The studio behind ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’ will be raiding different source material for their next teen movie franchise - the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ are getting a second cinematic makeover (the first was in 1995) courtesy of Lionsgate. The Power Rangers first sprang into action on TV in 1993, but it’s unlikely any of the original cast members will be returning for the new movie. Whatever happened to the kids inside the suits? It’s almost like they were doomed from the moment they stepped into the spandex…
Pink Ranger aka Kimberly Ann Hart – Amy Jo Johnson
They obviously let you keep the suits after you play a Power Ranger. Amy Jo Johnson, now 44, slung her pink outfit back on for a busking session in Toronto. It was all following a dare by fellow Ranger David Yost (Blue) to do so if she hit the target for her new movie on crowd-funding site Indiegogo early. And she did! So off she went, filming the session for posterity.
The movie, a comedy drama called 'The Space Between', which Johnson has written and will direct, reached its funding target of $75,000 and more, with over 1000 people pitching in. Amy Jo has enjoyed the most high profile career of the ‘Power Rangers’ with a role in JJ Abrams’ TV show ‘Felicity’, plus a recurring role in Canadian police procedural ‘Flashpoint’. It gets worse...
Red Ranger aka Jason Lee Scott – Austin St John
The de facto leader of the Power Rangers in the first season, martial arts expert Austin St John (real name Jason Geiger) was square-jawed, heroic and athletic – but that wasn’t enough for the show’s creators. It’s thought producers were keen to keep the show’s cast flexible, like a televisual version of ever-changing Puerto Rican pop-band Menudo, but that didn’t sit well with the existing actors. It might have been a scare tactic, but St John left the Power Rangers halfway through the second season, the official reason being a “contract and pay dispute”. He was replaced as Red Ranger by Steve Cardenas, who also played the Red Ranger in ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie’. St John slipped into obscurity, and apart from the odd convention appearance, he now works as a firefighter.
Blue Ranger aka Billy Cranston – David Yost
David Yost played boffin Billy Cranston – his last name cribbed from actor Bryan Cranston, who provided voices for the show’s monsters – for four years, but all was not well off-screen. Yost revealed in a 2010 interview that he suffered at the hands of bullying from the show’s production crew over his sexual orientation, who he claims told him he “could not be a superhero” because he was homosexual. Yost quit and tried to ‘pray the gay away’ with conversion therapy for two years before having a nervous breakdown which required five weeks of psychiatric care. He has since held a range of assorted jobs in the entertainment industry.
Yellow Ranger aka Trini Kwan – Thuy Trang
Questionable colour schemes aside – they made the Asian girl the Yellow Ranger, really? – Thuy Trang never got a chance to shake off her Power Rangers persona, as she was sadly killed in a car accident in September 2001. She left the show in season two along with Austin St John and though she had roles in the likes of ‘The Crow: City Of Angels’ and ‘Spy Hard’ (incorrectly credited as a ‘masseuse’ instead of a ‘manicurist’), Trang found acting work hard to come by. Tragically, the actress was killed in California in 2001 when the car she was a passenger in lost control, hit a roadside rock-face and fell over a safety barrier. She died from her injuries on the way to the hospital. Trang’s ‘Power Rangers’ co-stars attended her funeral to pay their respects.
Black Ranger aka Zack Taylor – Walter Emanuel Jones
Jones also fell foul of contract negotiations and exited ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ mid-way through the second season due to disagreements over wages. He was replaced as the Black Ranger by Johnny Yong Bosch, but Jones did actually return to the ‘Power Rangers’ universe, albeit suffering the indignity of providing monster voices for a show he used to star in.
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The actor did have a few other movie roles, including wrestling movie ‘Backyard Dogs’, which was the lowest-rated movie on IMDb for several years. Since ‘Power Rangers’, he played a zombie in ‘House Of The Dead 2’ and featured in a PetSmart commercial. How the mighty (morphin) have fallen.
Green Ranger aka Tommy Oliver – Jason David Frank
Baddie-turned-goodie Tommy eventually fulfilled his character arc and became the leader of the Power Rangers when he shed his Green persona and suited up as the White Ranger. Off screen, however, Jason David Frank’s career took an unexpected turn. He left the show in 1997 (returning for a tenth anniversary special) and left acting behind to focus on his career as a hardcore Christian MMA fighter. Seriously. He even set up a clothing line called ‘Jesus Didn’t Tap’. Frank has left the entertainment industry behind but still hopes to resurrect the Green Ranger with a possible feature film, sparked by an apparent conversation he had with Stan Lee at a convention. (We haven’t the heart to tell him Stan Lee probably says that to everyone). He is, however, a world record holder, for most pines broken in freefall. Which sounds a bit like falling out of a tree.
Zordon – Robert L. Manahan
The actor who provided the voice of ethereal ‘Power Rangers’ mentor Zordon wasn’t immune to the curse – he died of an aneurysm aged just 44 years old. He appeared in a whopping 75 episodes of ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ and assorted movies, booming advice from his time warp prism. A respected sound editor, Manahan’s final credit was unfortunately ‘Power Rangers In Space’, which probably didn’t make it into his eulogy.
Bulk & Skull – Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy
This might be the saddest thing we’ve ever read. Paul Schrier, who played bully Bulk, was the last original cast member to leave the show and still attends ‘Power Rangers’ conventions as you’d expect. His co-star, Jason Narvy, is another matter. Acting student Narvy received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters degree and studied with the American Shakespeare Centre, where he played the title roles in ‘Henry V’ and ‘Hamlet’ among other works. He also studied at the Lee Strasberg institute (fellow attendee: Marlon Brando), is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and holds a PhD in Theater Studies from the University of California. Despite all this, he’s still best known for playing ‘Power Rangers’ bully Eugene “Skull” Skullovitch. Weep for him.
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