Adi Shankar talks Power Rangers film, its future, and whether he’s working on Venom film
Adi Shankar is known as the creator of the ‘Bootleg Universe’, a universe of awesome shorts that brings re-imagined ideas to popular pieces of pop culture like The Punisher, Power Rangers, and Venom. He is currently the showrunner for the newly announced Netflix series, Castlevania, based on Konami’s hit video game. I was able to speak to him about his thoughts on the new Power Ranger’s film and his passion for the genre. His YouTube short has had nearly 21 million views and provides a darker and grittier look at a future version of the power rangers.
What were your overall thoughts of the Power Rangers reboot film.
I thought it was great; I totally dug it. It was definitely a reaction to, or at least partially a reaction, to my bootleg universe short. And that’s awesome. That’s kind of why the bootleg universe exists, to push things in a direction and it was amazing. It was dope, man. I will say this, though, for the sequel, because it deserves a sequel, the green ranger should definitely be female with the same attitude as the green ranger in the original show. But a bad ass warrior.
Who would you cast for that?
They should definitely cast Lorde as the green ranger. She’s got great acting chops.
How much influence do you think your short had on this film? The opening scene in the film had some similar features to your short. Do you think they took from that?
I wouldn’t say they took from it. This thing existed so they had to react to it at some level. I wouldn’t say influence though; I would say more inspired. The people’s reactions to the short created an ecosystem of ideas, and the franchise had to react to those ideas.
Were you a fan of the Easter eggs?
Of course, I am glad they added that. I would also add that it worked really well with the tone and the universe of the film.
What do you think about potentially 6 installments? Do you think that’s too many?
I think they have materials for more than 6 to tell you the truth. The Power Rangers actually created the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the Marvel Cinematic Universe existed. All the Power Rangers TV shows are interconnected; every season takes place in the same universe. Like the green ranger comes back in Dino Charge as the Black Ranger and forms a new group of Power Rangers, that kind of thing. So they have an interconnected cinematic universe of which they have dozens and dozens of stories to draw from.
Well, since you brought up the MCU, there’s a rumor going around that you are on the short list for the Venom film? Can you expand on that?
[Laughing] If I stay radio silent, will you hate me?
No not at all, I just thought it was interesting with what you’ve done like Punisher ‘Dirty Laundry’, Dredd, and the Power Rangers. You definitely have a way to bring stuff that exists or you want to exist in an interesting way. Any ideas on that?
I will say, my directorial show Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secret is dope. I co-directed some of it, showran it, and co-wrote some of it. Good times. Dude, I’ve been trying to make R-rated superhero movies since 2011, and now it’s become a thing. It’s literally crazy, even Logan! It’s like I woke up in a parallel universe where what’s up is down and what’s left is right and R-rated superheroes are a thing. No longer will it be just a YouTube short.
Could you see an R-Rated Power Rangers?
You’re talking to a guy who sees R-rated everything. For me, an R-rating just brings authenticity to a flick. There’s so much depth to Iron Man and so much social commentary that isn’t there because it’s a PG-13 movie. So you end up glossing over a lot of the good stuff. The issue with adult themes is not violence, or heads exploding, it’s more like there are consequences, good and bad, for your actions. With an R-rating, you would actually be able to delve into the bad things that happen as a result of good things.
So what did you think of the Power Rangers twist with Zordon and Rita?
Do you remember the original Power Rangers movie with Ivan Ooze? That didn’t take place in the same universe as the show. It took place in a different timeline and outside of the continuity of the film. I thought that twist worked really well that added depth to Rita and Zordon that you only saw when the Machine empire came to the Power Rangers show when all of a sudden they were rooting for the Power Rangers.
What would you do for the sequel?
For the sequel, the green ranger must be a girl, and I would focus more on the pink ranger. She was phenomenal. She is going to be a massive movie star. It’s an ensemble piece but I think with multiple films you’re able to build and develop characters.
What would you like to see on the big screen from the entire Power Rangers universe?
Falconzord. That moment in the original film where Tommy flew the Falconzord on the train tracks; that was one of my favorite movies in a movie theater. It’s an iconic moment. I don’t give a fuck what anyone says.
I know you’ve been busy with Castlevania, but are there any other shorts you’re working on?
There are 2 bootlegs coming out this year, but I can’t say what. They are more ambitious than any of the others.
Adi Shankar continues to influence studios into bringing material back to life, and with a fresh spin as he had done with all of his shorts. Will he end up producing or directing Venom? Stay tuned for more info on that and on his upcoming series Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secrets.