updated 08/15/2014 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 08/16/2014 AT 5:30 PM ET
Children and grown-ups alike flocked to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in its first weekend of release, and now Hollywood is betting the the ’90s nostalgia wave will last least two more years – on Wenesday, Lionsgate announced that its Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot will hit theaters on July 22, 2016.
The studio has signed the the writers of Thor, to produce a script off a story by Star Trek’s Robert Orci. There are no plot details yet, but knowing that Lionsgate was the studio behind Ender’s Game, The Hunger Games and I, Frankenstein, it’s likely the Power Rangers movie will skew in the same dour, effects-driven direction.
So let’s cast the thing, then, with the quality of actors who might be able to bring a gritty realness to this tale of five teenagers with attitude picked to defeat the evil Rita Repulsa. We’re gong to abide by the same racial casting standards used in the first iteration of the Power Rangers squad. If it makes you uncomfortable, that’s OK – that awkwardness is practically an integral part of Power Rangers at this point.
Tom Hardy as Tommy Oliver, the Green/White Ranger
Liam Hemsworth as Jason Lee Scott, the Red Ranger
The Red Ranger is the Liam Payne of the Power Rangers squad, originally pegged as the leader, only to cede his power and influence to a more alluring frontman. What makes this different from a Brian Jones situation is that the Red Ranger is content to stick around in his diminished role. Liam Hemsworth of The Hunger Games is our man for the role, with the brawn of a leader and the kind eyes of a sidekick.
Ashley Benson as Kimberly Hart, the Pink Power Ranger
It’s not easy to step into Amy Jo Johnson’s boots, but we think Pretty Little Liars’s Ashley Benson is certainly capable; we know she loves gymnastics and Spring Breakers already gave her plenty of experience acting in a pink mask.
Donald Glover as Zack Taylor, the Black Ranger
Glover lobbied for the part of Spider Man – would he be open to appearing in another nostalgia-based action franchise? Probably not, but this is our fan casting, and we’ll choose who we want to!
Brenda Song as Trini Kwan, the Yellow Ranger
Brenda Song deserved much better material than what her roles in The Social Network and Dads gave her. The Yellow Ranger was the most underwritten of all the original Power Rangers – her defining character trait was “niceness” – and Song’s the perfect choice to add a little bit of edge to the saber-toothed-tiger driver.
Jamie Bell as Billy Cranston, the Blue Ranger
Jamie Bell came to fame playing another famous Billy, and his dancing skills wold add an interesting aspect to any fight scenes. As anyone who’s seen Snowpiercer or The Eagle knows, Bell excels at playing the witty sidekick to taller, musclebound heroes.
Cameron Diaz as Rita Repulsa
At this stage in her career, Cameron Diaz is having a lot of fun playing nasty characters in everything from Bad Teacher to The Counselor to Annie. We can see her taking the role of demented space witch Rita Repulsa just for the heck of it.
Patrick Stewart as Zordon
Zordon was wise, distinguished and apparently bald. This one’s not rocket science, folks.