Power Rangers has been a television staple for American audiences since the ’90s. Throughout the different shows, the teams have had help from samurai warriors, jungle spirits, secret government organizations, and, of course, aliens. But there’s one person, or rather, robot, that nearly anyone familiar with the franchise will recognize: Alpha-5
Alpha-5 debuted in the very first episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The talking robot was Zordon’s right hand, and an instrumental presence in aiding the Power Rangers in their fight against the forces of evil. He stuck around for all three seasons of the original series, and even provided assistance and guidance to the Power Rangers Zeo and Turbo teams. Outside of Alpha-5 using high-tech equipment to help save the day — and employing the catchphrase “Ay yi yi yi yi!” during times of stress, of course — there’s quite a bit to learn about one of the most trusted confidantes of the Power Rangers.
Here are 17 Things You Didn’t Know About Alpha-5.
17. Six Actors Have Played Alpha-5
Over the years, several actors have stepped into Apha-5’s robotic shoes, though the actual voice of the character was played by Richard Steven Horvitz throughout the series. He even developed Alpha’s signature catchphrase when the series was in development, making “ay yi yi yi yi” a staple of the series every time things got a little nutty. While Horvitz provided the voice during all of Alpha’s run, he wasn’t the actor who actually dressed up in costume and interacted with the Power Rangers on set.
Romy J. Sharf wore the costume for 89 episodes of the series, including “Alpha’s Magical Christmas,” a holiday special that put Zordon’s BFF in the spotlight for once. Sandi Sellner then took over the role for 19 episodes when the Power Rangers gained “ninja powers.” Peta-Marie Rixon played the role for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, though the first big screen venture isn’t part of series canon. Donene Kistler, who also worked as a production assistant on the series, took on the role for a handful of episodes in the original series before playing the part during bits of the Power Rangers Zeo run and Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. Kistler would also go on to play Alpha-6.
16. Richard Steven Horvitz Also Voiced Alpha-7
Though there were more Alphas who came before the original that audiences never met (hence the “5” designation), the only two that came after him on the series were Alpha-6 and 7. Alpha-6 takes over for Alpha-5 during Power Rangers Turbo and appears in the In Space and Lost Galaxy seasons, serving as an assistant to the Rangers on the Astro Megaship. While Alpha-6 was voiced by three different actors over the course of the character’s appearances, Richard Steven Horvitz returned to the series to voice Alpha-7.
Alpha-7 made his appearance in Power Rangers: Wild Force assisting the team of Red Rangers for the “Forever Red” team up episode. Alpha-7 appeared to physically have components of both of his predecessors in addition to Alpha-5’s voice and mannerisms, giving the audience an homage to the original character.
Horvitz also provided voice work for other various franchise installments. He voiced Smogger in Lightspeed Rescue and Mantamobile in Time Force. Horvitz has gone on to provide vocal work for series like The Angry Beavers, Invader Zim, and more.
15. Alpha-5 Sleeps With A Teddy Bear
Despite Alpha-5 being thousands of years old and an advisor to the Power Rangers, he also has a childlike quality. Alpha-5 is a little naive, often not realizing when brainwashed Power Rangers come into the Command Center. He also has a token that kids everywhere will recognize: a teddy bear.
In quite a few episodes, Alpha-5 is seen carrying the teddy bear around the Command Center. There’s no telling who gave him the teddy bear or how long he’s had it, but its first appearance is actually in the pilot episode of the series, just after Rita Repulsa is released from her space dumpster prison. In the Power Rangers Zeo episode “Inner Spirit,” Tommy (Jason David Frank) makes a visit to the Command Center in the middle of the night after having a recurring dream that’s been making him lose focus. When he enters, Alpha-5 emerges from what is likely his bedroom in a sleeping cap, clutching his teddy bear and checking for the intruder. Not only does Alpha-5 shut down for the night, but he even sleeps with his teddy!
14. He’s Programmed to Feel Pain
Most science fiction stories feature robots who can take a hit and just keep going. They’re machines, so they don’t feel any pain, which makes them more efficient. Alpha-5, on the other hand, has been programmed to experience pain, making him more human. The season one episode “Clean-Up Club,” in which the Rangers organize a city-wide effort to clean up pollution, is the first time audience members see this. As Alpha is rolled up in paper from a computer readout, he falls over, and cries out in pain.
While that instance could be a programmed response specific to falling over, he also responds to painful experiences in other episodes. He’s electrocuted in the episodes “Island of Illusion” and “Ninja Quest,” which also cause him to cry out. He might not experience pain in the exact same way a human being does, but he is programmed to understand it and learn from it (more on the latter in a bit).
13. King Lexian of Edenoi Created Alpha-5
Much of what the audience knows about King Lexian is a result of the “A Friend In Need” story arc on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Lexian, grandfather to Masked Rider Dex, ruled the planet of Edenoi. Residents of the planet Edenoi were primarily scholars. They experimented and created art, but didn’t typically create weapons to fight wars against evil. Lexian created Alpha-5 and the others who came before him, but only Alpha-4 and Alpha-5 worked with Zordon.
Alpha-5 had very fond memories of King Lexian, as well as a sense of loyalty to the people of Edenoi. When he and Zordon learned that the inhabitants were in trouble, as Count Dregon had forced the Edenites into slavery, he asked to send the Power Rangers to help them. The arc of episodes in which the Power Rangers traveled to Edenoi and fought Count Dregon’s forces provided the introduction for the Masked Rider spinoff series. Despite the popularity of Power Rangers, the spinoff only ran for a single, largely forgotten season.
12. Alpha-5 Helped Create the Power Rangers and Command Center
While it is mentioned briefly that Alpha-4 worked with Zordon before Alpha-5, it’s the latter bot who’s been with him since his fight with Rita Repulsa that left him imprisoned in a tube. 10,000 years prior to the events of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, Zordon was a “champion for good” who was often found in the thick of the fight against Rita and her minions. Rita was sent by Lord Zedd to conquer Earth and it was Zordon who stood in her way when he discovered the power coins. After 2,000 years of fighting one another, Zordon sealed Rita in a space dumpster, while she used magic to catch him in a time warp.
With Zordon existing outside of time, presumably, it is Alpha-5 who helped find a way to contain him in the giant plastic tube in the Command Center. After the battle with Rita, it was Alpha who, with Zordon’s instructions, designed and built the Command Center and used the power coins to created the weapons that the Power Rangers would one day use. Because Zordon prepared for the coming battle with Rita by scattering weapons throughout the galaxy as well, it’s likely that it was Alpha who was sent to put those weapons in place, like the Megaship that was used in Power Rangers in Space.
11. Fully Sentient, Alpha-5 Is Capable of Learning
Even though Alpha-5 calls himself a robot, that might be a bit of a misnomer, as robots are limited by their own programming. Alpha-5 can be reprogrammed, of course, as is seen during multiple episodes where a baddie plants software within him to make him evil, but he isn’t solely reliant on his programming. Instead, Alpha-5 is always evolving and learning from those around him.
Early on in the series, he adopted the lingo of the teenagers that were chosen to become the Power Rangers, referring to them as “dudes” and “dudettes” until eventually dropping that particular lingo to refer to them by name, or collectively, just “Rangers.” He’s also been shown on more than one occasion attempting to learn new skills by practice, the way a human being would, instead of by programming. Black Ranger Zack taught him dance moves, and the other Rangers taught him a few self-defense moves.
10. He Likes To Party
Because of his appearance, Alpha didn’t get out of the Command Center much. A robotic individual walking around Angel Grove is just as attention catching as the monsters sent to town by the big bads of the series. Alpha winds up incredibly sheltered, with just Zordon and the Power Rangers as friends. There is the rare occasion where he leaves the Command Center to help save the day, but it’s also revealed throughout the show that he enjoys a good party.
In addition to his holiday special in which he actually gave children presents and sang Christmas carols, he also decorated the Command Center with twinkling lights and gave Zordon a Santa hat to wear in another holiday themed episode. For Halloween, though, he could leave the Command Center, since Angel Grove residents would think he was simply a person in a well-designed costume. In “Life’s A Masquerade,” Alpha-5 joined the Rangers at a costume party at the Youth Center, where he got to interact with other residents and even win the costume contest!
9. He Wished For More Time With The Rangers
Living in the Command Center with Zordon had to be a pretty lonely existence. While Alpha-5 must have stayed in contact with a few of the people he knows on other planets, it’s unlikely that he saw them very often, since he’s constantly preparing for going up against the forces of evil or helping the Power Rangers with different missions. The Rangers provided the only human interaction Alpha-5 had, and considering that they’re busy running around and saving the world (but otherwise, went about their regular lives without him), it’s no wonder that Alpha wished that he got to hang out with them more.
In fact, when Alpha was slipped some software that made him evil when Rita conspired to marry Lord Zedd, it’s that very wish that seemed to fuel his evil actions. The software specifically encouraged Alpha to be angry at the Power Rangers for ignoring him and abandoning him. While the software was installed, he tried to get rid of Zordon and become the one running the Command Center. Eventually, the Power Rangers discovered the malicious software and managed to remove it, but not much is made of Alpha’s desire to get to spend more time with people.
8. Lerigot Was One of Alpha-5’s Best Friends
We don’t see him very much in the series, but Lerigot was one of Alpha-5’s dearest friends. While we don’t know when or how the two met, since Lerigot is from Liaria and Alpha is from Edenoi, we do know that they have been pals since the days when Alpha lived on Edenoi. Lerigot makes his first appearance in the movie Power Rangers: Turbo, where he’s revealed to be a wizard of immense power who Divatox wants to use for her own nefarious purposes. She kidnaps his wife and child in the movie, telling the Power Rangers she’s willing to exchange them for Lerigot.
Following the movie — which is the only big screen venture considered part of the TV series canon — he returned for episodes of Power Rangers: Turbo as well when the Power Rangers needed a magical boost to free Zordon. It was Lerigot who was able to get Zordon out of the time warp he was stuck in so that Zordon could return to Eltar. Given that Lerigot’s chief ability is opening portals between places, it’s a little strange that Zordon never had Alpha-5’s friend help him out before then, but in the world of Power Rangers, there are many characters who pop up and never return, just like Lerigot, who never comes back to Earth after helping Zordon escape.
7. Alpha-5 Can Use The Morphing Grid To Create New Objects
The morphing grid is the source of the Rangers’ power, providing the energy that is used to power zords, create weapons, and allow the Power Rangers to withstand hits from monsters that would leave normal human beings flattened. The Rangers aren’t the only ones with access to it, though. While Zordon has Alpha use the morphing grid on more than one occasion to create upgrades for the heroes, Alpha also uses it for more everyday activities.
He’s shown creating flowers, clothing, and even gifts, seemingly from nothing. In fact, during the straight-to-video holiday special Alpha’s Magical Christmas, when he brings children to celebrate Christmas with him, he gives them all gifts created from the morphing grid. This does seem to go against the idea of using the abilities of the Power Rangers for personal gain, something Zordon cautions against in the first episode of the series, but Alpha isn’t technically a Ranger, so maybe he’s exempt?
6. The Costume Is Not Fun For Actors
Alpha-5’s shuffling walk and slight shimmy might make the robotic assistant look adorable to kids watching the show, but there’s a reason Alpha’s range of movement is so limited: the actors in the costume couldn’t move around very well.
Designed in a similar way to the original C-3PO costume for Star Wars (though maybe not quite as iconic for sci-fi fans), Alpha-5’s costume was made up of multiple segments that had to be assembled around the actor. As a result, the performers who portrayed Alpha over the years couldn’t sit down while wearing the costume. If a scene required Alpha to be seated, sections of the costume would have to removed to get the actor into position. It’s no wonder that so many of Alpha’s scenes require the robot to stand in front of a console and wave his arms around!
The design carried over to the costume for Alpha-6 as well, though the successor did have a bit more movement in the legs of the costume. It’s evident while watching footage from the series that Alpha-6 is able to walk a bit more easily than Alpha-5. The Alpha-5 actors must have been jealous!
5. Alpha-5 Has Not Been Seen In The TV Series Since Leaving For Eltar
In Power Rangers: Turbo Zordon returned to his home planet of Eltar, taking Alpha-5 with him. In their place, they left Dimitria and Alpha-6 to help the Power Rangers, though eventually, those Rangers even left Earth behind to search for Zordon in the next series, Power Rangers In Space, losing their Turbo powers and gaining new ones on their adventure.
During this time, Dark Spectre’s evil forces kidnapped Zordon from his home of Eltar and attempted to destroy the champion of good. Even during this sequence when the audience sees Zordon, and Zordon’s subsequent sacrifice of his life to destroy all the evil surrounding him, the audience never sees Alpha-5 again. There have been plenty of theories about just what might have happened to him, though a writer did offer up an unofficial explanation.
Amit Bhaumik, who wrote for Power Rangers Wild Force, offered up his point of view that Alpha-5 was likely destroyed when Dark Specter’s allies invaded Eltar. The implication was made that a Ranger journeyed to the planet to retrieve Alpha-5 and used his body and parts of his software to create Alpha-7. Maybe a future installment of the series will give fans the truth!
4. The Comic Book Artwork Combines the Live-Action Designs
Over the course of the series, Alpha-5’s look changed slightly as technology upgrades occurred. His look in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie was also drastically different from the one he had on the show, with a differently shaped head, a shinier body, and more flexible fingers. When BOOM! Studios created the comic book series set during the run of the original television series, though, they opted to combine different design elements to give Alpha-5 a distinct look for the comics.
The large shoulder plates in the design come from the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, while the slightly longer legs are the result of his design in the third season and into the Power Rangers Zeo arc. Power Rangers: Turbo provides the details for his head and chest. In the Turbo season, Alpha’s head became more like a dome and less like a flying saucer. His chest also became a little less boxy. While the Turbo season did get rid of Alpha’s stylized lightning bolt in the middle of his chest, replacing it with what looked more like a downward pointing arrow, the comics opted to keep the lightning bolt design reminiscent of the Power Rangers logo.
3. Rita Repulsa Wanted To Turn Alpha-5 Into A Lamp
The sorceress is nothing if not creative.
In the 2016 comic book series, Rita enacts a plan — with the help of Scorpina, who only appeared in a handful of episodes on the show — that results in the Command Center being destroyed while the Rangers, Alpha-5, Zordon, and a captured Scorpina are all inside. While the Power Rangers are ultimately able to save themselves from the encroaching monsters by escaping to a “pocket dimension” where Zordon has been training them for different monstrous scenarios, Alpha-5 isn’t so lucky.
Alpha’s body is shown several times in the wreckage of the Command Center, and it looks like all hope is lost for the Ranger’s right hand robot (since, you know, he’s in pieces). Rita decides that she likes the look of his domed head and wants to have it made into a lamp as she sets herself up with a new throne room right where Zordon used to sit. Though we don’t see much of this version of Rita on the show, she certainly likes her trophies.
2. 2017 Marks The First Time Alpha-5 Is CGI
Throughout the entire run of the Power Rangers franchise to date, the television series has never utilized computer generated imaging to use on the robotic sidekicks to the Power Rangers — be it Alpha-5 or some later character that acts in the same vein. Over the course of the show, CGI has been employed with mixed results in fight scenes to highlight otherworldly elements or teleportation. The characters, for the most part, have all been actors in suits instead of digital creations, likely for budgetary reasons. Things have changed for the 2017 movie.
Not only has the digital composite of Zordon changed — he’s no longer just a floating head trapped in a time warp/tube, but a part of the spaceship where he resides — but so has Alpha-5. An actor isn’t required to don the uncomfortable suit. Instead, this version of Alpha-5, voiced by Bill Hader, has a more organic look to him. He’s got longer limbs, some muscular structure, and blinking eyes, instead of simply pieces of plastic and metal. He’s rendered completely by CGI graphics. Reactions were initially mixed when concept art for the character was revealed, but the new version of Alpha-5 fits right into the new world of the Power Rangers, where their armor and zords look a bit more grounded in reality.
1. Alpha-5 Stranded The Power Rangers On Earth
— Note: mild SPOILERS for the opening sequence of the 2017 movie lie ahead —
When the Power Rangers movie opens, audiences are treated to Zordon as the last member of his team on Earth, trying to hold Rita at bay and secure the power coins for a new generation. Zordon fighting Rita isn’t the whole story, of course. There’s a reason he doesn’t take the fight away from Earth as she kills the other Power Rangers there with him, and that reason is revealed in a tie-in revealed on the official movie website.
Before the release of the film, Lionsgate revealed an application on the official site that allowed visitors to chat with Alpha-5. While Alpha begins his chat with smalltalk, he does eventually reveal that he’s the one responsible for Zordon and his team being stranded on Earth. In the Cenozoic Era, Alpha-5 was piloting the spaceship that brought Zordon’s team to the planet. Alpha-5 was also the one who crashed said spaceship.
As Alpha would say, “ay yi yi yi yi!”
Did you learn something new about Alpha-5? Did we miss something big in the character’s history? Let us know in the comments!
Catch the new Alpha-5 in Power Rangers on the big screen, now playing in theaters.