So there's no question that with international sales and tie-in merchandise sales combined, the future for a sequel looks promising. Said sequel could very well be exactly what keeps the franchise afloat, given it can explore bits of the mythology that the first film couldn't. It could also include more effects and tie in more storylines than what this year's rushed adaptation of "Day of the Dumpster" would allow.
But with so many stories to adapt, where to begin? Dean Israelite, the director, has even said he'd be interested in doing a prequel about Zordon's old team, chronicling what led to Rita's betrayal. For a taste of what may be inspiring him and Saban to consider that possibility, here's the fanfic film Zordon of Eltar by Lone Wolf Studios (approx 1 hr):
Granted, that version had Zordon as the original White Ranger. But...details. It's also obvious that this year's adaptation of "Day of the Dumpster" (and possibly "Green With Evil") also borrowed visually heavily from Power / Rangers by Adi Shenkar:
And also took inspiration from Lone Wolf Studios' Teenagers of Attitude reimagining, which moved Angel Grove to Hawaii:
In fact, I believe it's that video which inspired the current Becky G. incarnation of Trini as a troubled girl, in ways that were never seen in Thuy Trang's take. (But which Audrey DuBois' take would've hinted at if she hadn't been fired after the unaired pilot.)
However, everyone knows that what's really making the rounds in talks are ideas for a sequel to the current film. One with more action, more fights, more morphed Ranger scenes, and more of what viewers actually came for. (Especially the Chinese ones, who actually want the series to be more like Transformers!)
We already know that the government is gunning for the Rangers a-la Suicide Squad, Batman v. Superman, and Captain America: Civil War. Aftershock made that painfully obvious, as this clip from DeviantArt user MetroXlR makes abundantly clear:
In fact, Aftershock provides a perfect opportunity for the sort of sequel that I would write. So here's my plan, should Saban decide to use it:
1. Skip "Green With Evil."
You read that right. The next film should start with viewers able to tell from context clues of the cold open that the events in "Green With Evil" have already taken place. Tommy is already the Green Ranger. The graphic novel of this saga for this new cinematic universe should be outsourced to Boom! Studios.
However, he should be shown struggling with a "pain" that comes from using the Green Coin. Summoning the Dragonzord, using the morph for too long...it gives him pain, and horrible visions of Rita keep coming back. This ties in with the fact that using the corrupted Dragon Coin in the Boom! Studios comic line has similar side effects. The Dragon Coin powers have been too far corrupted by Rita, and it will be necessary to replace the Green Ranger entirely. Tommy's being a Green Ranger is living on borrowed time. Soon, his time will be up.
2. Spider-Man 2-style opening credits and the return of Adam
And instead of reiterating the first story verbatim, the credits should tell the story of...
Zack getting killed by Madame Woe!
That's right. Rangers need to die. Shortly after the cold open, where the Rangers are battling Lokar, we'll learn more about how Adam succeeded Zack as the Black Ranger. We'll also learn about Adam's past, as his family is trying to flee the Triads further south. Adam didn't want to live in a town where his options were quickly becoming join a gang or die. So he and his family picked a third option. After all: wouldn't the Triads be stupid to chase after the Parks in a place like Angel Grove, where monsters visit periodically and could step on them?
The opening credits should also be set to the opening theme from the first film, as written and composed by Brian Tyler. It sounds just similar enough to a Danny Elfman or Steve Jablonsky composition that it could be used the same way as Spider-Man 2.
Speaking of the cold open...
3. Rocky has to replace Jason, and it makes sense this time.
Jason dies in the opening scene, giving his life to save Tommy, whose Green Ranger powers are floundering as the Dragonzord becomes harder to control. Tommy is struggling against recurring visions of Rita as well, and is often in pain.
Rocky, later revealed to be desiring a future as a fireman like his father (who died in the first film), discovers the Red Power Coin that Jason dropped upon dying. The coin chooses Rocky, who decides to fight Lokar in spite the risk in order to avenge Jason's honor. Rocky helps lead the team to victory against Lokar.
Rocky was struggling to find his place in Angel Grove High following what happened in the first film. Jason became a sort of friend / mentor to him, and Rocky finally connects the dots on the friend who was trying to help him. He fears he will never be as good a Red Ranger as Jason, but that he must at least try. Adam, also feeling like an inferior Zack, encourages Rocky. So does Zordon, who warns them that the risk of Ranger mortality will only increase as worse and worse threats from the United Alliance of Evil make their way to Earth.
Tommy starts to become most concerned, as he doesn't trust his own Green Ranger power. Nightmares of Rita continue to worsen, and he fears the coin in his possession may be calling out to her. The Rangers know that she cannot be allowed to make it back to Earth, lest the Green Coin should revive her yet again. In which case, she'd easily reclaim it from Tommy and resume her old quest. Would she remake Goldar again? They'd rather not find out.
The Rangers frequently meet outside a memorial they've erected near the Command Center, to commemorate the losses of Zack and Jason. Adam takes over taking care of Zack's mother, but she is also found dead. They bury her by the memorial for Zack and Jason.
4. Rise of the (Silver) Guardians
And weirdly enough, that image is canon to the TV show. (Technically, they're from Time Force, but still.)
Furious at Trump for firing James Comey, an FBI figure named Roger Collins who is privately wealthy decides to devote his time to defying an order Trump gave to leave the Power Rangers be for the time being. He creates a faction of similar rogue agents to become the Silver Guardians.
Unlike Melanie Sheer's Apex, which will only act if the Rangers "step out of line," the Silver Guardians actively seek to discover the Rangers' identities and expose them, as well as apprehend them and have them experimented on, a-la Col. Stryker from the X-Men films. Much like the World Council (and initially Batman) in BvS, the Silver Guardians believe that the Rangers are as much a threat as the aliens they are fighting. And need to be apprehended. Beware the Superman. After all, what could Trump possibly know about a war with aliens? (Other than Mexican crimelords?)
The Rangers' struggle is politicized almost immediately, consistent with the implications in Aftershock.
5. Orange is the New Yellow
No, there won't be an Orange Ranger. (Not yet, anyway.) But June Kwan has taken to drinking. Her controlling, jumpy nature from the first film has driven her to an unhealthy coping mechanism. Tired of her screaming and other abuse, her husband has separated from her. The Kwan family is imploding. Mr. Kwan wants custody of the kids - including Trini. But June is very manipulative and prone to getting her way. She is keeping the kids just to be spiteful, even though her relationship with Trini has never been more rocky. Trini is now actively trying to reconcile with her mother, but is having little luck.
She's also befriended a new social worker in town that's trying to work with her - recent college grad Aisha Campbell. Aisha has trouble getting through to Trini at first, but mentions that it was her Camaro that was destroyed by the T-Rex Zord. Feeling responsible for messing up a portion of Aisha's life, Trini opens up to her as a friend.
Kim tries to have a sleepover with Trini, after Rocky, Billy, and Adam head home. However, June's continued drinking fuels her paranoia. She begins poking around in Trini's backpack, and discovers the Yellow Power Coin. She leaves it in the backpack, but decides to contact the Silver Guardians.
It's a Saturday, and Aisha is headed over to talk with Trini some more while Kimberly is about to head home. June is smiling in a menacing way, and then suddenly makes herself scarce with Trini's brothers.
The Silver Guardians show up guns-ablazing, raiding the Kwan household in search of Trini. Trini rushes to her backpack, and hands Aisha the Power Coin. She urges Trini to make sure the Guardians don't find it. Kim finally reveals herself to Aisha to be the Pink Ranger.
The Guardians get too gung-ho, chasing down Trini's brothers who refuse to sell out their big sister. As shooting commences, Trini and Kimberly morph to save the boys. This only makes the Guardians even hungrier for blood, leading to a misfire shooting June - hoist by her own petard.
Amidst the fight, Aisha leads the boys to safety. A Guardian gives chase, but his reckless gunfire causes the Coin to choose Aisha - whose identity is unknown to the Guardians. She suddenly morphs, and takes the shots that would have otherwise hit her and the Kwan boys, saving their lives. She leaps with the boys to safety, far away from the Guardians. She is terrified of what to do next. She didn't intend to become a Ranger!
With Aisha morphing, however, Trini's morph soon fails. The Power abandons Trini, as there can only be one Yellow Ranger. Trini urges Kim to flee, making sure not to say her name. Kim reluctantly agrees, and Trini surrenders to the Guardians. She is escorted to a federal prison almost immediately, still in disbelief that her own mother would turn her in a-la X2 Bobby Drake's family.
Collins is chewed out by Melanie for being reckless, but Collins suggests that Trini's trial could be used as bait to catch the other Rangers. Melanie warns Collins that his own Silver Guardians could be construed as being just as guilty of being vigilantes as the Rangers themselves, weakening their case against the Rangers in court. Trini does her best to hope and pray for Aisha as the new Yellow Ranger, while also forming plans for how to survive in a federal prison.
6. Scarlet Sentinel nearly spells the end of the Green Ranger for good.
The news of what happened to Trini could hardly come at a worse time. Billy's persistent optimism proves critical to the shaken new team, which also has to decide if their leader now is Rocky, Billy, Aisha (the oldest,) or Tommy. They also have to decide what to do about Trini's impending trial.
Things get even uglier when Nimrod the Scarlet Sentinel appears.
This ugly thing. But with a real budget next time.
Appearing along with TurbanShell, the Rangers barely survive the encounter. Especially since Aisha is brand spanking new to being a Ranger and the others are not used to being a team yet. Kimberly has to let go of Jason, something Tommy is only somewhat enabling her to do. Adam and Rocky need to have faith in their places on the team. Billy has to get to know everyone better. Aisha needs to bond very quickly with the others. Her skills as a social worker help accelerate this.
They are able to defeat TurbanShell, but Nimrod retreats vowing to return. Nimrod also declares herself to be the herald of Lord Zedd - whose goals with the Zeo Crystal helped drive Rita to go insane and want to claim it for herself.
7. Adapt "White Light" and "A Friend in Need"
The Rangers instantly understand that if not for the threat of Zedd, Rita might never have betrayed Zordon in the first place. Zordon confirms this. However, TurbanShell's demise came at the expense of rendering the Green Coin virtually inoperable. In its damaged state, it's threatening Tommy's very life force. And with the Dragonzord destroyed, the key to upgrading all the Zords to be able to handle the threat of Zedd and his forces is to find the lost Tigerzord. Which can only be accessed if the White Coin is recovered. It's location is on Edenoi, guarded by the loyal family. Their own Zeo Crystal is guarded by the Masked Rider Corps.
It is imperative that Billy and the girls stay behind, so Angel Grove isn't defenseless. Also, so they can form a plan for Trini's trial. The key to saving Tommy - and upgrading the Zords - is to win the trust of the Masked Riders. This means that Tommy, Rocky, and Adam must travel with Alpha to Edenoi to win over the trust of whoever is the current Masked Rider.
They arrive, and discover that Lord Zedd is in the process of moving his operations to Earth. He's fleeing from a never-ending rivalry with Count Dregon, who has ravaged much of Edenoi and driven the royal family into hiding.
Dex, the current Masked Rider, doesn't trust the Rangers as first. However, Alpha wins him over. In the nick of time, the Masked Rider and Rangers are able to get Tommy to King Lexian before Tommy is killed by the Green Coin's continued corruption due to overexposure to Rita.
Meanwhile, Nimrod discovers Rita's frozen body on the moon. She and other forces of Zedd's recover Rita and revive her. Lexian gives Tommy the White Coin, and he becomes the White Ranger in time to aid in driving back the latest act of aggression by Dregon. The combined powers of Dex and Tommy in the Tigerzord send both Dregon and Zedd regrouping.
Rita is furious that her Green Coin link is severed by the White Coin destroying it and bonding with Tommy. However, she decides to present herself and her experience to Lord Zedd. As his bride, she can use her sorcery to make him stronger. They can join forces and get revenge on the Rangers. Nimrod, who was suggesting pimping her to Zedd, is surprised to hear she is eager to go along with the plan.
Nimrod returns to Angel Grove, to challenge the Rangers. However, the remaining Rangers return to Earth in time with the Tigerzord. They upgrade the other Zords, and the Thunder Megazord is able to team up with the Tigerzord to utterly crush Nimrod.
The world once again views the Rangers as heroes. Billy starts confiding in Aisha as well.
8. More hints at a Zeo film.
The Machine Empire is also showing interest in Earth, and Zedd vows to conquer it before the Machines get there. Trini's trial doesn't go well, as she's found guilty of a few of the counts Collins and Melanie bring against her in order to cover up their own misdeeds. Aisha, who is unexpected as being a Ranger, heads to the trial in Trini's defense.
Upon Trini losing, she takes a plea deal. She also tells Aisha to be a good Ranger. And to, in time, find a worthy replacement for herself as well. With Dex bringing several Edenoians to Trini's trial, pressure is put on the Silver Guardians and Apex to form a peace treaty with the Rangers by the president, so as to avoid staring a pointless war. (After all, we still have Zedd, Mondo, and ISIS to deal with, right? Why make enemies of Eltar and Edenoi?)
Melanie all the same tries to find a way to get someone into Angel Grove as a spy, to find a more benign way of getting the Rangers to work for her. Anything that can lead to the government inventing its own path to the Morphing Grid is worth the trouble, cutting out Zordon as the middle man. After all, the Rangers of Zordon are only a temporary solution. The government would love to have something...a little more permanent in place. And the Silver Guardians just don't cut it. Neither does Apex.
With the threats of Zedd, Rita, and Mondo on the horizon, Zordon informs the Rangers to be ready. A time may yet come when they need to find a way to use a small shard of the Zeo Crystal to access the Morphing Grid more directly than what the Coins allow for - even though direct Zeo access is super dangerous. Until a newer, better safe route can arrive from Edenoi (like the Turbo powers?), the Zeo powers may have to be a future resort should they one day find the Power Coins don't cut it anymore.
The Rangers vow to be ready for whatever heads their way. As a purple tar starts rising up upon Zedd's command from a construction site, an evil automaton named Ivan Ooze appears. The Rangers - with Tommy as White Ranger in command - head there to fight him.
Cue end credits.
I feel this would be the best possible way to condense everything that happens from "Green With Evil" on through to just before "Ninja Quest," while still leaving room for Zeo. It also leaves the door wide open for part 3 to involve the Aquitian Rangers and the rise of the Zeo powers, an opening for Turbo in part 4 (assuming they want to take the risk), and of course, a name drop of Dark Specter to open the door to adapt In Space. (Sans Ninja Turtles, PLEASE!)
Would you do the next five films differently? Do you feel this above plot would work well for a sequel? Let me know. This is simply how I feel they can make the most of this year's film and the Aftershock graphic novel. After all, having the Green Ranger, Masked Rider, and White Ranger in a single film together would lead to a LOT of really cool toy merchandising that wasn't possible this time around. Including the Dragonzord and the Tigerzord. And Thunder Megazord redux. (Which they can make look a LOT cooler than that generic Megazord in the first film!)