Elizabeth Banks will play Rita Repulsa in the 'Power Rangers' movie

Lionsgate's "Power Rangers" movie has its villain. Elizabeth Banks has been cast as Rita Repulsa, the evil witch bent on destroying Earth.

Fans of the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" TV series will remember that it was Rita's return that served as the catalyst for Zordon to assemble a group of "teenagers with attitude" to become the color-coded superhero team.

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After the news was announced on the "Power Rangers" social media accounts, Banks tweeted her own confirmation including Rita's famous lines from the show. 

Based on the Japanese "super sentai" TV series "Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger," the original "Power Rangers" show repurposed the original Japanese footage for the villain scenes. Therefore initially, Rita was portrayed by Japanese actress Machiko Soga. Carla Perez then took over the role for new American footage of the character until the end of the series (Barbara Goodson provided Rita's voice for both incarnations).

Rita made her big-screen debut in the 1995 film "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie" (with Julia Cortez stepping into Rita's shoes with Goodson providing her voice).

Banks joins a cast that includes Becky G. (the Yellow Ranger), RJ Cyler (the Blue Ranger), Naomi Scott (the Pink Ranger), Dacre Montgomery (the Red Ranger) and Ludi Lin (the Black Ranger). Dean Israelite is attached to direct.

"Power Rangers" is set to hit theaters March 24, 2017.

Twitter: @tracycbrown

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