Power Rangers: Lionsgate Reboot Features LGBT Protagonist

Power Rangers is breaking down a barrier: Lionsgate’s reboot of the children’s TV show is the first big-budget superhero movie to feature LGBT protagonist.

In film’s second act, there’s a scene in which the titular heroes learn that the Yellow Ranger Trini (Becky G) is coming to terms with her sexual orientation.

One character assumes she’s having “boyfriend problems,” and soon realizing that perhaps she’s actually having “girlfriend problems.”

Director Dean Israelite describes this moment as “pivotal” for the entire film. “Trini is questioning a lot about who she is,” Israelite told The Hollywood Reporter. “She hasn’t fully figured it out yet. I think what’s great about that scene and what that scene propels for the rest of the movie.  The movie is saying, ‘That’s OK,’ and all of the kids have to own who they are and find their tribe.”

LGBT representation in superhero films has trailed comic books, where heroes and villains such as DC’s Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batwoman, and Harley Quinn, as well as Marvel’s Ice Man, are high-profile LGBT characters.

But so far, when these characters are translated to the big screen, they are  portrayed as straight.  X-Men’s Northstar, the first openly gay character from either DC or Marvel, was introduced in the comics in 1992.

TV has been more progressive.  CW’s Supergirl features prominent lesbian storyline this season. Supergirl, which is from openly gay producer Greg Berlanti.

Berlanti CW shows Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow also feature LGBT characters.

Original Blue Ranger actor David Yost, who is openly gay and left the 1990s Power Rangers series after harassment over his sexual orientation, praised the new film for its inclusiveness.

“They really stepped up to the plate,” says Yost. “I think so many people in the LGBTQI community are going to be excited to see that representation.”

In the original Power Rangers series, the Yellow Ranger was played by the late actress Thuy Trang, credited as a straight character for 81 episodes from 1993-94 on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Power Rangers is released a week after Disney’s Beauty and the Beast live-action remake, in which Josh Gad plays Disney’s first-ever gay character, LeFou.

In the sci-fi movie Star Trek Beyond revealed, Sulu (played by John Cho in the rebooted Star Trek movie), was gay. The original version of the character, played by George Takei, was straight.