Producer Adi Shankar and director Joseph Kahn’s gritty, unauthorized Power/Rangers short film that debuted last week prompted quite a bit of discussion regarding the long-running Power Rangers franchise and the legal issues surrounding such a project — all while racking up more than 12 million views on YouTube (as of today). The film was so popular, in fact, that Shankar revisited it this week with a “making of” feature that offered a glimpse at the project’s development — from scouting locations to final edits and screening.
Power/Rangers was created as part of Shankar’s “Bootleg Universe,” a series of short films that feature familiar actors in gritty stories based on comic books and television series. The film features Battlestar Galactica actress Katee Sackhoff and Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek as some of the characters from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series.
Previous films in the series have involved Marvel Comics’ Punisher and Venom characters, as well as Judge Dredd, but Power/Rangers holds the dubious distinction of being one of the first of Shankar’s short films to come under serious fire from the owners of the rights to the characters. The video became a viral hit shortly after its debut on YouTube and Vimeo, only to be taken down when franchise owner Haim Saban challenged its validity as a fan film, then republished once it had been determined that the video did indeed fall under “fan film” status.
In the “Making Of” video for Power/Rangers, Kahn and the rest of the film’s creative team and cast can be seen scouting locations, performing in front of a green screen, and scoring the film, among other aspects of the full production process. The video concludes with Shankar hosting a screening of the film in a small theater.
It’s worth noting that a new, official movie based on the Power Rangers is currently in development, with an expected release date of July 22, 2016.