What happened to the original Power Rangers?With the new film about to hit the big screen, we’ve dug deep into the internet to find out what happened to the original Mighty Morphin crew
When the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was released in 1993, not many people thought it would last more than one season. Almost 25 years later, it has generated over $5bn USD in retail sales, spawned 19 different variations of the Rangers (and imitations, Big Bad Beetleborgs anyone?) over 23 seasons and two theatrical films, with one more about to be released this year.
We’ve taken a look at what happened to the original Rangers to find out whether they were able to profit from the hype.
- Austin St John
- Amy Jo Johnson
- Walter Emanuel Jones
- Thuy Trang
- David Yost
- Jason David Frank
The first batch of Rangers debuted in 1993 and lasted three seasons. The success of the show also led to the toys becoming the must-have gift for Christmas in 1994, causing all manner of headaches for parents fighting to please their children. (This writer only got one Ranger for Christmas that year, while his cousin got three – worst Christmas ever.) Here’s what happened to the original crew.
The Red Ranger: Jason Lee Scott, played by Austin St John
While many may remember Jason David Frank’s Green/White Ranger as the leader, Red Ranger Jason was the original leader of the Power Rangers when it started in 1993. The role of the first ever Red Ranger also happened to be Austin’s first ever acting role as well. Despite helping the show to become one of the most popular kid’s shows of the time, Austin was written out halfway through the second season due to a contractual dispute and was replaced by Rocky DeSantos (played Steve Cardenas, who also played the role in the 1995 film.)
In the show, Austin’s character left to become an ambassador at the Peace Conference in Switzerland (along with two others). His acting career since leaving the show has been limited to guest appearances on Power Rangers: Zeo (1996) and Power Rangers: Wild Force (2002). Austin is a trained paramedic and spent four years serving alongside the military overseas and can now be seen on the convention circuit.
The Pink Ranger: Kimberly Hart, played by Amy Jo Johnson
Kimberly is the longest serving Pink Ranger in the show’s history, and was also the girl of many kid’s dreams in the 1990s. She wasn’t the greatest Ranger, as she usually spent most her time playing the Damsel in distress, but she was very good at gymnastics.
Of all the original crew, Amy has had the most varied and successful career in show business, prolifically starring in movies and TV shows since leaving the Power Rangers in the mid 90s, while also producing and directing her own films. Her most prominent roles include playing Jules Callaghan in Flashpoint (2008-2012) as well as Julie Emrick in Felicity (1998-2000; 2002). Amy is also a talented artist and musician and has released three albums.
The Black Ranger: Zack Taylor, played by Walter Emanuel Jones
Zack was the charismatic, fun-loving member of the team and had the Mastadon Dinozord. He left the show halfway through the second season with Jason – also due to contractual disputes – and was replaced as the Black Ranger by Adam Park (played by Johnny Yong Bosch).
Like Amy Jo, Walter has been very active in Hollywood since leaving the show, making appearances in almost every TV show of note in the 90s (Sabrina, In The House, Buffy, NYPD Blue, CSI, to name a few) while also providing voice-over work on Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and more. His movie CV includes working on House Of The Dead 2, The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift and most recently, in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Walter can also be seen on the convention circuit.
The Blue Ranger: Billy Cranston, played by David Yost
Yost’s Billy Cranston was the only original member of the team to appear in every episode of the original three seasons as he went from team nerd to essential member. Yost also starred in the first movie and returned to the show for the fourth season, albeit without his powers as he worked as a technical advisor to the other Rangers.
David was the 4th member of the original crew to leave under bad circumstances. In 2010, he revealed that the homophobic harassment he’d received from the crew had become too much for him to handle and he chose to leave before things got worse. His abrupt departure forced the show to use stock footage and a dubbed voice-over for the final episode to hide the fact that Yost had already left. He returned to acting and producing in 2000, and has worked in both TV and film since, including working as a producer on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. David is now a regular on the convention circuit.
The Yellow Ranger: Trini Kwan, played by Thuy Trang
Like Jason and Zack, Trini was shipped off to the Peace Conference in the 2nd season, ending her tenure as the Yellow Ranger, with many rumours at the time stating that it was an attempt by the show to end accusations of racism (with Vietnamese Trang playing the Yellow Ranger and African-American Walter Jones playing the Black Ranger at the time.)
After leaving the show, Thuy landed a major role in the 1996 film The Crow: City of Angels and a cameo in Spy Hard, but never featured in Hollywood after that. Thuy Trang’s life was tragically cut short when she was involved in a fatal car crash in September 2001. She was only 27.
The Green Ranger: Tommy Oliver, played by Jason David Frank
Tommy Oliver is without doubt the most well-known and popular Power Ranger, despite him not actually being part of the original team. Tommy was introduced during the first season as a bad guy controlled by Rita Repulsa who almost defeated the Power Rangers. Tommy was eventually able to free himself from her control and later went on to redeem himself for his crimes by joining the team as the Green Ranger, went on to become the leader of the team as the White Ranger.
Jason’s popularity kept him on the Power Rangers until 1997, and he’s continued to make a decent career for himself out of this popularity ever since. Jason often enjoys regular guest appearances on the show and is very active on the convention circuit. The former Green Ranger has also been able to carve out an interesting web presence for himself, stepping into the suit again for clips for filmmakers Bat In The Sun, and even got his own show on the channel called My Morphing Life. Frank still practises martial arts (7th Degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Ajarn Degree in Muay Thai) and has even tried his hand at Mixed Martial Arts, with five wins in professional and amateur bouts.