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Go, go, Power Rangers! It’s been nearly 20 years since The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers made its debut on Fox Kids, translated for an American audience from an already popular Japanese program. In celebration of its pending anniversary, some of the creative team members from behind and in front of the camera took the stage at Comic Con 2012 to talk about all things Power Rangers from the past, present and future.
Brian Ward, producer of seven full seasons of Power Rangers television programs, presided over the panel which, in his words, was assembled to honor “the most successful action series in children’s television history.”
The SDCC panel was reflective, taking time to talk in detail about the history of the Power Rangers franchise and its unpredictable journey from Japanese to U.S. television airwaves. While the producers were informative, the cast members were passionate, entertaining and quick to play to the fans. Walter Emanuel Jones, the Black Ranger from the original series, earned the loudest roar on introduction, and even scored a standing ovation from a few in the auditorium. The next generation of Rangers fans was represented by handsome Alex Heartman, the Red Ranger for Nickelodeon’s Power Rangers Samurai. And plenty of comic relief was provided by Paul Schrier, who – in the panel’s biggest surprise – was joined by his former castmate Jason Narvy, the Skull to his Bulk. Fans devoured their schtick, and the physical comedians gave it back to the crowd in spades.
In the future, producers revealed that almost every episode will continue streaming on Netflix – automatically expanding the show’s reach to a global audience. Full seasons now are available on DVD from Shout Factory (a 19-dic collector’s edition set of Mighty Morphine was on sale at the Con this weekend). A new kid’s television block begins this fall on Saturday morning on The CW, which will feature new Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy episodes. And in 2013, the franchise’s official 20th year, producers say look out for parties, events and new Power Rangers content. “We have no end in sight,” said Elie Dekel, president of Saban Brands, which owns the right to Power Rangers and its brands.
And they are doing it all for the fans. “Without them, we don’t exist,” longtime writer/director Tony Oliver said of the dedicated fan base, who often whooped and hollered as the cast vamped for the crowd. The Power Rangers panel spent far more time looking back at their legacy than they did looking ahead to their future. On this day, it was about celebrating the Power Rangers influence, their Mighty Morphine accomplishments. And they all were able to exist together, in Power Rangers harmony.