The imminent arrival of the new Power Rangers film this March has us looking back through the series’ 20-year history. And some of what we’re discovering has us a little surprised.
With over 800 episodes and two movies already in the franchise, we’ve seen a lot of actors come and go. And while some are only known for their work in the martial arts/superhero/kaiju series, others have some impressive non-Rangers work on their resumés. It isn’t always obvious for those who did the voice work for the Power Rangers’ menagerie of grotesque foes, but they’re in there. In fact, the show’s alumni have appeared in some of our all-time favorite movies and TV shows, along with some others that we liked well enough but were mostly just baffling. We run the whole spectrum here.
Here are 15 Actors You Forgot Showed Up On Power Rangers over the past two decades.
15. Eka Darville
You probably recognize Eka Darville from his role as Jessica Jones’ drug-addicted neighbor Malcolm or his appearances on the King Lear-esque drama series Empire. But a few years before that, he was running around with Rose McIver on Power Rangers RPM as the Red Ranger. He drives that eagle racecar that forms the megabot’s head, shoulders, and arms.
Darville’s character, Scott Truman, is the son of a colonel. The future Ranger spent his pre-powered life in the military, flying air missions in the losing battle against Venjix. His brother, who was their dad’s favorite, dies when his jet crashes, and Scott would have been right behind him if Summer hadn’t had her complete change in personality and decided to live for others. So that worked out well.
Truman follows the tradition of the Red Ranger being the boss of everyone, but that’s still not enough to get his father to give him any credit. Eventually, the hero eventually learns that true acceptance comes from within, and when the Colonel’s finally tries to give him a medal, he refuses it. Take that, dad-hole.
14. Joel Tobeck
If you’ve been keeping up with Ash vs. Evil Dead, Starz’ excellent continuation of writer/director Sam Raimi’s classic horror franchise, you’ve met Baal, a horrifying demon with a habit of wearing people’s skin. Joel Tobeck plays the villain; he’s a New Zealand actor who has also appeared in Ghost Rider, 30 Days of Night, and in Return of the King as that Orc who’s in such a hurry to escape the ghost army that he falls down.
But Tobeck has also lent his voice to six characters in four different Power Rangers properties since 2003. He started on Ninja Storm, playing two monsters: Footzilla and Slob Goblin. The latter was a giant, evil mailbox that can lick people and turn them into stamps. Neither of those beasts lasted more than one episode (other than later appearances in dimensional prisons), but the following year, Tobeck picked up some more work in the DinoThunder series, playing Jupitor.
That monster is part of a plan to blow up his almost-but-not-quite-namesake planet, which would apparently mess Earth up so much that main villain Mesogog can move forward with his plan to turn humanity into dinosaurs and send the world back to prehistoric times. Makes sense.
Tobeck took an eight-year break from battling Rangers after that before he returned as Duplicator in Super Samurai. That villain can, predictably, form copies of himself, and he’s oddly obsessed with telling the Power Rangers how cool he is. To be fair, however, he is pretty cool.
The actor makes another double appearance as Yuffo and Gorgax in 2013’s Power Rangers Megaforce. The former is an insectoid, alien scientist whose job is to discover human weaknesses, and the latter is a fish-monster thing whose boss snuck a bomb onto him in order to kill the Rangers. Neither of them lasts very long, but such is the short, sad life of a Power Rangers monster.
13. Anthony Ray Parker
Parker is probably best known for his role as Dozer in The Matrix, a character whose strength and intelligence are no match for the raw, destructive power of Joe Pantoliano.
But over a decade later, he lent his voice to Scaraba on the Power Rangers Megaforce. That series combines all the martial arts, robots, and scary, dumb monsters that are mainstays of the franchise with card-game elements, thus providing more merchandising avenues masquerading as amazing superpowers.
Scaraba is the first monster the Megaforce Rangers battle, so he’s also the first to feel the incredible power of their Megaforce Blaster. That weapon combines the individual team members’ personal weapons — the Dragon Sword, Phoenix Shot, Tiger Claw, Snake Axe, and Shark Blowgun — into one huge, collectible crossbow thing. But before he flies into the air and explodes, Scaraba inflicts some damage with his abilities to fling energy orbs and create flingable boulders from debris that he grinds up in his stomach and then expels.
12. Brandon McLaren
2005’s Power Rangers S.P.D. is a slight departure from the series that preceded it; it recasts the Rangers as superpowered police officers protecting and serving Earth after it opens its space borders to any alien who wants to live there. Obviously, the kids have to have someone to fight or the series would be really boring, so not all of the new arrivals come in peace. When the “A-Squad” Rangers go missing, it falls to the back-up B-Squad to take over the small task of protecting the entire planet.
Their leader, Jack Landors, is a former thief who uses his ability to pass through solid objects to give to the poor. This apparently qualifies him to lead a team of galactic superheroes, but then again, we can’t phase-shift like The Flash, so he’s probably more qualified than we are. His position does cause some drama with his fellow Rangers, however, so we aren’t the only ones whose shoulders met ears on that one.
Brandon McLaren plays Jack; you might remember him from his work as kindly school teacher/murder suspect Bennet Ahmed on AMC’s The Killing or his role on USA’s short-lived FBI series Graceland. He was also one of the idiot kids from the horror/comedy film Tucker and Dale vs. Evil; he’s the one who accidentally kills one of his friends with a rotary trimmer and then burns to death when another tries to put out a fire with moonshine.
11. Koji Kataoka
Like most of the actors on this list, even if Koji Kataoka’s name doesn’t sound familiar, as soon as you see him, you think, “Oh, right; that guy.”
He’s appeared in episodes of Monk, CSI (as a monk, coincidentally), and Curb Your Enthusiasm, but he’s also that quiet, intimidating guy in all of the Yakuza scenes in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. The guy is basically sprinkled across movies and TV like salt.
In the third-season Power Rangers episode “Passing the Lantern,” Kataoka appears as Ko, a dispenser of vague, sage-like advice. Adam, the Black Ranger, receives a paper lantern as a gift, so fans know that it’s only a matter of time before some villain or other turns it into a monster that everyone has to fight. But before that happens, Ko gives a lesson on the nature of fear, which apparently empowers the hero to deal with the threat. But it’s a huge, paper lantern, so we assume that the good guys could resolve that problem with a book of matches.
Kataoka returns later in Lightspeed Rescue as Mr. Tamashiro, the karate master who trained Chad, the Blue Ranger before he went off to drive a huge tanker truck that transforms into a huge robot’s groin. Tamashiro is somehow disappointed that Chad abandoned his training to be a superhero, and he expresses his disappointment by taking on another apprentice, a full-on monster. It goes about as well as you’d expect, and eventually, Tamashiro admits that he’s wrong and accepts that being a Power Ranger is probably a pretty sweet gig.
10. Alonzo Bodden
Actor, writer, and Last Comic Standing winner Alonzo Bodden has the distinction of having both voiced a Power Rangers monster and made an appearance in person. He first shows up in “Attack of the 60′ Bulk” as a lifeguard at the Splash City waterpark who has the misfortune to be there when series villains Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd transform bully Bulk into the even more monstrous Bratboy. It’s like a whole thing.
Bodden also appears in 2000’s Lightspeed Rescue as Thunderon, one of that series’ most powerful monsters. He has the standard eye-beams and super strength so common to these creatures, but along with his cohorts Demonite and Falkor, he has the amazing(ly strange) ability to craft feathers that explode in the dark. These look like regular bird plumage, but they come from the metal-looking ones on the monsters’ backs, and that’s even more of a leap than the one we have to take to believe that cosmic beings of amazing power would entrust space-animal-karate powers to a bunch of children.
Thunderon has very little trouble taking on the Power Rangers, even managing to juggle two of them at one point, but even he must one day go the way of all of the franchise’s monsters: getting hit with a giant laser and then exploding.
9. Rose McIver
Rose McIver currently stars on The CW’s iZombie as Olivia Moore, an undead coroner’s assistant who solves murders with her remarkable power to absorb memories, knowledge, and abilities from the brains she eats.
That isn’t even the weirdest premise she’s ever worked with because in 2009, she played Summer Landsdown on Power Rangers RPM, and she’s a once-spoiled rich girl who learns the power of compassion and then leverages it into a job as a superhero who drives a bear-shaped ATV that combines in different configurations with other animal-themed vehicles — which include an eagle racecar, a lion bus, a shark motorcycle, a police car that looks like a wolf, and a trailer shaped like a crocodile, if you were wondering — to create giant robots that fight deadly murderbots. And typically, the bear forms the robot’s tummy.
RPM takes place in a different dimension from the other series; on this world, an evil computer network called Venjix takes over almost the entire planet. People have retreated to places like Corinth, a city with a dome to protect against the pollution and Terminators outside, and the Power Rangers and their animobiles are humanity’s last hope against Venjix’s hordes.
8. Adelaide Kane
McIver isn’t the only CW actress who surprisingly appeared on Power Rangers RPM. One of the villain’s minions, Tenaya, also has a familiar face. That one belongs to Adelaide Kane, whom you might remember from her work in The Purge and MTV’s Teen Wolf and her current starring role as Mary, Queen of Scots on the historical TV drama Reign. But on RPM, she serves as one of Venjix’s infiltration agents who thinks she’s an android but is actually a human who has gone through cybernetic brainwashing. You know, that old cliché.
Tenaya’s first task is to infiltrate the Power Rangers by showing up to their auditions (this dimension doesn’t have a Zordon to just pick the team out of a hat) and trying to earn a spot as the Green Ranger, who drives a motorcycle shaped like a shark. She almost succeeds, but the Corinth City Guard discovers her cybernetic components, which outs her as a villain. So no sharkcycle for you, Cyborg Girl.
The minion’s loyalties shift a few times during the series thanks to people constantly de- and reprogramming her. But eventually, like the noble T-800 from Terminator 2, she gains humanity through the redemptive power of love. Unlike her predecessor, however, she manages to do this without melting herself in liquid steel. Points to Tenaya.
7. Jason Gray-Stanford
We’re not sure which is more confusing to us: that Power Rangers in Space includes a crossover episode with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or that the actor who plays TMNT gadget-maker Donatello was the comic-relief cop on USA’s detective series Monk.
But both of those things are true, and culture is probably all the richer for them. In the episode “Shell Shocked,” series villain Astronema recruits and brainwashes the Ninja Turtles so that they will take out the Space Rangers. We assume this is because the original plan of “sending a bunch of goofy monsters made of random junk after them” had failed for years at that point, so maybe outsourcing just made the most sense.
The Turtles manage to break from their conditioning thanks to a random electrical storm in space, because those happen all the time. But the important thing is that they snap out of it just in time to return to Earth and join the Rangers for a team-up so baffling that our brain immediately scrubbed it from our memories in self-defense.
6. Paul Freeman
The actor who plays Ivan Ooze, the antagonist of the first Power Rangers film (the aptly named Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie) has a face that is no doubt familiar to fans of archaeologist adventurer Indiana Jones’ first appearance. But you probably didn’t recognize him under all that weird, purple latex and make-up.
The guy under the ooze is Paul Freeman, who is best known as Jones’ rival, Dr. René Belloq. He’s the guy whose head explodes at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark instead of just melting, so we suppose he has that going for him, too. Freeman also appears as Reverend Shooter in director Edgar Wright’s action-comedy Hot Fuzz, and he fares considerably better there.
Ooze emerges from thousands of years of confinement after a construction crew forgets to call that “before digging” number to find out if there’s an ancient prison underneath their build site. Come on, guys. That’s the law. Rita and Zedd steal the cell and open it, striking a deal with the villain that in exchange for granting him his freedom, he will help them kill Zordon. He succeeds easily.
The next thing he does is lock up his rescuers because supervillains just don’t understand fair play. Ooze commits some light world-domination until the newly powered Rangers arrive, combine their various animal vehicles into the brand-new Ninja FalconMegazord, and then use the giant robot to knee the also-embiggened villain right in the nuts. And they do it so hard that Ivan flies right into the path of a passing comet which hits him; he immediately explodes and dies without the aid of lasers.
The best part about this scene — other than all of it — is that Yellow Ranger Aisha Campbell has to break a panel of glass to access the big, red button that will order the Megazord to execute the Rochambeau.
5. Alex Borstein
Before she was a main cast member on MADtv, and way before her current gig as Lois Griffin on Family Guy, Alex Borstein showed up — vocally — in almost a dozen episodes of two different Power Rangers series. She played several monsters in the original, including Lipsyncher, a sound-based lipstick monster who bears an unsettling resemblance to a Cenobite from Hellraiser.
But before that, Borstein voiced the first female Power Rangers monster, Madame Woe. Woe can control the elements and even send people to other dimensions, and true to her name, all of that sounds like a real bummer. She derives her power from a crystal she wears on her forehead … until Billy, the Blue Ranger, just kinda runs up, removes the stone from her face, and crushes it with his bare hands. So if anyone out there is an aspiring supervillain whose abilities depend on an easily crushed rock, maybe glue it down or put a cage over it or something.
The actress’ final monster role in the original series was the Bloom of Doom, a giant flower beast that can expel burning pollen and ensnare her enemies with her long, creepy vines. But none of this is enough to save her from the Rangers’ Power Blaster because no matter how weird and powerful their attacks are, plants are just super vulnerable to giant, burning lasers.
Later, Borstein returned for six episodes of Power Rangers Zeo, in which she plays the steampunky villain Queen Machina. Machina and her husband, King Mondo, are the monarchs of the clockwork civilization Machine Empire and replace previous villains Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd in the task of repeatedly failing to defeat the Power Rangers. But the old baddies have put too much energy into their thwarted plans to let a bunch of clockbots take their jobs, so they send their rivals a wrapped present that turns out to be a bomb. This works because villains on Power Rangers all possess roughly equal intelligence.
4. George ‘Buck’ Flower
Hollywood’s favorite portrayer of homeless people appears on Lightspeed Rescue as — surprise — a homeless guy. But that wasn’t his first guest spot.
Flower had previously played an uncredited “Bearded Man” who discusses whether or not the heroes have abandoned Earth in the epic Power Rangers in Space finale. That episode has all of the Rangers’ enemies combining forces to take over the universe. The ending not only kills off Zordon, but either destroys or “purifies” every villain that has ever appeared on the show. Queen Machina dies (again), but Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd become surprisingly good-looking humans and keep their weird relationship going. We assume that the wave Zordon released throughout the universe upon his death affected Buck Flower in no appreciable way, however, because he’s perfect exactly the way he is.
In 2001, the grizzled actor played a bartender in the Time Force entry “Movie Madness,” in which the Rangers travel to alternate dimensions that mirror different film genres. Flowers lives in the Wild West dimension, surprising no one. But he’s not the only surprising actor making an appearance in that episode.
3. Vernon Wells
Australian actor Vernon Wells’ two most famous roles are as the villainous Bennett in the Schwarzenegger action film Commando and Wez, wearer of assless chaps, in director George Miller’s classic The Road Warrior. He’s stayed consistently busy his entire career, including appearing in almost 40 episodes of Time Force as the villainous Ransik.
Ransik is a criminal from the distant future with the relatively reasonable scheme of traveling back in time and taking over the planet before any Power Rangers exist to stop him. He plans to do this with an army of mutants that the Rangers had already captured, and we’re not entirely sure whether or not this course of action sets up a predestination paradox (in which traveling through time to prevent something actually causes it to happen, like in The Terminator), but we doubt the creators of Power Rangers let themselves get tangled up in that sticky business.
Like a handful of other series baddies, Ransik doesn’t stay bad forever. When he appears in a two-part episode in Wild Force, he almost gets himself killed helping the Rangers. Instead of dying, however, he cures his mutation and lives to see his daughter and the Blue Ranger start dating. And if that doesn’t make him turn to crime again, we can probably assume that his redemption is true.
2. Aloma Wright
Three years before she began her seasons-long stint as Nurse Laverne Roberts on Scrubs, Aloma Wright played Adelle Ferguson, who runs the place where the Space Rangers hang out when they aren’t ranger-ing.
Like Max in Saved by the Bell, Adelle is more or less just there to provide a place for the kids to unwind when no schemes are happening. But unlike Max, Adelle is fun and sassy, and not just a crappy magician who also sells burgers. And in “Countdown to Destruction,” when Astronema threatens to start blowing up the planet if the Rangers don’t turn themselves in, she’s one of the citizens who steps up in the “I am Spartacus” scene to protect the heroes.
Adelle claims she is the Pink Ranger, and that random “Bearded Man” that Buck Flower plays says he’s the Silver Ranger. We think the producers missed an opportunity there because we would absolutely watch a show about a Mighty Morphin Flower Ranger.
1. Bryan Cranston
The Breaking Bad star is set to play the Rangers’ creator and mentor, Zordon, in next year’s movie. But this isn’t his first experience with the superteam.
Cranston had two vocal roles as monsters in the original series, and the characters were weird even by Power Rangers standards. The first, Snizzard, is basically a giant snake whose arms are smaller snakes, and his legs are made of yet smaller snakes. Also, he can spit snakes out of his mouth. We aren’t sure why the creators went with the “lizard” part of his name, since we would have called this thing something more like “Too Much Snakes,” but “Snizzard” is a little catchier.
The second beast, Twin Man, is less reptilian; he has reflective powers and disguises himself and four accomplices as the Rangers in order to wreak havoc and discredit them. This isn’t the worst idea, but their plans include being jerks at the heroes’ high school and sabotaging its drinking fountains with detergent so that anyone going for a refreshing drink of water will get totally goosed with suds. That seems like a waste of a perfectly awesome superpower, but the aim is to get the real kids stuck in detention while they go kaiju up the city.
Unfortunately, however, detention doesn’t last forever, and just looking like the Rangers doesn’t mean you can fight like them. The real heroes show up and deal with Twin Man and his cronies, and that’s the last Power Rangers heard from Cranston until the new movie.