Scorpion Rain (also rarely known as “Scorpion Raid”) is not only a clever hoax that fooled hundreds of fans over the years, but also a study on humanity.
For over three years, the Power Rangers fandom was fooled into thinking that this entity did in fact exist, even though there was never any concrete evidence provided. And, over those three years, it became more than simply an inside joke - it became a part of the series, perhaps as important as any episode.
It is unclear how much planning there was before the first mention of this saga in newsgroup alt.fan.power-rangers, though it is believed that the founding members of the “Scorpion Rain Coalition” (“SRC”) discussed the issue for some time in the Power Rangers IRC channel #alt-mmpr. But on March 14, 1998, it was truly born:
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.
With that post, it all began.
Apparently, Scorpion Rain was the brainchild of Derik Smith and Amit Bhaumik (best know as the Story Editor for Power Rangers Wild Force), with assistance from Satu Sharp (aka Jovette). 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 the long period of time without the Deja News archives to go back and check what was already 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.
- Aired in Australia and Australia only and featured the use of mostly stock footage, badly done voice overs, and toy zords on strings.
- It has been said to have consisted of 4 or 5 parts, each being one or two minutes in length.
- It contained both a battle pitting Zeo Rangers I and V against Lord Zedd and Goldar, the destruction of the Zeozord fleet (but not the Super Zeozords or Red Battlezord), and the (believed) destruction of Serpentera.
- The only known dialogue was the infamous line of
Aww man... that is one ugly zorddelivered by Tommy upon once again seeing Serpentera.
Here’s the only real specific summaries, courtesy of Mr. Smith [not Ms. Sharp as previously believed]:
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 the explanation for the sudden abandonment of both the Zeo Powers and Lord Zedd’s attempts to conquer Earth, an explanation that most fans badly desired. The fandom WANTED to believe, whether it was true or not.
On June 12, 2001, an Australian fan by the name of Gordon Dickinson posted a complete debunking of Scorpion Rain (though it was not devoid of errors) to alt.fan.power-rangers, going overboard and accusing the SRC of being elitist and causing 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, along with most of the fandom, 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 a malicious attack. It was the greatest practical joke the Power Rangers fandom has seen. Many fans understand this now.
The Movie File
Long before the essay by Dickinson, Derik had nearly finished putting 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 movie 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.
Amit Bhaumik was to be the voice of Tommy, delivering an (in)famous line, apparently better than Jason David Frank managed to later on in Forever Red. Kat was played by Satu Sharp, whom many believed 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 would not show itself again, Amit Bhaumik decided to shock us all, and bring it into the actual series’ story...
As far as I was concerned [in writing Forever Red], Scorpion Rain was in continuity.
- Amit Bhaumik
And, 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,
Aww man... that is one ugly zord, originally delivered by Amit in Scorpion Rain. This was a noticable wink to any longtime member of the web fandom.
Scorpion Rain, which started out as merely a practical joke, blossomed into a heated debate, and then became part of canon.
At first, part of the history of the fandom. In the end, part of the history of the show.
Since 2001, the infamous movie file has shown up in various places across the web. And, since the file is not exactly locked in a vault anymore...