The world of television is a crazy place. For every idea that eventually makes it to screen, a hundred more are left unused. Some of them are true gems, others are discarded for the realities of production, and some are just plain bad.
Power Rangers is no exception to this. For a show that’s been on for twenty years, a lot of ideas have been lost for one reason or the other: Greg Aronowitz’s original idea for a Lord of the Rings version of Mystic Force, Devin becoming the Triassic Ranger, and even the fabled “Ancient Rangers”. Whether all these would have happened, or if they were even true, still provoke fandom discussion to this day. Today we’ll be discussing three such ideas from Amit Bhaumik.
For those not in the know, Amit was a fan of Power Rangers before he was promoted to story editor for Power Rangers Wild Force. He wrote the fan favorites “Reinforcements from the Future” and “Forever Red”. When Saban bought back the franchise from Disney he also wrote for Power Rangers Samurai. Since then, Amit has kept intermittent contact with the fandom, providing several pitches for Power Rangers seasons that were never to be.
Power Rangers: Hexagon
Intended as the season to follow Wild Force, Hexagon has long been a hot topic of discussion amongst the fandom thanks to information leaking out over the years. It’s certainly an ambitious idea. A team-up season of Power Rangers finally bringing together the continuity of several seasons that seemed mostly divorced from the “Zordon Era” of the show.
Story: Hexagon would have featured two factions of Rangers, Tommy Oliver’s Hexagon, a government style organization of united Rangers, and Jason Lee Scott’s Beetle Rangers that were to operate outside this network of superhero teams and oppose the united structure of the Hexagon. The main conflict of the season would be derived from a “Which side are you on?” between the three Hexagon Rangers and the three Beetle Rangers (featuring a US exclusive female ranger). Jason and Tommy would have come to blows once more in the conflict and Tommy was going to end up as the villain of the series. The Hexagon Rangers would have rebelled and showed Tommy the error of his ways, who would then disband the Hexagon.
The season was meant to clean up the Ranger universe, answering long-standing issues such as how the hell Earth developed Terra Venture, bringing back Scorpina and Lokar, and even feature a team up with the anti-Hexagon Wild Force team. Read the full pitch here.
Listen to our Ultraman interview on The Fourth Wall podcast:
Comparison To What We Got
When Power Rangers was bought by Disney they moved production down to New Zealand, nixing any possibility of Hexagon. What we got was Power Rangers Ninja Storm, a more lighthearted season trying to recapture the magic of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, albeit with ninjas instead of dinosaurs. With the lighter tone, the Rangers saying DUDE every other word, and the extreme sports bent; this was the exact opposite of Hexagon. The only surface similarities were the conflict between what became the Wind and Thunder Rangers, which had more to do with the Sentai footage they were obligated to work with that year than anything else. That conflict only lasted for a handful of episodes at the start and they worked together just fine the rest of the season.
The other major difference was that Tommy was going to assume what became the Green Samurai Ranger’s powers, thanks to sharing the same color and gold shield of his first set of powers. Ninja Storm opted for having their tech wizard, Cam, take up the mantle midway through the season and even introduced a comedic “Cyber Cam” into the mix. The season also featured a ton of fourth wall breaking humor, including the main villain exclaiming in the final episode, “This is the most fun I’ve had all season!”
Could It Have Worked?
Fans often bemoan this season was never made. I myself was always intrigued by what little I had heard of it over the years. When it finally surfaced online I was both impressed by its ambition but also left wondering how it would have been made. Hexagon would have been expensive, especially with all the returning cast members and new fight footage needed. Power Rangers has always been a show made on the cheap and is especially slave to its Japanese source footage. The show does shoot its own original footage but at this period in its history it was becoming more and more reliant on it.
The plot of Hexagon would require an enormous amount of original footage and fights, especially with a US exclusive Ranger. Lightspeed Rescue was able to previously pull it off with the Titanium Ranger, but he had to be sidelined because they couldn’t afford to film so many new fights. Perhaps work arounds could have been done but just from the outline, Hexagon would likely have been far too costly to produce as is. Now, as Bhaumik admits, this was a very early rough draft. Over time certain elements may been removed or changed to accomdate the budget or new creative visions. It’s unlikely that even if Bhaumik had continued to work on the series this entire pitch would have made it through unchanged.
As is though, it’s intriguing from a hardcore Power Rangers fan perspective. How could it not be? It’s obsessed with clearing up the Power Rangers continuity and answering long term questions. The building of Terra Venture is made part of a grand conspiracy, it reveals the Phantom Ranger’s identity, and explains how some of the Red Rangers featured in “Forever Red” regained their powers. Some of it feels a little too much like checking boxes and I question a few of the ideas. For example, the idea of Jason being on the outskirts of society is interesting but not one I personally put much stock in. Maybe he was just wearing a duster in his first Zeo appearance because he was in the desert. Simple as that.
Some Power Rangers fans point to this pitch as what Power Rangers should strive for. Continuity all the time and always bringing back new characters. As much as I would love it (and I assume anyone reading this would), there needs to be that balalnce between pleasing old fans and not making it entirely inaccessible to new viewers. There’s a danger this could have become the kind of TV where you need to be constantly checking Wikipedia to keep up with it. One of Bhaumik’s hopes for the season however was to “establish legacy and importance to younger fans” so perhaps if handeled well all the continuity wouldn’t have been too intrusive.
It’s still a fun idea though, one that would be perfect for a Boom! Studios comic. There the budget is nowhere near as much of a factor, all that really needs to be asked is can it all be drawn. The recent Power Rangers massive team-up “Shattered Grid” proves it can be done and the realm of comics is far more catered to hardcore fans than the TV series is. If Boom ever wants a new line of Power Rangers comics, this wouldn’t be a bad place to mine for some ideas.
Power Rangers Samurai
With Power Rangers firmly back in its control from Disney, Saban began production on the 18th season of the long running franchise. Amit was contacted and created this outline for his ideas on how Samurai Sentai Shinkenger could be adapted.
Story: Mark Ozawa and Keiji Ayakawa are sparring in a dojo located in Stone Canyon when suddenly the Dread Castle rises from the earth. The two rush to do battle with the evil force spilling out from the castle but they separate when Keiji cares more for fighting than helping others. Mark is injured and Mr. Mason, his loyal butler, puts out the call to four other warriors who have trained their whole lives to fight this evil force. Together, Mark; along with Oscar, Lisa, Iris, and Adewale become the newest team of Power Rangers: the Power Rangers Samurai. The forces of evil recruit Keiji after they learn he’s a descendant of their clan.
Soon after, Bulk and his son Eugene join them, to aid the Rangers in their battle…they even run a sushi shop. Eugene eventually becomes the Gold Samurai Ranger after some initial reservations from the team.
As the season would go on, Keiji would learn to harness his inner Ashura powers and turn into a monstrous form. He and Mark would clash several times over the course of the show, the main rivalry throughout the season. Three fourths of the way through the season Mark would discover he was actually the long-lost brother of Keigi and would leave the Rangers. Taking his place would be Alison, his distant cousin.
The end of the series would have the villains resurrect Master Xandred and he would lead the final battle against the Earth. Mark and Keiji would have their final duel and choose brotherhood/humanity over feud. Suffice it to say, the rangers and Keiji would work together to defeat the Ashua Clan and succeed. Read the full pitch here.
Comparison To What We Got
Without a doubt, Samurai and Super Samurai were some of the weakest seasons the franchise has ever seen. Sloppily translated versions of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, the Rangers barely act like people and instead engage in non-stop training. The dialogue was baffling at points, such as, “Now what about what I throw at you!?!” Who talks like that? The season, much like Ninja Storm, tried to once again capture Mighty Morphin Power Rangers magic. Much like Ninja Storm though, they were stuck doing a season about samurais.
But where Ninja Storm may have overdone the humor in places to appeal to the new Disney audience, it still felt like Power Rangers and added something new, fun, and engaging. Samurai barely copied the surface elements of MMPR. The Samurai Rangers often talk about teamwork but their actions don’t reflect this. The rest of the plot was more or less copied directly from Shinkengerand a lot was lost in the translation.
The story of the season basically went like this; the Nighlocks were trying to raise the Sanzu River so they could permanently enter the human world. The Samurai Rangers, brought together by Mentor and Jayden fight against the Nighlocks and Deker who just wants the ultimate duel (he never shuts up about that damn duel all series).
In the last arc it’s revealed Jayden isn’t the true leader of Team Samurai, that role belonging to his sister Lauren. She briefly takes over the team but Jayden ends up saving the day. Bulk and his “nephew” Spike (son of Skull who makes a brief cameo in the final episode) are also around, but you’d be hard pressed to figure out what they were doing there. They barely interacted with the team and seemed to be confined to their own show. (We later learned why this was the case, thanks to Samurai and Super Samurai story editor James W. Bates, who related his many struggles in making the season.)
Could It Have Worked?
Out of all of Bhaumik’s pitches, this is the one that would have most likely made it to screen. While it again would have required shooting more original footage, it isn’t anywhere near as much as Hexagon required. Power Rangers has featured original villains in the past and having to shoot new footage for them isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
While the season still borrows elements from Shinkenger, they at least makemore sense in this context. That, and hedging closer to the Sentai plotline would make the other producers happy. James W. Bates finally confirmed, after many years of fan speculation, that exeuctive producer Jonathan Tzachor wanted to stick “very close” to the original plot of Shinkenger.
With that in mind, this pitch does a great job of keeping the Japanese story intact enough while adapting enough elements to make it work for Western audiences. The conflict between Mark and Keiji especially holds a lot of dramatic potential. The characters overall all seem to be more fleshed out and have meaningful interactions with each other. On top of that, Bulk and Eugene actually seem to be relevant! What a concept! The use of Stone Canyon is also a nice touch; I’ve always wondered why a season wasn’t set there.
Power Rangers: Cyber Corps
Bhaumik’s last work for the show, tentatively Power Rangers 21, and later named Cyber Corps, he had only made it through analyzing ten episodes of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters before he abandoned the idea. With the season not being adapted (at the time) in favor of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger for Power Rangers Dino Charge, he posted the pitch and explanation for his thought process behind it.
Story: In Eternity City, on the planet Mirinoi, giant Energrid Towers power the city’s defenses run by the Mirinoi Defense Force. Cut off from Earth, the city harnesses the power of the morphin grid and is defended by a team of specially equipped experts called the Cyber Corps. These Rangers consist of Johnny, a rebellious youth, Arjuna, and Michelle; both elite members of the MDF along with their robotic assistants, the Buddy-Roids.
The Rangers fight against the masked computer hacker Omni, Johnny’s best friend, who teleports giant robots from the mysterious Dimension X to aid in bringing back the sentient computer virus, Venjix, into our world. This is the same Venjix from “Forever Red” who had been hoping dimensions since and nearly destroyed Eternity City once before. He was thought to beamed into the morphin grid but was actually sent to Dimension X, spreading across every computer system on the planet (This would be the same universe RPM takes place in.)
Throughout the season gold and silver rangers would be added to the line up before a crossover with RPM. Scott, Summer, and Ziggy arrive in Eternity City telling the team most of the humans in their world have been wiped out, including the other RPM Rangers. The three are killed in a valiant effort to stop Venjix teleporting himself and his monsters to the city, Scott instructing them to find Dr. K.
The rangers travel to Dimension X where they meet up with her and Omni finally comes face to face with Venjix in the form a giant floating holographic head. The Rangers are able to save Dr. K and seal off the portal to Dimension X, trapping Venjix and his minions inside; but Omni escapes and vows to avenge him.
The Ranger team is fired from the MDF for a time, replaced with more militaristic characters but they are taken over by Omni and our team of heroes regain their powers in short order. Stealing technology from Cyber Command, Omni is able to reestablish contact with Venjix. Searching for a way to stop Venjix, the team discovers a rare metal that is located near Daekani Village. This is Maya’s village from Lost Galaxy and she’s become the chief. She refuses to cooperate with the team, but soon relents when Kaya, the gold ranger, convinces her of their need.
Omni is still able to bring Venjix into our dimension where he takes on a new robotic body and kills the rangers friend; Commander Miller. Omni merges with Venjix and the final battle is on. The rangers battle Venjix but he destroys everything, except for Johnny who manages to deploy an Anti-Virus before he’s wiped out of existence. Venjix celebrates his victory but Omni revolts against him for killing his best friend, regaining his last shred of his humanity. He injects them with the Anti-Virus, purging Venjix from himself and repairing reality. The Rangers are restored but Omni dies. Venjix; weakened but still alive, will survive so long as he has a computer to download himself into. The Rangers transport him into the Morphin Grid, a reality of raw energy without a computer in sight and defeat him.
The Rangers all move on with their lives and Dr. K even manages to reestablish contact with Earth and sees this universe’s version of the RPM Rangers looking back at her (or are they the same ones? She had inserted some code into the Anti-Virus, which somehow merged elements of her universe with this one).
Johnny, mourning his friend, rides off into the sunset. Read the full pitch here.
Comparison To What We Got
While Go-Busters was at one time totally skipped it was recently revealed that it would be adapted after Super Ninja Steel as Power Rangers Beast Morphers. While the season hasn’t aired yet we do have a brief summary for it.
Set in the future, a secret agency combines a newly discovered substance called “Morph-X” with animal DNA to create the Power Rangers Beast Morphers team. The Rangers must fight off an evil sentient computer virus bent on taking over the source of all Ranger power, the Morphin Grid itself. Featuring never-before-seen leather suits and an all-new beast-themed arsenal (including dynamic new Zords), fans should get ready for a season full of secret ops and morphinominal fun.
Welp, they both have computer virus’ and references to the Morphin Grid! We’ll see what similarties Amit’s pitch has to Beast Morphers when it airs.
Could It Have Worked?
Many of the same problems that plagued the Hexagon pitch are present here. An overreliance on continuity and extensive amounts of new footage, Bhaumik admits some of his reason for doing this was because Go-Busters offered less useable footage than other seasons of Power Rangers. Plus he saw Go-Busters as a chance to “repair the neglected continuity of the franchise into one continuous universe again”. Bhaumik strongly believes that, “one of the main appeals of the show that separated it from all of its competitors was the sense of a fictitious universe.”
Despite those issues, elements of this pitch are incredibly strong. The characters are very tied into the universe of Power Rangers but it doesn’t define them. Kaya, being a native Mirinite who decided to make a life amongst the Terra Venture colonists, sounds like another check list of continuity points but has a personality and history all her own. As the pitch states, “Kaya has a strained relationship with her family and her village, having turned her back on them to adapt to her celebrity status and city life.” That’s deeper than almost all of the characters combined from the last few years of the show!
Other ideas such as briefly replacing the team, teaming up with RPM, and the convoluted way Venjix somehow survived “Forever Red” all would strain the season’s budget but I can’t lie. They would have been great to see.
Like Hexagon, I don’t agree with all of Bhaumik’s decisions. The character of Oliver Stanton, son of Commander Stanton from Lost Galaxy, is a good idea for a character. However, why not use Stanton’s daughter that we’d already seen? He also reuses the name Omni but his Omni is not the same one as in SPD, which seems odd considering how much he stresses that the reuse of the name Venjix irked him.
It also undermines one of the best episodes of Power Rangers ever produced, RPM‘s “Doctor K.” Instead of K creating and releasing Venjix into the world, it’s now just a coincidence and the Wild Force Venjix is actually the one to cause the apocalypse. It really undercuts K’s story and the emotional resonance of the episode. I enjoy continuity but not at the expense of characters.
Of course there’s the big retcon of setting all the Disney seasons (along with Samurai and Megaforce) in “Dimension X”. When I first read this pitch I admit to thinking it was ill advised but after RPM was lazily shunted to being an alternate universe in Samurai? I like it a lot more. It still has issues but at least tries to be respectful of most of the seasons and by the end would unite them in a way that convitently could explain away any continuity issues. I’ll take that over Dino Charge needing to be relegated to an alternate universe solely because they inexplicably brought the dinosaurs back to life.
Cyber Corps could have been a fan favorite season, even if only a quarter of these ideas made it to screen. It’s an engaging story with likeable characters that utilizes Power Rangers continuity in a way that helps bring some flavor to the world but doesn’t completely overwhelm it.
Whatever flaws Bhaumik’s pitches have I admire his ambition. While Cyber Corps and even Hexagon seem lofty and more than a bit unrelastic, I much prefer it to recent seasons that seem content playing it safe, mining the iconography of MMPR without fully understanding it, and generally only engaging with continuity in the most hand fisted of ways. That or getting things flat out wrong.
Bhaumik, like any hardcore fan, loves the world of Power Rangers and wanted to find a way to use it. While the franchise currently doesn’t seem all that interested in exploring its wider universe (at least on TV), I have to respect Bhaumik for attempting to create seasons that tied into so much of it. Even the Samurai pitch, while not as continuity heavy, at least understands the spirit of Power Rangers better than most recent seasons.
It’s understandable why these pitches were never used, since they either required higher budgets or producers more willing to stray from the Sentai footage. We’ll sadly probably never see a season like Hexagon or Cyber Corps on TV but we can all hope one day the people working on the series will see the Power Rangers universe is something to respectfully play with, not to avoid.
The comics have shown they understand that and Amit Bhaumik was way ahead of them. Hey, Boom! Studios. Give him a call. He might have some great ideas for you.