Ever since Saban reworked Japanese action series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger into 1993’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the Rangers and their incorporeal mentor Zordon have been a familiar part of pop culture. Over the decades, the Power Rangers have changed a number of times, shifting costumes, Zords, characters, and actors along the way. Zordon, on the other hand, has remained mostly the same. Still, he’s had some changes of his own, and hasn’t always been with the Rangers.
Even before his storied years with the Rangers, Zordon had a long and fascinating history, spanning millennia and galaxies. Long before he was floating in a tube on Earth, he spent thousands of years defending the universe from those who would do it harm, amassing power, allies, and artifacts along the way. With the upcoming Power Rangers movie set to reintroduce the character, we wanted to explore everything there is to know about this mighty mentor. Here are 14 Things You Never Knew About Zordon.
14. He Once Had A Human Form
Not much is known about Zordon’s youth or his time before the great conflict that would eventually lead to his incorporeal nature. We do know that he once had a human form, and lived thousands of years ago on a faraway planet. We also have some clues as to his appearance and past thanks to Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger.
On the original Japanese series, which premiered in 1992 from Toei studios, the mentor of the Zyurangers was an elder of the universe known as the Mysterious Sage Barza. With an outfit mashing together various religious garb with a vague futuristic aesthetic, Barza lived for millions of years battling the evil Witch Bandora. Both possessed staffs of great power and used various allies and champions to battle. For Barza’s part, he created the five Zyurangers, and gifted them with the power of the Dino Coins to protect all life from evil.
While we don’t know for sure if this matches the history of Zordon, a number of similarities make it likely. Aside from the Rangers and Coins, there’s the fact that the Witch Bandora is the Japanese version of Rita Repulsa, right down to the actor.
13. Zordon and Rita Have Battled for Thousands of Years
We know that in the canon of Power Rangers, Zordon and Rita battled for somewhere between eight and ten thousand years. Though not as long as Barza and Bandora fought, most of the other details remain the same. In fact, when Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger was turned into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, all of the footage of Rita Repulsa was just reused footage of Machiko Soga as Bandora.
We can assume both Rita and Zordon existed for some time before their conflict, but they ended up meeting on many a battlefield when Rita began conquering planets. With minions like the Knasty Knight, Rita waged war across the galaxy for two thousand years. Zordon and his compatriots fought her every step of the way, keeping her evil at bay. Thing became even more dire, however, when Rita fell under the employ of the powerful Lord Zedd.
Tasked with invading Earth, Rita and her henchman set up a castle on the moon and prepared for conquest. It was at this point that Zordon made his final attempt to stop Rita and protect Earth and the universe, but not without it costing him.
12. Let’s Do the Time Warp
One of the many early mysteries surrounding Zordon is why exactly he appears as a floating head inside of an energy tube. We know, of course, that he was once a humanoid who spent millennia battling Rita across the universe. As Rita and Lord Zedd reached the point where Earth was about to be conquered, Zordon made one final gamble to end the threat posed by the witch. Calling upon her, he challenged her to a final contest to decide who would remain and who would be banished. Placing the fate of the entire universe on a coin toss, Zordon managed to win the challenge and lock Rita and her companions inside a space dumpster for the foreseeable future.
Of course, Rita didn’t go down easily. Upon her sentence being executed, she used her considerable abilities to deal Zordon one final blow: sending him into a time warp where he’d exist out of phase with reality. Thus, his only true method of influence came as the face in the tube. Still, he wielded enough influence and power to create his Command Center on Earth and continue building his reserves of power and artifacts, sure that Rita would one day return.
11. Zordon Is From the Planet Eltar
While we don’t know much about Zordon’s past, we’ve learned a little bit over the years. Though the canon status of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie is unknown, it was in that film that Lord Zedd first mentioned Zordon’s home world. As later introduced on TV, Zordon hails from Eltar. Like Zordon, little is known about the planet. It does seem to be a peaceful one, however, and Zordon even gets the chance to return to it after thousands of years of absence.
During the Turbo Era of Power Rangers, Zordon is freed from his time warp by the wizard Lerigot. An old friend of Zordon and Alpha 5, Lerigot’s magic allows Zordon to return home to his family. During his time on Eltar, he builds the Robot Rangers to help in the fight against evil, but the planet is ultimately consumed by the forces of the Dark Specter and the United Alliance of Evil. It’s during this arc that Zordon makes his biggest gamble to date (more on that later).
10. He Discovered the Power Coins With Alpha 5’s Predecessor
Long before Alpha 5 was the constant companion of Zordon, there was Alpha 4. Despite the numbering, he was actually the first of his kind, created by King Lexian. A great Edenoi king, Lexian is a scholar and inventor, and the keeper of the Masked Rider powers. After the construction of Alpha 4, the young robot is recruited to join Zordon in his quest against Rita. Alpha discovers the map to the Temple of Power, which leads him and Zordon to find the Power Coins.
Found in the Desert of Despair, these Coins bear the symbol of the prehistoric beasts that the Power Rangers will eventually embody. Zordon uses one of the Coins in his final challenge against Rita. Unfortunately, Rita acquires the mysterious Sixth Coin while battling Rooten-Toomen, the Desert’s guardian. This allows her to eventually control the Green Ranger following her freedom.
9. Zordon and Alpha 5 Have Been Friends For A Long Time
It’s unknown how long Zordon has been friends with Alpha, but it’s likely been a long time. Once Alpha 4 grew obsolete, his body was unceremoniously stuffed in a box and put in the basement of the Command Center. Luckily, his personality and memories were all transferred into his new body, Alpha 5. It was this body that would help Zordon in many of his tasks, including overseeing the Command Center and the Power Rangers.
In his duties, Alpha served as a tech and adviser, but it was a lonely role. He keeps most of his feelings to himself, but one incident forced them all to the surface. It was revealed that he resents the lack of attention he receives from Zordon and the Rangers, as most of his time is spent helping put out fires (or cuddling with his teddy bear Beta). Still, when Zordon goes off to Eltar, Alpha comes with him and continues to assist him. In his absence, Alpha 6 and then 7 are constructed, but it’s unknown if they are replacements or continuations.
8. Zordon Has Had Multiple Looks Over the Years
One of the more interesting aspects of Zordon has always been his appearance. His look is a striking one, instantly evocative and familiar to many in pop culture. On the show, of course, Zordon was trapped in a time warp by Rita, meaning the energy tube his face floats in was his only means of communicating with the outside world. Relying on Alpha for much of the actual work that needed to be done to protect the universe, Zordon represents an almost tragic figure.
While his original design was fairly rudimentary, given the show’s early-’90s birth, Zordon did get a few upgrades over the years. In the Zeo Era, the Command Center was destroyed by a bomb Goldar placed underneath it. While everyone survived, Zordon required a new, fancy plasma tube. This allowed the design and graphics to be updated, along with a new set for the Command Center.
7. He Sacrificed His Life to Stop Rita and Zedd
It’s likely clear from the fact that only Zeo and Turbo upgrades to Zordon’s look were mentioned that it wasn’t long after that latter era that the great mentor of the Power Rangers was no more. After Lerigot helped Zordon out of the time warp and he and Alpha journeyed to Eltar, there was peace for a time. However, the Dark Specter, an intergalactic monster, soon began to conquer the planet. Along with Rita, Zedd, and a number of other enemies that had popped up over the years, the universe was in real trouble.
The Rangers of the time traveled to Eltar in order to assist Zordon, joining the Red Space ranger. Becoming Space Rangers themselves, they joined forces with a number of other heroes to stop the forces of evil threatening to engulf the planet and the universe.
In the end, it was revealed that only Zordon sacrificing himself, and thus unleashing a tidal wave of energy, could end the threat. He did so, destroying the evil within Rita, Zedd, and the others, and vanquishing the Dark Specter. For those who had grown up with the early iterations of Power Rangers, it was a bittersweet moment and the end of an era.
6. Zordon Wasn’t the Only Mentor to the Power Rangers
To many, it may seem as if Zordon is an inextricable part of the Power Rangers mythos. And while he is crucial to much of their lore, he hasn’t always been around. Just like the Rangers, and even Alpha, have changed over the years, Zordon too was eventually replaced in his role as mentor. In fact, after his sacrifice, the subsequent Power Rangers have had a lot of people helping them out in the way Zordon once did.
Over the years, the Rangers have had dozens of other mentors. Often, two characters would assist them in their battle against evil, with one holding a position of moral and intellectual authority while another handled the more technical end of things.
One of the most prominent follow-ups to Zordon was actually one of his proteges, who possessed a strikingly similar appearance. Looking like a mechanical tiki head composed purely of early CGI, Gosei mainly served as the mentor to the Mega Rangers. As able as Gosei and the other mentors were, however, no one can ever truly replace Zordon.
5. He’s Changed His Voice, But Not His Face
Though Zordon the character is hard to replace, the actor who played him was changed during his tenure as the mentor of the Power Rangers. Originally, it was David Fielding who not only handled the voice of Zordon, but also was the face of the great leader. During the first season, Fielding had to step away from the role for personal reasons and was replaced by one of the show’s sound mixers, Robert L. Manahan. Despite the change in voice, the producers didn’t want to alter things too drastically. Given that Zordon was already incorporeal and mostly CGI, they decided to keep Fielding as the face of the mentor, even while Manahan did the voice.
This novel decision was likely made more difficult as the fidelity and quality of the show changed over the years. In having to keep Fielding’s face for Zordon, a number of liberties were taken with the design of Zordon to mask the fact that he was no longer supplying the acting. In fact, the Turbo Era version of Zordon likely has that odd glow to him in order to cover for the now-degraded quality of the facial capture of Fielding.
4. Zordon Invented “It’s Morphin Time!”
The phrase “It’s Morphin Time!” is one that’s likely quite familiar to people of a certain age. Despite its ubiquity and association with the series, however, it’s not actually the main catchphrase of the Rangers. Rather, it was used primarily by the first batch, known of course as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It’s because of this that many wondered whether the new movie would even use the somewhat hokey phrase, but the recent reveal of a toy from the film confirmed its existence.
While the phrase is often employed by the Power Rangers themselves, and usually their leader the Red Ranger, Zordon was actually the one to coin it. Way back in episode two of the series, he can first be heard saying it. And if you think that the dropped “g” and lack of apostrophe in “Morphin” is simply a hip affectation, you’d be wrong.
3. His Name and Backstory Were Originally Different
Anyone familiar with TV will know that often a pilot for a series is commission and shot to show a network to decide if the show will get picked up. Sometimes, these pilots will air as the first episode of a show, but other times they get discarded and are replaced by an entirely new episode. Game of Thrones, for instance, famously recast and reshot their entire pilot before going to air. Similarly, Power Rangers initially filmed a somewhat different version of “Day of the Dumpster.”
While not much changed, Zordon was originally known as Zoltar, Zords were Droids, and the actor who played the Yellow Ranger was different. The future Rangers also hung out in a bowling alley and were already skilled martial artists who used their abilities to fight bullies. Even Zordon’s look was different, despite the actor being the same. Eventually, the pilot was reshot and the original wouldn’t air until 1999 in a special.
Likewise, in an early version of the first Power Rangers movie, Zordon’s backstory was altered, making him a great commander and military leader as part of the Order of Meledon. While none of these things took, it’s still fun imagining the different paths a series like this could have taken.
2. Zordon Is Played by Power Rangers Alum Bryan Cranston in the New Movie
You read that right. The Breaking Bad star won’t be making his first appearance in the Power Rangers universe with this year’s movie, as he goes way back with the series. When it was announced that the veteran performer would be tackling the role of Zordon, many were taken aback. It’s easy to forget, however, that long before his dark turn on the AMC show, Cranston has plenty of varied projects under his belt.
Though you won’t hear him bring up the connection, Cranston has two uncredited roles as voices for villains back in 1993. In two separate episodes of Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, Cranston voiced Snizzard and Twin Man. The former was basically a giant snake that also had limbs made of snakes. The latter could duplicate himself to look like the Rangers, a power he basically used to prank the team and get them put in detention. It’s a weird bit of synchronicity, with Cranston going from playing a low-level threat to the Rangers’ greatest ally.
1. Cranston’s Zordon Could Be a Former Power Ranger
At our number one spot is the thinnest bit of trivia that’s so fun it has to be mentioned. In fact, if this theory proves to be true, it will add a nice layer to the existing lore of the Power Rangers. Last month, we reported on a random autograph signing from Bryan Cranston that made mention of him being a Ranger. While the exact quote could easily be construed as Cranston simply using the term in a more general sense, as he’s now a big part of the universe, many believe it means Zordon will be a former Ranger in the movie.
The full theory goes that Cranston’s Zordon was the original Red Ranger millennia ago. He fought with Rita, just as he had in the show’s lore, but with an added twist: Rita was also a Ranger. In the movie, her classic gold armor has been changed to green. That has fans thinking her and Zordon were both Rangers, and that the Green Ranger, Rita, went rogue and killed Zordon. It not only explains why Zordon is a disembodied face and voice, but why the two are at war.
It’s certainly a juicy theory, with shades of Green Lantern and Sinestro’s backstory thrown in, but we’ll have to wait and see whether it’s true or not.
Do you have any trivia to share about Power Rangers‘ Zordon? Leave it in the comments!