If you know about VR Troopers, you’re probably aware of how just how many versions it went through before coming to the screen. There was the original Cybertron pilot that was going to star Jason David Frank, hot off his popularity as Tommy on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This was at various times also known as Psycon.
Even longer before that there was the Metalhead concept. This would have taken the source footage used for VR Troopers, Metalder, and simply dubbed it in a What’s Up, Tiger Lily? fashion. Basically a gag dub.
What hasn’t been revealed ever before was that between those two concepts there was another version of VR Troopers being planned. In a January Variety programming guide for NATPE 1994, an event where TV shows are bought and sold before airing, Saban Entertainment (now Saban Brands) had a listing for “Cybertron.” At first glance, you’d expect this to simply be the version that starred Jason David Frank, but what’s listed doesn’t match that pilot at all.
First off, animated adventures? It seems near impossible that Saban was going to animate a series based off Metalder. Could this listing be for an unrelated show that Saban failed to sell that year? Doubtful, as the Cybertron pilot was filmed in November 1993. Adam Steele (the precursor to Ryan Steele) certainly wasn’t a cyborg with a human mind in that pilot, he gained his power from a cyber crystal. So where did this summary come from?
Our best guess is that it was written after the decision was made to incorporate Speilban footage to increase the number of heroes in the series. Considering the summary mentions multiple cyborgs, this is a reasonable assumption. A VR Troopers show where the main characters were all robots with human brains? This bears no resemblence to the final show nor Metalder or Spielban. In Metalder the main hero was a full on cyborg, no human mind to speak of. Spielban’s characters were aliens. So this concept was a wholly original idea by Saban.
Would a freak accident have turned Kaitlin into a cyborg? Would a science experiment gone wrong made JB capable of lifting his fathers book mobile? Would a cyborg body still have been able to angst up a storm at that damn temple like Ryan was so fond of? Who knows? Maybe this listing was just a placeholder summary to get buyers interested in the series.
Still, it provides a fascinating insight into the creation of one of the most well known wannabe Power Rangers series.
Shamus Kelley wonders if cyborg Ryan Steele would have worn a vest. Follow him on Twitter!