If you haven’t noticed, the Power Rangers have made a big comeback in recent years. From the gritty fan film and upcoming cartoon by Adi Shankar to the comic book continuation of Mighty Morphin’ published by BOOM Studios, to the live-action reboot that’s coming to theaters in a few weeks, it seems like it’s 1995 all over again. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing a bunch of teens wearing primary colors beating up on some alien monstrosity. The only problem is that bright primary colors aren’t exactly stealthy, and the job is dangerous as it is. In the nearly twenty-five year history of the franchise, there have been almost as many iterations—not to mention the many, many derivatives (though some of us do have love for the VR Troopers)—there have been hundreds of Rangers, and not all of them survived their battles with people in rubber suits implacable evil.
Admittedly, sure, most of these deaths were later undone, but what do you expect? It’s a kid’s show! Were you expecting Braveheart? Even though a lot of these characters were eventually resurrected, you have to give credit to the show for exploring death as a likely outcome of war, and for creating the right atmosphere for those deaths to be meaningful when they happened. Many Rangers have served, and some gave their lives for the cause. Here are 15 Times Power Rangers Died.
15 The Original Five (BOOM Studios’ Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
Kyle Higgins started his run on BOOM Studios’ Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers with a bang. The prologue begins with Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger, still under mind control. He’s standing over the corpses of his fellow Rangers to the delight of Rita Repulsa. This quickly turns out to be a hallucination. Tommy’s recently been turned back into a good guy and is dealing with the after effects. Namely, that he essentially has superpowers now, and he tried to kill the only friends he made so far. It’s a difficult situation.
Higgins has taken the events of the old series and remodeled them to create a new jumping off point. There’s more character development (mostly for Tommy), but there is a sense of reality to what’s happening. The Green Ranger clearly has PTSD and is doing dangerous things to try and redeem himself in the eyes of his friends, the Rangers, who aren’t as quick to forgive and forget as they were in the TV series. Jason is mistrustful of him, Zack flat out hates the new guy, and even Kimberly—his love interest—is avoiding him.
While the series started on a fake-out, it’s thrust MMPR into a more adult realm.
14 Officer Tate (SPD)
When Sky Tate was a little boy, he idolized his father, who was an SPD Ranger. When Officer Tate was killed in the line of duty, Sky knew what he would do. He would don a mask and a skintight outfit and war against the superstitious and cowardly criminals that took his father’s life. He would patrol the streets of Gotham and—wait, oh, this isn’t about Batman? Sounds really similar. At the very least, we can all admit Batman has the better tailor.
While Officer Tate was never even given a first name, he was important to the series. He and Kat Manx created the Delta Morphers, which allowed for the creation of the SPD Rangers and their Zords. In his death, Officer Tate saved dozens of lives. Sky inherited his father’s helmet (which must have reeked of melted dead dad) and vowed to kill Mirloc, who was responsible for his old man’s death.
This subplot was very dark by Power Rangers standards. Mirloc was portrayed as a Hannibal Lecter-type character, and Sky was obsessed with getting revenge. SPD also proved the series was always evolving, now adding more character depth and a little bit more pathos to the stories.
13 Alex Drake (Time Force)
Alex Drake is like the Ultra Magnus of Power Rangers, if we can afford to make this article even nerdier. He’s a by-the-book cop who is hard-nosed and lacks the common touch. He’s about as interesting as a block of wood. Alex is later killed by the villain Ransik. But, this is Power Rangers with time travel, so not only will this death be undone, it probably will never even happen.
His fiance, Jen Scotts, the Pink Ranger, had already moved on. She and a bunch of the other rangers went back in time to stop Ransik. While there, she fell in love with the new Red Ranger, Wes Collins. When Alex returned to find out that his girlfriend had a thing for the new guy and all of his friends liked said new guy better, he was pretty bitter. Bitter enough that in researching Alex for this article, online sources informed us that he changed for the better when he decided to not let Wes die. Well, that’s pretty much the bare minimum, isn’t it?
12 Dahlia & Deker (Samurai)
These two weren’t Power Rangers, but they make the list because they’re still human characters, and Power Rangers don’t often delve into killing off humans. Also, it’s incredibly depressing.
Dahlia and Deker’s house burned down on their wedding night, leaving Deker badly injured. Dahlia made an agreement with the Nighlok to save Deker’s life, but she double-crossed Dahlia and turned her into a demon called Dayu; Deker, meanwhile, was thought dead. Both were alive, but didn’t have their memories intact. She was turned into a kind of evil bounty hunter, while he was cursed with an unquenchable desire for war.
Eventually, their romance was clearly meant to parallel a kind of cross between Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth. They would battle and betray one another, slowly gaining their memories back, before dying in battle against the Red Ranger. Dayu died shortly thereafter. Although it was never seen, it was suggested that if there were an afterlife, perhaps they were finally together there. It's a very uplifting show.
11 Daggeron (Mystic Force)
Daggeron’s death is pretty dark in hindsight. As the Solaris Knight, he was known as the best warrior of them all. Despite looking human, he was a magical entity that was several hundred years old, so he'd had plenty of time to hone his ass-kicking craft.
Later, he was responsible for the training of the Power Rangers. For much of the run of the series, Daggeron was obsessed with tracking down his archenemy, Imperious, who looks like Girder from The Flash got a fabulous makeover.
The thing is, he’s too good a warrior. You can’t beat him in battle, so his enemies had to find another tact. He did have one weakness though: his sense of honor. He keeps to it, believing his enemies will too. They don’t. That’s how he ended up trapped as a frog, and how Imperious trapped him in another dimension and stole his Megazord. He never quite learned from his mistake, and it ended up getting him killed.
Luckily, that secondary teaching gig of his paid dividends, and the Power Rangers resurrected him. That magic narrative reset button was hit hard on that one, but if you look at it, the story is about a nice but gullible man believing the best in people and being let down constantly.
10 Leanbow (Mystic Force)
Well, Daggeron had to get that whole honor and loyalty shtick from someone. That was Leanbow. The good thing about Leanbow—and about the Mystic Force series—is that, well, it’s mystical. That means they can get away with more outlandish stuff by just magicking is away. And Leanbow, while just as crazy about honor and chivalry as Daggeron, is a lot craftier. He’s a sorcerer, so he knows a lot of tricks. Enough tricks to die and return repeatedly like Kenny from South Park. He was stuck in the underworld—like Kenny from South Park!--for twenty years before magicking himself out of it.
He came back as an amnesiac Koragg, an evil minion of Octomus, Hentai Tentacle Monster of Death Supreme Master of the Underworld, only to regain his memories, but quickly die again, this time by falling into the Earth. He was then revived as the Wolf Warrior thanks to the power of love. Is there nothing Huey Lewis and the News can’t solve? (The answer is no.)
9 Mack Hartford (Operation Overdrive)
Mack Hartford is a special case in Power Rangers lore: his whole character arc is spoiled by his name. He’s an android who has a lot of empathy. Mac like the computer. Hart like heart. It’s kinda clever if you don't think about it too hard.
It was a risky move, but the payoff was great. Asking the question of what makes us human is a science fiction cornerstone, and it's a great access point for the children in the audience. Mack’s journey toward self-understanding and discovering his sense of identity is something that the kids watching at home could easily relate to.
He's also a special case because, prior to this, Power Rangers didn’t play around with killing off their lead. He sacrifices himself to save his father and his friends, leaving behind no way of saving his software. Sentinel Knight quickly shows up, and as a reward for his bravery, resurrects Pinocchio Mack and makes him a real boy. He gets to trade immortality and eternal youth for growing old and dying. Lucky, lucky guy.
8 Animus (Wild Force)
This one’s just weird. Animus is a sentient, godlike Megazord. Though ancient, he has been able to transfer his spirit from dying body after dying body, though he ended up losing his memory by the time he becomes a young boy named Kite (as Frisbee and Handball were taken already).
The evil Master Org—who looks like a Star Trek: TOS villain—uses the boy’s naivete to his advantage, making him think the Rangers were evil, and using his great power to take their Zords away. Kite then helps Org in his plan to destroy the human race, only to reveal at the last second that he never had amnesia, and was testing the Power Rangers the entire time, which is an impressively miserable thing to do. He then gifts the Rangers with the Isis Megazord (uh-oh).
While Animus didn’t die at the end of the series, his repeated deaths and resurrections (he's basically the Ra’s al Ghul of the Power Ranger universe) are enough to warrant him making the list.
7 Gemma and Gem
Power Rangers RPM was another instance where the series was supposed to end. That’s why the show was so damn bleak—the writers didn’t have to care as much about protecting their jobs. Here, most of humanity has either been enslaved or wiped out thanks to a sentient computer virus. The remaining government has kidnapped the world’s best geniuses; they’re experimented on and forced, as slaves, into finding a solution. Gemma and Gem—mom and dad weren’t clever with the naming—lived all their lives in a government facility called Alphabet Soup, working to save humanity. They’re also about as creepy as the twins from The Shining.
The siblings were killed when the roof of the facility caved in. They were attempting to recover the data on Gold and Silver Series Bio-Suits. Naturally, they returned as the Gold and Silver Rangers, but given that they were gone as long as they were, along with RPM’s general darkness, their deaths were a dramatic moment in the series, and their returns were a genuine surprise.
6 Mike Corbett (Lost Galaxy)
Destiny can really come and bite you in the ass sometimes. Mike was the responsible one. He pulled the (Quasar) sword from the stone and discovered the Red Ranger powers. Then, in an ensuing battle, he had to toss the sword over to his careless little brother Leo, who would go on to be the Red Ranger, while Mike literally fell into a pit and died.
Of course, he was resurrected later, forced to share his body with the Magna Defender. How bad do you think that made Mike feel? His little brother was basically promoted to senior management with his own office while Mike was stuck in middle management where he has to share a desk.
Things ended up well enough for Mike, though. The original Defender sacrificed his consciousness so Mike could have his body to himself again, and he even got to keep Magna’s powers, which are unique. He’s got a cape, which is really sharp, but he doesn’t have that brand recognition Leo does. That must keep him up at night sometimes. He probably takes it out on the printer at work the next day.
5 Alpha 5 (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers)
This one is more of a fan theory, but one that does have some foundation to it. While not a Ranger himself, Alpha 5 was hugely popular in the fandom, and was one of the last vestiges left of the original series by the time Power Rangers in Space had come around.
After Alpha 5 and Zordon left to go to the latter’s world of Eltar, the little robot was never seen again. We do see Zordon one last time, as a prisoner of Dark Specter who had captured Zordon during his siege against and occupation of Eltar. With Alpha 5 nowhere to be seen, fans speculated for years that he'd been killed off-screen. Amit Bhaumik, a fan turned staff writer for several Power Rangers series, gave his own theory: Alpha 5 had indeed died during the war, but that he might have uploaded his consciousness into the body of Alpha 7, since they had the same voice actor and similar verbal tics.
Unfortunately, Saban has never commented on this theory, or any other regarding Alpha 5’s disappearance or status.
4 Jason Lee Scott (BOOM Studios’ Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
Poor Jason can’t catch a break. Not only was his spotlight permanently stolen by Tommy in the show, it’s like that in the comic book series too. And, on top of all of that, it was just revealed that a future alternate reality version of these characters saw an evil Tommy killing Jason so he could become that White/Green Ranger combination, which, actually, is a pretty cool reason.
Meanwhile, “our” Tommy finds out what his mirror universe version has done and must deal with the possibility that it’s his future too. After all, the past has shown that he definitely has a real dark side. In seeing this alternate Earth where there are evil statues dedicated to him and nothing but rubble surrounding them, the reality of the crimes doesn’t hit home until he sees his evil self kill Jason, the only one of the group who is at least trying to tolerate him. So, Tommy has this hanging over his head, and Jason? Well, his death serves only to give an already overexposed character more development. Poor, poor Jason.
3 Astronema/Karone (In Space/Lost Galaxy)
Karone is one of the most developed characters in the franchise. She is also the only character in the franchise to be a villain in one season and a Ranger in the next. She was kidnapped by Darkonda (a bad guy so hardcore he has chains coming out of his body, which either makes him incredibly scary or into some stuff that would make Pinhead blush). He trained her to be his warrior of evil who wears more wigs than whichever pop star you don’t like.
As Astronema, she was one of the most effective Ranger villains, killing or enslaving people who wouldn’t obey her or her masters, resorting to dirty tricks, and creating the Psycho Rangers. When she tried to turn her back on evil, she was assimilated by the Borg brainwashed by cybernetic implants to remain evil, and eventually killed in battle, only to be brought back by the tears of her brother. That probably could have been made less hokey by saying Zordon did it, but, hey, whatever works.
The next season, Karone wanted to redeem herself, so she became the Pink Ranger. The reason she is so beloved in the fandom—besides, well, look at her—is the fact that she has that story of redemption. She was certainly better at being evil than Tommy was, and has a lot more to atone for, what with the thousands of people killed and enslaved and whatnot.
2 Kendrix Morgan (Lost Galaxy)
Well, this one isn’t fun. Morgan is the first Ranger to officially die in the line of duty, as actress Valerie Vernon had to be written out (offscreen, she'd been diagnosed with leukemia and had to undergo treatment). Saban kept Vernon in the credits so they could pay for her treatment, but they killed the character off, which is a little uncomfortable considering the circumstances. Thankfully, Vernon recovered, and even cameoed in later episodes.
As far as deaths go, though, this is a good one. Morgan died saving Terra Venture, the giant space colony, and saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the process. The death was surprisingly brutal and final—she was blown up. In a show with mystical powers and laser beams, the death lacked the kind of flare you would expect and didn’t readily come with an escape hatch that would see the character be resurrected. The result leaves the viewer cold. It’s damn effective.
Naturally, Morgan did come back to life, and it does mute the effectiveness of her death scene in hindsight, but, again, not only is this a kid’s show, there is the real-life component to Valerie Vernon’s recovery. So, rather than the story be about her death, it becomes about the triumph of life.
1 Zordon (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers/In Space)
You wouldn’t have had the Power Rangers without Zordon. He was the one who developed the morphing grid, and (almost) all the iterations after are based on his original creations. Seen as a father figure to the Rangers and fans alike, his death is one of the few that has never been taken back. When Zordon’s energy chamber was ruptured, his concentrated goodness exploded throughout the universe, creating a love wave that turned all the villains into good people.
Zordon’s death marked the end of an era, and was meant to close out the entire franchise. Of course, the whole shebang was renewed at the last minute (the franchise survived Turbo, they can survive anything). While that might have undermined the big guy’s sacrifice, it created a sense of legacy thereafter within the franchise. No, he didn’t create the Rangers post-In Space, but all the ones that came after were inspired by what Zordon began.
Did we miss any dead Rangers? What's your favorite season? Let us know in the comments!