Wow, Netflix's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Special Looks Like Everything I've Been Waiting For As A Longtime Franchise Fan

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Once and Always' Black, Blue, Pink and Red Rangers
(Image credit: Netflix)

If you’re like me and grew up in that 1990s, then there was no escaping the craze that was Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. While the Power Rangers franchise as a whole has thrived over the last three decades and introduced many different Ranger teams, it’s safe to say that the Mighty Morphin’ days, which ran from 1993 to 1995 (plus one theatrical movie set in an alternate continuity) remain the height of its popularity. That’s why it’s so great that this year, along with Power Rangers Cosmic Fury continuing the narrative that began in Dino Fury, Netflix subscribers are also getting Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once and Always, a special celebrating the original show’s 30th anniversary.

While I watched many of the Power Rangers shows that followed Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, I haven’t been keeping a close eye on the franchise for a while now outside of checking out the 2017 reboot movie that spotlighted new versions of the original Mighty Morphin’ heroes. However, I was already on board to check out Once and Always after seeing official images and a behind-the-scenes featurette, and the trailer for the special has only confirmed that this the sort of entertainment offering I’ve been waiting for as a longtime Power Rangers fan. Watch the trailer for yourself below:

So what has me so excited about Once and Always? I’m glad you asked, here are the big things sticking out to me a month ahead of its release.

David Yost and Walter Emanuel Jones in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Return Of Billy And Zack

Although Jason David Frank did not participate in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once and Always before his passing, this special definitely isn’t lacking in familiar faces. The two I’m especially excited about, though are David Yost and Walter Jones reprising Billy, the Blue Ranger and Zack, the Black Ranger. We haven’t seen Yost and Jones in the franchise  since their original exits, and while there have been a few instances over the decades where we’ve seen the Mighty Morphin’ Blue and Black Rangers in action, those were stunt performers wearing the suits, so obviously the characters never took their helmets off.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m jazzed the other folks we’re reuniting with in Once and Always, including Steve Cardenas’ Rocky and Catherine Sutherland’s Kat suiting back up as the Red and Pink Rangers five years after doing so in the Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel episode “Dimensions in Danger.” But after decades of David Yost and Walter Jones maintaining good relations with the Power Rangers fanbase, it’s nice that these two have finally been giving an opportunity to return to these characters. And while it’s been a while since Billy and Zack’s original Ranger tenures, they, along with Rocky and Kat, look like they can still bring the hurt to bad guys threatening Earth… with attitude!

Photo of Thuy Trang in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Once and Always

(Image credit: Netflix)

It Feels More Adult Than The Original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, But In A Balanced Way

Let’s address the elephant in the room. On September 3, 2001, Thuy Trang, who played Trini, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ original Yellow Ranger, died in a car crash. As such, although we will see a performer playing Trini costumed as the Yellow Ranger briefly in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once and Always the trailer revealed that she dies while the team is battling Rita Repulsa, who’s returned in robotic form. This leads to Trini’s daughter, Charlie Kersh’s Minh, wanting to seek vengeance, but Billy and Zack want her to stay out of it and leave this latest crisis up to the Power Rangers to solve.

Although Power Rangers viewers are used to seeing monsters literally explode after being defeated in battle week after week, the death of human characters has rarely been addressed in this franchise, which makes sense to a degree since it’s primarily geared towards children. But between Trini being killed off and Rita Repulsa wanting to go back in time and kill our heroes before they became Rangers, Once and Always isn’t shying away from addressing mortality. At the same time, it’s not like this special is going to be an R-rated gore fest. Rather, it looks to be delivering a more mature approach for the older fans to enjoy, but still keeping the story accessible enough to younger viewers by not going too intense with these adult themes.

Power Rangers running with explosion behind them

(Image credit: Netflix)

It’s Not Leaning Too Heavily On The Wider Power Rangers Mythology

Chances are that a lot of people who decide to watch Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once and Always either haven’t seen watched a Power Rangers TV show since the original, or perhaps jumped off after the main narrative arc that continued into Alien Rangers, Zeo, Turbo and In Space (with Lost Galaxy serving as a nice epilogue). So obviously it would feel daunting if one needed to know 30 years of Power Rangers history to enjoy Once and Always, but that doesn’t appear to be the case whatsoever.

Granted, the special will likely need to include some key information to refresh memories, such as explaining why Zack left the original Power Rangers lineup and remind fans about how we last saw Billy living on the planet Aquitar. Overall though, as long as you’re a fan of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, there’s no need to crack open a textbook on what’s happened in over the last 30 years in the franchise. Don’t get caught up in the minutiae of Ranger history; just enjoy the ride of watching some old friends battle Putties and thwarting Rita Repulsa’s latest scheme. 

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once and Always premieres on Netflix Wednesday, April 19. If you’re curious about what else the franchise has coming up besides this special and Cosmic Fury, it was announced last June that The Witcher’s Jenny Klein will showrun a Power Rangers series that’s separate from the franchise’s more kid-friendly fare. She’s working alongside Jonathan Entwistle, who was tapped in 2020 to expand the Power Rangers universe and was once attached to a reboot movie involving a team of Rangers traveling to the 1990s, but it’s unclear if that project is still happening. 

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.