The Power Rangers franchise has thrived with the success of BOOM! Studios’ various comic book series, but one comic book story proved so popular that it almost spawned a live-action spin-off featuring Jason David Frank (the franchise’s Tommy Oliver) taking on the dark Drakkon persona introduced in those comic books.
“The only big regret I have [with my Power Rangers work], and it was totally out of my control, was that we came close to putting together a live action prestige series that I also would have directed, which would have been set in the Coinless timeline,” long-time Mighty Morphin Power Rangers writer Kyle Higgins told Newsarama’s Lan Pitts.
Higgins is referring to “World of the Coinless,” an alternate universe Higgins introduced in the Power Rangers comic books. In this timeline, Tommy Oliver never turned from a villain to a hero (as he did in the TV show timeline) and instead worked alongside Rita Repulsa under the new monikor of Lord Drakkon (think Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader). Together, Repulsa and Drakkon conquered Earth and killed many of the Power Rangers – leading to the surviving heroes to form a resistance movement called the Coinless.
The live-action TV series project was put in development after the promo film Higgins directed with actor Jason David Frank for the 2018 “Shattered Grid” crossover event.
While primarily known as a comic book writer, Higgins had directed/written/produced several short films before the “Shattered Grid” promo video. He also wrote and acted as the voice director for the Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid video game.
“[The live-action show project] all came about as a result of the promo film I did with Jason David Frank on ‘Shattered Grid,’ which demonstrated to Saban that we could make something longer and meatier, with high production value, if they were game,” Higgins said. “Which, considering their investment and excitement about Drakkon, Shattered Grid and the Coinless, they definitely were.
“My thinking was that – not to say we would have been able to get every actor we wanted back – but every actor was the right age for where their characters would be in the Coinless timeline, and we had a business model that could have been really attractive to the people we were thinking about,” Higgins told Newsarama.
Higgins had already worked with Jason David Frank in the “Shattered Grid” short film – and according to Higgins, was excited for more.
“Jason was really excited about it and was on board to play Drakkon, so I worked up a series pitch and outline with a few other writers I trust and wanted to build this with,” Higgins explained. “To this day, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve worked on.”
The project was moving along smoothly according to Higgins, until Saban sold the Power Rangers franchise to Hasbro in May 2018.
“Unfortunately though, with Hasbro buying the brand, the project was shut down,” Higgins said. “Before that though, we definitely had some pretty serious conversations about financing models and distribution partners. But yeah. Ultimately, it wasn’t meant to be.”
Look for Higgins’ full interview about Power Rangers later this week on Newsarama.