that we were allowed to break lots of rules and tell Power Rangers stories in refreshingly new ways, which was rewarding.”


When asked to describe Cosmic Fury in one word, Bennet simply stated:

“Swansong’, ‘Epic’, ‘Lovesong’ ‘Farewell’ - are all words that come to mind. You choose!”



Guests

But no celebration is complete without guests. To help the rangers in their climactic battle, the Cosmic Fury Rangers will join up with veteran rangers from the past.


Billy Cranston: Mighty Morphin Blue Ranger

Courtesy of Hasbro


If you love the 90’s, you’ll feel like a kid again! Billy Cranston is the Blue Ranger and mechanical genius of the original team. With his experiences fighting Lord Zedd throughout the Mighty Morphin Era, Billy will mentor the newly powered Cosmic Fury rangers throughout their galactic battle. Bennet and his production team chose Billy to bring 30 years of ranger history full circle.


“When developing Cosmic Fury, we saw it as the 30th anniversary season, and really wanted to have a significant MMPR legacy ranger on board for that reason. We began talks with David Yost in 2021, hardly beliving he’d agree to come aboard, giving his tarnished experience with the franchise in the past. However, he said yes - and we were delighted. “



David Yost with some of the Cosmic Fury Rangers | Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly


Avid fans and 90’s nostalgics previously saw Billy in the 30th anniversary reunion: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once and Always. Despite premiering earlier this year, the special came as a result of Cosmic Fury:

“Once and Always came about in early 2022, after David had pitched his own idea for an MMPR reunion series to Hasbro execs (Quantum Continuum). They couldn’t commit to this for various political, budgetary and legal reasons - but did embrace the idea of a one-off special for the 30th anniversary year. Hence Once and Always.”



Courtesy of Netflix





Mick Kanic: Ninja Steel Red Ranger

Courtesy of Hasbro


Representing the more current seasons is the shape-shifting ally of the Ninja Steel team. While a mentor for most of the season, Mick temporarily gained ranger powers after Red Ranger Brody split his Ninja Star into three parts. According to behind-the-scenes leaks, he will morph once more into battle.



Courtesy of Nick News on Youtube


Though, this isn’t the first time Mick’s returned. In the Dino Fury Season 1 Episode “Unexpected Guest” he recruits the rangers help to the Ninja Nexus Prism (the source of the Ninja Power Stars).


“Kelson, who lives in NZ, is great. We love Mick and would look for any opportunity to bring him back. Also Kelson is an absolute delight to work with.”



Courtesy of Hasbro




Heckyl: Dino Charge Dark Ranger


Courtesy of Toei Company Ltd


While Dino Charge also fits the criteria of modern seasons, this cameo embraces the franchise's extended universe. In season 2 of Dino Charge (a.k.a. Dino Supercharge), Heckyl was the main antagonist seeking to steal the energems. However, he often clashed with his ruthless split personality: Snide. After Heckyl and Snide were eventually separated, where Heckyl remembered his true origins. He was the protector of Sentai 6, corrupted by the Dark Energem in a desperate attempt to safeguard it from Lord Arcanon. After the ultimate defeat of Arcanon, Snide, and overall antagonist Sledge, Heckyl returns to his duty as a protector alongside Silver Ranger Zenowing.


Heckyl (right) and Snide (left) | Courtesy of Hasbro


The “Beyond the Grid” arc of the Boom Studios Comics continues Heckyl’s story. Fearing another attack on Sentai 6, Heckyl secretly creates a Morpher. The event inadvertently calls the attention of Lord Arcanon, who plans to destroy the planet. Despite Zenowing's warning, Heckyl uses the dark energem to become a Power Ranger. He easily defeats Lord Arcanon, but the dark energy of the crystal begins to corrupt him again. However, Zenowing sacrifices his life to purify the crystal and allow Heckyl to save others.


Courtesy of Boom Studios


The Dark Ranger’s suit originated in the summer film Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger: Gaburincho of Music as the villainous Deathryuger. Despite hints at Heckyl becoming the Dark Ranger in Dino Charge, budget concerns crushed the idea. Bennet offered no comment, as this cameo was meant to be surprise. However, Netflix inadvertently spoiled it through trailer footage. Ryan Carter is expected to return to the role, being a New Zealand native-like Kelson Henderson.


Courtesy of Netflix




How Do I Watch Cosmic Fury?

All 10 episodes of Power Rangers Cosmic Fury will launch on September 29th, 2023 on Netflix. Viewers can also find all 44 episodes of Dino Fury on the platform.





Author’s recommendation:

How did I write so much about Power Rangers Lore in this article? Well, because I’m a lifelong Power Rangers fan. I have a whole YouTube channel about it YouTube. Simon’s recommendation is perfect as is. However, I’d like to add a few recommendations if you want to.


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once and Always

Billy’s latest appearance in the series


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Issue #35 (Beyond the Grid arc)

The Origins of Heckyl’s Dark Ranger Powers


Power Rangers Ninja Steel S1 E20: “Galvanax Rises”

Mick’s debut as a Red Ranger


Power Rangers Dino Fury S1 E8: “Unexpected Guest”

Mick’s latest appearance in Power Rangers.

Features a mini Ninja Steel recap through flashback.


Power Rangers Dino Fury S1 E14: “Old Foes”

Explains Lord Zedd’s return after his destruction in Power Rangers In Space.

Features a flashback recap of Lord Zedd and his mighty power.


Make sure to check out Power Rangers Cosmic Fury on Netflix! Thanks to Simon Bennet for his morphinominal insight!

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