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When you think of Mariska Hargitay, the first thing that likely comes to mind is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as she’s been one of the leads on the long-running NBC series since the beginning. But several years before her tenure as Detective (now Captain) Olivia Benson began, Hargitay was performing in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie. If you don’t remember seeing her in the teenagers with attitude’s cinematic debut, that’s because she was fired in the middle of production.
Recently recalling her brief time on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie, where she was playing Dulcea, the alien warrior that gives them their new powers, Mariska Hargitay said:
I was so excited because I was going to Australia to play this queen. I get there, hair, makeup, prosthetics pieces, walking around like that, feeling pretty good.
Who can blame her? At the time, Mariska Hargitay was arguably best known for her time as Carly Fixx on the soap opera Falcon Crest, and she’d had minor roles on TV shows like Seinfeld and movies like The Perfect Weapon. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie afforded her the opportunity to not just play an integral character, but one that made her feel good while she was in the costume and makeup.
Alas, continuing in her interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Mariska Hargitay explained how she was let go from the production two months later after she decided to see her family during the holidays. As the actress put it:
I was there from November and then December, and then we were getting close to Christmas and they had me on hold a lot. And finally, around December 21, I said, ‘Hey, guys, this is great, but you kept me on hold too long. I gotta go.’ It’s Christmas. I think that’s only fair. I fly home, and January 3, I call them. I’m like, ‘OK, I’m ready.’ And they’re like, ‘Sweetie, you’re good. Don’t worry about it.’ Yes, and they fired me… because I wanted to go home for Christmas and be with my family.
Dulcea was ultimately played in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie by Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, whose credits include NYPD Blue, 24 and Lost. While it’s unfortunate that Mariska Hargitay was let go immediately after celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with her family, it is worth noting that Fitzpatrick was cast to play Dulcea before Hargitay.
According to an interview that Blue Ranger actor David Yost gave nearly a decade ago, he and his fellow Ranger performers filmed a bunch of scenes with Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, but after she got sick and needed to go to the hospital to undergo surgery, Mariska Hargitay was brought in as her replacement. But several weeks into shooting her scenes, evidently the studio wasn’t happy with how things were going with Mariska in the Dulcea role, so once Fitzpatrick had recovered, she was brought back in to resume her Dulcea duties.
So while things didn’t work out for Mairska Hargitay on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie, that wouldn’t be indicative of her future career prospects. Just four years later, she’d join Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which is now in its 21st season and is the longest-running drama series, an honor that was originally held in a tie by the original Law & Order and Gunsmoke.
As for the Power Rangers, while the franchise still has a foothold in the television realm and delivers a new cast of superpowered heroes every couple years, the last cinematic endeavor, 2017’s simply-named Power Rangers, earned mixed reviews and struggled at the box office. While a new movie is in the works, it looks like it’ll be another reboot rather than be a sequel to the last big screen adventure.