TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– It’s morphin time, bringing together a social justice movement and a fan favorite tv show, as a Topeka actor gets ready to film, produce and star in a socially conscious fan film through the eyes of a Power Ranger.
What do the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Power Rangers have in common? Really, no a lot until now.
Dané Shobe is a Topeka native who is bringing the two together in his upcoming fan film ‘Black’. It’s based on the 1993 pop culture tv show The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, specifically through the eyes of one of the superheroes.
“It is a socially conscious Power Rangers fan film that centers around Zach [Taylor],” Shobe said. “The original Black Ranger, who is played by Walter Jones.”
Shobe originally pitched his idea of the fan film to Walter Jones after he saw an Instagram story Jones posted about his son being racially profiled. He messaged the plot of ‘Black’ to him after that, and Jones liked it, encouraging him to get it written and produced.
Not too long ago, Shobe designed artwork he posted on Instagram that had Jones’ original character in it, as well as other Power Rangers. Even Jones liked it, reminding him to start writing and putting together ‘Black’.
“Put it on Instagram, and it kind of blew up,” Shobe said. “It got lots and lots and lots of likes, including him. So he actually reached back out to me. And he said, ‘hey man, I love that artwork you did. Just wondering did you ever write that script? It was a good idea I think and very timely.’ I’m like, yo, the Black Ranger is in my inbox! I wrote the script. He enjoyed it and we negotiated. Now he’s executive producing and he’s starring as present-day Zack.”
Without giving away too much from the plot, Zach encounters racial discrimination towards his cousin. The character ends up in “the wrong neighborhood” and the police are called on him. Zach has to rescue his cousin without revealing his true identity outside of the super suit.
“Which leads Zach to believe that maybe it’s not enough to be a hero behind a mask,” Shobe said. “Maybe it’s important that people see he is Black and he’s a hero. And that’s where the title comes from.”
So, why bring the film to light now? To him, it was time to see a hero on the screen, and in real life, when people need it the most. Getting the message out to those who turn to different outlets, like comic books and TV to get a better understanding of the things happening around them.
“I think Black people are really hungry right now,” he said. “We’re ready to have heroes, ready to have our Spider-Man, our Black Panthers, you know? We’re happy to have great people that look strong and feel strong and make us feel and look strong. It’s something they already identify with or something they already support and believe in. That’s how you kind of sneak in a message. Kind of like a Trojan horse.”
Shobe will star in the film playing the 90’s version of Zach. He’s also hired other Topeka actors to be a part of the film. He is hoping to begin filming in April.
Because this is a fan film, Shobe cannot make any money off of the movie. All of the production costs, costumes, etc. will come from his own pocket. Shobe is accepting donations if you would like to help. Here’s how to donate:
- PayPal- @DaneShobe@gmail.com
- Venmo- @Dane-Shobe
- Cash app- $DaneE5R