For 25 years, Power Rangers has been a staple of pop culture. With several films, plenty of merchandise, and new teams every year or so, the Rangers continue to dominate children’s television and maintain a cult following of older fans.
Produced by Saban Entertainment, Power Rangers is adapted from Super Sentai (translated as super “squad”), a Japanese superhero show. By using footage, costumes, and props from Sentai alongside new footage of American actors, Power Rangers has been able to maintain a low budget while raking in tons of cash.
The show might seem simple — spandex-clad heroes fighting monsters with toyetic weapons and giant robots — but there is so much more to know. Besides the surprisingly dense lore, there are plenty of dark secrets surrounding the show, its cast, and crew. Even the most passionate and nostalgic fans might be surprised when they take a look back on their favorite kids show to see just how much they’ve missed.
For this list, we’ve collected some of the most obscure tidbits of Rangers history that range anywhere from deep-cut fun facts to some of the craziest behind-the-scenes stories you may have never heard of. Think you know the teens with attitude? Probably not like this. Anyway, enough preamble — it’s morphin’ time!
Here are 19 Secrets Even Die-Hard Fans Don’t Know About Power Rangers.
19. Chaotic Canon
The first six seasons of Power Rangers tell a single serialized story — everything from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers to Power Rangers In Space took place in the same timeline with cast members coming and going as new and retiring Rangers. In Space was the end of that overarching story, and Saban would reboot the show every year afterwards, with each new season resulting in an entirely new story – almost.
Crossovers became tradition — the current and previous team would meet without much explanation. Surprisingly though, some crossovers do explain themselves, resulting in bizarre continuity.
The Wild Force episode “Forever Red” is a crossover between ten seasons worth of Red Rangers, retroactively implying that they all existed in the same world. The Dino Thunder episode “Legacy of Power” depicts Tommy Oliver recounting the history of the Rangers — even histories of those he had nothing to do with. The Super Megaforce episode “Legendary Battle” features literally every Ranger in a giant ground assault against the villains.
18. Recycled costumes, monsters, and props
Super Sentai was already a low-budget show, but it only gets cheaper when it’s shoddily reproduced for American audiences — especially when costumes and props make recurring appearances. Monster suits are broken down and rebuilt with different components to create new villains all the time, and even Ranger props aren’t exempt from recycling.
For example, pictured above is Alpha Squad from Power Rangers S.P.D. in 2005, but don’t get confused — the stars of S.P.D. are Delta Squad, and they look nothing like this. A-Squad is a group of villains made using sports padding and modified helmets from Powers Ranger In Space, the team from 1998. Unaware viewers may not care, but old school fans likely can’t unsee it.
17. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover
There have been some great crossover episodes, but younger fans may not be aware of this gem. The Space Rangers never got an authentic team-up, as they’re the same cast from the previous season Power Rangers Turbo (minus the Blue Turbo Ranger). Instead, In Space crossed over with the short-lived Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, resulting in the most ’90s thing anyone has ever seen.
The Turtles are brainwashed by the villain Astronema, and are forced to battle the Rangers until (you guessed it) they become friends. It also features the oft-forgotten female Ninja Turtle, Venus de Milo. It’s a surprisingly fun episode that will undoubtedly stir up some nostalgia in even the most casual fans.
16. The Rare American Rangers
Plenty of Power Rangers material corresponds to something from Sentai: costumes, characters, villains, and even storylines. However, there have been rare instances where characters were specifically created for Power Rangers. The most well-known example is Lightspeed Rescue‘s Ryan Mitchell, the Titanium Ranger.
A team of six heroes had become the norm for Power Rangers, but Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGoFive (Lightspeed‘s Japanese counterpart) only featured five. As a result, Saban created the Titanium Ranger’s character and costume from scratch. Sadly, because he didn’t exist in Sentai footage, he made very few appearances.
Original rangers were also created for Jungle Fury, like the Bat, Elephant, and Shark Rangers. Saban Entertaiment sticks to a low-budget, but every so often they’ll go an extra mile — especially if it means better toy sales.
15. Lost Galaxy and Starship Troopers
1999’s Power Rangers Lost Galaxy took the Rangers out of Angel Grove and into the mobile space colony of Terra Venture. The production design took a small step up, creating more intricate monsters and sets for the season. The Terra Venture military forces weren’t so lucky, though, as their body armor was ripped straight from the film Starship Troopers.
That’s right, the exact same props were used for several hundred extras and even the Galaxy Rangers themselves on occasion. It’s especially hard to forget since the costumes show up so often —and it’s only made worse by the fact that Terra Venture and the Rangers are constantly fighting off an army of bugs. So really it’s exactly like Starship Troopers — but with all of the camp and none of the thoughtful satire.
14. Marketing Mishaps
The marketing for Power Rangers is key to the franchise’s success. If not enough people are watching the show, then not enough people are buying the merchandise, which is where the bulk of the profits come from. Seasons are usually advertised in advance to build that hype. Unfortunately, this usually leads to some interesting promotional material. Trailers are cut so early that sometimes Japanese footage from Super Sentai is blatantly left in.
These instances can be difficult to spot even for eagle-eyed fans. The image above is from the first trailer for Power Rangers Time Force, which features the Japanese cast of Rangers in several shots cut together with the American cast. Similar instances can be found in marketing for Wild Force and Mystic Force. These have likely gone unnoticed for many years, and there are undoubtedly more that fans simply haven’t caught.
13. Time Force And 9/11 Censorship
Budget limitations kept Time Force from doing much time travel, but the season’s opening sequence featured quite a bit of it.
The intro had the Time Rangers fly through ancient Egypt, prehistoric jungles, and even past the American moon landing of 1969. The Rangers landed in the year 2001, the year of the season’s airing, and the intro ends with the Megazord striking a pose atop the World Trade Center. It aired early in the year and in every episode before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
After September 11th, the final shot of the intro was removed immediately and replaced with another Megazord and a generic background. Even for a campy kids’ show, it’s a poignant visual that was unfortunately (but very understandably) cut from later episodes.
12. Miserable Cast Members
The show may have been full of happy endings, but real life isn’t so sweet. The production was non-union, the cast was underpaid, and the stunts they performed were often so dangerous they many of them openly recount near-death experiences on set. These include (but are not limited to) suffocation, sever burns, electrocution, and exhaustion. They were even forced to come to work after a 6.7 earthquake hit Los Angeles in 1994.
The show’s low budget is no secret to anyone, but even the stars weren’t safe from Saban’s stinginess.
To make matters worse, none of the cast members received royalties for their work on the show, leaving them with little financial padding after their time on the series was up. It’s a shame that people who have become so iconic in pop culture have received so little, and were put in such grave danger.
11. Legendary Rangers
2014’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce was a season of fan service. The team features a pirate-themed aesthetic and a gimmick: the ability to turn into older Rangers. They could choose a character from a past season and become them, gaining any powers and equipment they might have had. However, since the show relies on Japanese footage, some of the Legendary Rangers have never appeared outside of Japan before.
Every once and a while, an unnamed team from Super Sentai would appear without explanation. This image depicts the Super Megaforce Rangers as characters from Dairanger, a season never adapted by Saban. The original White Ranger also makes an appearance, but only because he was originally a Dairanger too. There are plenty examples of this in Super Megaforce and it probably helped save the production some money.
10. Tommy’s Stalker
Many former Rangers are avid convention guests — especially the original Green Ranger, Jason David Frank. He often holds autograph signings, photo ops, and panels at conventions across the country. However, his attendance attracted more than just loving fans at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.
31 year-old Matthew Sterling snuck into the event through an unguarded side entrance, avoiding all security. He believed himself to be The Punisher, dressing the part and carrying a shotgun, handguns, and even throwing stars.
These were not props.
His intention was to kill police officers and — for whatever reason — Jason David Frank. He even had “Kill JDF” written in a reminder on his smartphone, claiming that he had stabbed Frank years prior and was ready to “finish the job.” Thankfully, police apprehended him before he could act on his violent intentions. Frank used the bizarre events to spread positive vibes at the con, and vie for increased security at similar conventions. His full statement can be found here.
9. Adding New Colors
This might seem obvious, but fans that have tuned out since the 1990s might not realize that the Rangers’ color scheme has become way more varied. Gone are the days where kids are forced to invent Rangers when they played Power Rangers on the with their friends. Nowadays, they come in purple, orange, and even varied shades on existing members’ colors.
2015’s Dino Charge (pictured above) is a great example of this. Aside from the occasional Gold and Silver Rangers, the huge roster includes a Purple Ranger, a “Graphite” Ranger, and two blue rangers — one official Blue Ranger and one “Aqua” Ranger. Other teams and even future Sentai adaptations continue this trend, so expect the Rangers to get a bit more colorful — somehow.
8. Rita’s Deal With The Devil
An evil witch trapped in a “space dumpster” on the moon? Quite the villainous origin story, right? Rita Repulsa is as silly as can be, but her character was almost written way darker.
In Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ counterpart Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger Rita was Witch Bandora — queen of a prehistoric human tribe. After her son Kai smashed some dinosaur eggs, he was killed by a Tyrannosaurus. This lead to Bandora’s lifelong vendetta against the dinosaurs and her desire to bring about their extinction.
She made a deal with Dai-Satan (literally “Great Satan”), giving up her soul and the only remaining memories of her son in exchange for magic powers to use against the dinosaurs.
7. Bullied Blue Ranger
David Yost has been very open about the on-set bullying and homophobic slurs thrown around on the set of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. During his time as Billy Cranston, he recalls being the frequent target of harassment by producers, cast, and crew. Although he was one of the longest running cast members for a time, Yost eventually had enough and left the series during Power Rangers Zeo.
According to Yost, the harassment he experienced led to years of conversion therapy and even brief stints of psychiatric hospitalization before he came to accept his orientation. Since then, he has been more outspoken about his time on set while focusing on other entertainment projects and NOH8 Campaign: a charity promoting equality and advocacy for the LGBT community.
6. The Other Yellow Ranger
The late Thuy Trang will always be the Yellow Ranger to fans of the show, but the character was almost completely different.
The show’s unaired pilot episode featured many differences from the series we eventually got: the Zords were originally called Dinodroids, Zordon was originally named Zoltar, and among the set and casting differences was an entirely different Yellow Ranger.
In the original pilot, Trini was played by Audri DuBois. DuBois was set to portray the character in the first season – until she asked for a raise. As usual, Saban wasn’t willing to pay her (or any of the cast) more money, so she was fired and replaced.
5. Space Patrol Daddy Issues
The Blue S.P.D. Ranger, Sky Tate, is resentful for not being promoted to the Red Ranger. Throughout the season he struggles with jealousy and in the episode “Reflection Pt. 1” fans learn why. Sky’s father was a Red Ranger who died in the line of duty, and — wait a second…
Yeah, that’s a Time Force outfit. Sky’s dad was apparently a Red Time Force Ranger. This is an interesting Easter egg that fans may have missed. For a logical in-universe explanation, maybe S.P.D. and Time Force exist in the same timeline. The real explanation? Disney probably wanted to save money by reusing old costumes.
4. The Grittiest Of Reboots
When Disney debated cancelling the series, the writers behind Power Rangers RPM thought that the property might be buried forever. Believing the cancellation to be inevitable, the creative team behind RPM went all-out to make the craziest, edgiest Power Rangers story they could come up with. Instead of adapting the lighthearted animal/racing theme from Sentai, the Rangers went dark.
RPM was set in a post-apocalyptic future where a computer virus had wiped out modern civilization, looking more like a tribute to Mad Max than a kids’ show. The themes were more complex and so were the characters. If you’ve ever wondered why the grim setting didn’t mesh with the colorful animal and car designs, now you know. It was a last-ditch effort to save the show from Disney’s chopping block.
3. A Change In Tone
If you don’t know his name, you probably know his music. Ron Wasserman is a musician and composer most famous for his work on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. After years on hiatus after Power Rangers In Space, Wasserman returned to compose music for S.P.D. and was contacted for work on the subsequent season, Power Rangers Mystic Force.
He submitted theme demos to Disney which they promptly rejected, claiming that they were looking for a rap theme for Mystic Force instead of the typical hard rock. In turn, he submitted a rap-based demo, which Disney also rejected. Mystic Force ended up with an unrelated rap theme and Wasserman has not returned to the franchise. However, recent seasons of the show have returned to his style of music, albeit without his involvement.
2. Seeing Red
Red Wild Force Ranger and Power Rangers Samurai villain Ricardo Medina Jr. was arrested in 2015 for stabbing his roommate Joshua Sutter with a sword.
The two were apparently in the midst of a heated argument that got physical, and ended with Medina having to retreat into his bedroom. Sutter eventually made it inside where the argument continued, until Medina acted stabbed him with a sword he kept by his bed. The wound proved fatal, Sutter died in the hospital, and Medina was arrested after further investigation for voluntary manslaughter.
1. Take Your Pick
Unlike Super Sentai, Power Rangers reboots after two years instead of one. This lets Saban Entertainment choose which teams to adapt. Lately they’ve gone for pretty common themes each season — ninjas, pirates, and samurais — but what about the seasons they skip?
Saban has skipped Ressha Sentai Toqger, a train-themed team, and Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, a spy-themed team. For the next set of Rangers, rumors indicate Saban was debating between Uchu Sentai Kyuranger and Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger. The first is based on stars and constellations with a large roster of colors. The latter is animal-themed with 8-bit Minecraft-esque visuals.
Turns out they went backwards and chose Go-Busters, revealing Power Rangers Beast Morphers on February 16th, 2018. Thank goodness for that, because these look bizarre.
What did you learn about the Power Rangers? Make sure to leave a comment down below and share a tidbit of your own!
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