Anyone who sat through Power Rangers’ credits long enough earlier this year saw the tiny mid-credit scene that teased the only logical next step for the franchise’s sequels: the introduction of Tommy Oliver, future Green Ranger. But according to screenwriter John Gatin, the scene was originally very different.
In the scene that showed in theaters, a teacher overseeing detention at Angel Grove High is reading down a roll call list as a camera sweeps through the classroom, moving towards an empty desk. When the teacher calls for Tommy, the camera finally focuses on a green jacket before the shot cuts to a tracking shot in an empty hallway where there’s a sudden, inexplicable explosion from inside one of the lockers. Billy, who’s not pictured in the scene, claims that whatever the explosion was might have been his fault, but there’s no way of being sure before the scene cuts to black.
Setting up Tommy’s introduction for the next Power Rangers movie makes sense considering that the evil Green Ranger, then controlled by Rita Repulsa, was one of the Rangers’ greatest villains. On the DVD commentary for the scene, though, Gatin and director Dean Israelite explained that originally, they’d planned to shoot a different scene that would have established Tommy’s reputation for being a skilled fighter and disruptive presence at the school. Said Gatin, (via Power Rangers Now):
“Well we were going to have that there was a brawl in the lunch room,” said Gatins “And a couple of our kids saying: ‘Man, what happened?’ ‘Dude there was this violent fight. There’s this one crazy kid, the new kid.’ ‘Which kid, Tommy Oliver?’ ‘Yeah’. So you would have felt like Tommy dropped into their world.”
Israelite added that like the scene that was actually put into the film, this proposed lunch brawl wouldn’t have actually shown Tommy’s face, leaving open the possibility that this version of the character could be a woman. Ultimately, Isaelite said, the lunchroom scene was scrapped because the characters barely spend any time there throughout the movie and showing up there randomly didn’t fit with the movie’s plot.
If Lionsgate and Saban actually get around to making all of those Power Rangers sequels we were promised, let’s hope that Tommy’s arc of going from ultimate evil to MVP isn’t wasted on a single measly film and is given the space it deserves to breathe.