Scorpion Rain (also rarely but occasionally known as “Scorpion Raid” or “Scorpion Reign”) is a clever hoax that fooled hundreds of Power Rangers fans in the late 1990s.
For over three years, the online fandom was largely fooled into believing that this series of shorts existed, despite there never being any hard evidence to support that belief. And, over those three plus years, it became more than simply an inside joke - it became a part of the series’ mythos, perhaps even as important as any episode.
It is unclear how much planning there was before the first mention of the Scorpion Rain saga in Usenet newsgroup alt.fan.power-rangers, though it is believed that the founding members of the self-named “Scorpion Rain Coalition” (“SRC”) discussed the issue for some time in the Power Rangers IRC channel #alt-mmpr. On March 14, 1998, Derik Smith first unleashed it on the public (off-site link):
From: ReGenesis0 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: WTB: Australian PRZ short
Hi, I saw a piece on American Journal awhile ago following up on Axelrod, the guy who played Zedd’s voice, and the showed clips of an 8 minute short film that aired in 2 minute segments after Power Rangers Zeo a few months ago to promote the upcoming T:APRM release. It’s supposed to have Zedd versus the red and pink zeo rangers (no unmorphed shots, and the voices all wrong, maybe Axelrod in jail?) and the destruction of Serpentera.
I’d prefer NTSB format but I’m willing to pay 20-30 american for a copy in either format.
Scorpion Rain was the brainchild of Smith, Satu Sharp (aka Jovette), and Amit Bhaumik, the latter best know as the future Story Editor of Power Rangers Wild Force. Over the years, more fans were brought “into the fold”, including Joe Rovang, Jarod “Static-Pulse” Burton, and Chris “Cmdr Crayfish” Funaro.
Details on the “Serial”
Though the exact details changed over the years (due to a prolonged period of time where the the Deja News archives were unavailable to reference what was previously said), here’s what is known:
- Scorpion Rain was a multi-part serial that was to bridge the gap between the end of Power Rangers Zeo and the beginning of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.
- It aired in Australia (and only Australia) and featured the heavy use of stock footage, combined with badly done voiceovers and the use of toy zords on strings.
- It has been said to have consisted of either 4 or 5 segments, each being one- or two-minutes in length.
- It contained a battle pitting Zeo Rangers I and V against Lord Zedd and Goldar, the destruction of the Zeozord fleet and the (believed) destruction of Serpentera.
- The only known dialogue was the (in)famous line of
Aw man, that’s one ugly Zord!delivered by Tommy upon once again seeing Serpentera.
Here’s the only real specific summaries (off-site link), in reply to the previous post, also courtesy of Smith (using a later known alias):
From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Re: WTB: Australian PRZ short
Ok, I dug through my tapes, and I only have 2 of the 5 segments, so I’ll try to fill in the rest.
Part 1 of 5
It begins with a shot of the command center from the outside, and you can hear Alpha 5 talking. He counts down from ten and there’s this rocket flash taking off from the tube of the command center (badly fx’d into a PRZ shot) then they zoom in on the rocket taking off and you can see it’s Super Zeo Zord Five (the star shaped one, I think they used the toy on a string for this, remember, the fx re REALLY bad) They switch to the inside (!) of the SZZ5 cockpit and they have ‘Tommy’ and ‘Kat’ talking to Alpha 5 on the viewscreen. I day ‘Tommy’ because they both have Australian accents. Another surprise- the Alpha 5 costume used is the one from the first movie! (you only see it for about 5 seconds) ‘Tommy’ and ‘Kat’ do the exposition, Zedd has been settin up Serpentera in the asteroid belt and it preparing to attack Earth, so ‘Tommy’ and ‘Kat’ decided to head the bole off at the pass (there is no mention of Rita) the last shot of this segment has them streaking towards the asteroids.
Part 4 of 5
I don’t really remember what heppened between these two, but segemtn four begins with Tommy and Kat inside Serpentera (it’s just a set of catwalks and hallways) being chased by Zedd and Goldar (NOT the movie costumes) They lure them into an room where they’ll have room to fight and ‘Tommy’ summons the ‘Zeo 5 Mega Sword’ (not the sword with the star design on it, it was like a japanese dueling blade, they never showed it close) and he goes sword-to-staff with 'Zedd' (LMAO at his accent) with lots of spark effects. meanwhile, Kat is dodging Goldar and Goldar accidentily hits a box on the wall and Zed calls but 'You fool, you’ve hit the main power box!'
The last shot is of Serpentera sinking intot he eatth’s atmosphere and it begins to glow on the bottom.
I was sick the week this aired, and I don’t really remember a whole leot, but I do recall that the last bit ends with Kat and Tommy flying away in their zord as Serpentera (they used the toy) explodes over the ocean.
Chris Funaro adds the following:
- Serpentera really didn’t do a lot in Scorp.
- Took out a base, fought two fleets of Zords... That’s kind of low scale.
- Tommy and Kat docked Super Zeozord V with Serpenterra in part three, planted a bomb onboard which crippled most of the vital systems (after a skirmish with Goldar), and flew back to Earth.
- I sure hope Rocky saved us some pizza.
- * group laugh, executive producers *
- It took Derik A YEAR to get the MMPR/PRZ font to do the EP credits.
The existence of Scorpion Rain was rarely ever questioned. In the end, whether it was true or not, it did provide an explanation for the sudden abandonment of both the Zeo Powers and Lord Zedd’s attempts to conquer Earth, an explanation that most fans strongly desired. The fandom wanted badly to believe, and this is part of the reason the hoax was able to live for so long.
On June 12, 2001, Gordon Dickinson, a Power Rangers fan from Australia, posted a complete (though not entirely accurate) debunking of Scorpion Rain (off-site link) to alt.fan.power-rangers, going somewhat overboard and accusing the SRC of being elitist and attempting to cause a rift between American and Australian fans.
Shortly afterward, the SRC admitted the hoax, saying it was merely a joke that blossomed and then flourished. As for the other accusations, the SRC, and much of the newsgroup, collectively laughed.
Sure, it was a hoax that fooled many people, and in the end broke a lot of people’s trust. But, it wasn’t meant as a malicious attack. It was the greatest practical joke the Power Rangers fandom had ever seen.
The Video File
Long before the essay by Dickinson, Smith had nearly finished editing together Part 5 of the serial and was in the process of adding voiceovers done by himself and the members of the SRC, intending to release the video file to the fandom later in 2001 to further the hoax. However, the joke ended, and the group decided to keep the RM file under wraps for many years.
Bhaumik was to be the voice of Tommy, delivering that (in)famous line, allegedly better than Jason David Frank managed to later on in Forever Red. Kat was played by Sharp, whom reportedly played a pretty dead-on Katherine. Jason “MegaBlue” Takach provided the Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie logo that appears at the end.
But, just when everyone had thought that Scorpion Rain was over and buried, Bhaumik decided to do something unexpected - bring it into the actual series’ mythos...
As far as I was concerned [in writing Forever Red], Scorpion Rain was in continuity.
- Amit Bhaumik (via Funaro)
Any fan who was aware of Scorpion Rain and saw the Power Rangers Wild Force episode “Forever Red” knew this. In that episode, Tommy makes reference to a battle in which Zedd was defeated that was never shown in any episode. Tommy also says that (in)famous line,
Aw man, that’s one ugly Zord!, originally delivered by Bhaumik in Scorpion Rain. This was a noticeable wink to any longtime member of the online fandom.
Scorpion Rain, which started out as merely a practical joke, then blossomed into a heated debate, was now a part part of series canon.
Since 2001, the infamous video file has shown up in various places across the web. And, since the file is not exactly locked in a vault anymore, it is presented here.