2023 is a big year for the Power Rangers franchise, as it marks the 30th anniversary of when the franchise launched with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. To celebrate this big occasion, Netflix subscribers are being treated to a special titled Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once & Always, which, among other things, is bringing back a lot of veterans from the original show. As for the folks we won’t see in the special, a Once & Always clip has been released clarifying that while we won’t see two Mighty Morhpin’ heroes’ faces, we don’t need to worry about their fates.
The starring lineup of Power Rangers in this franchise installment will consist of David Yost’s Billy the Blue Ranger, Walter Emanuel Jones’ Zack the Black Ranger, Catherine Sutherland’s Kat the Pink Ranger and Steve Cardenas’ Rocky the Red Ranger. Longtime fans will remember that the latter two took over their respective Ranger mantles from Amy Jo Johnson’s Kimberly and Austin St. John’s Jason, and they’ve been called to do so once again. In the clip, it’s shown that Billy and Alpha 5 created proxy Power Coins that draw from a secondary connection to the Power Grid, allowing any of the Rangers to use Dino powers. Zack then points out how Zordon once said that “duplicating active powers is very dangerous,” but Kat and Rocky are willing to accept that risk, so they’re once again back in action as the Red and Pink Rangers.
The fact that it’s mentioned that the Pterodactyl and Tyrannosaurus are two “active” powers being duplicated means that Kimberly and Jason are also still harnessing them, and thus are still alive. Admittedly, one of the things exciting me about Once & Always is it feels a tad more adult than the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, particularly through Thuy Trang’s Trini the Yellow Ranger dying early on in the fight against the robotic Rita Repulsa. Trang passed away in 2001, so besides of showing her character fully suited up for a spell, it makes sense why the character is taken off the board. However, it would have been a bit much to have Jason and Kimberly perish as well.
Fortunately, this never looked to be an option, as there’s a moment in the Once & Always trailer where we see Trini’s fellow Rangers looking over a cliff after she’s seemingly fallen to her death. So now that we know Jason and Kimberly are still alive, then what’s happened to them? The first option that comes to mind is they were badly injured during the fight with Ria, requiring Kat and Rocky to fill their shoes. However, in the scene I just mention, the suited Kimberly and Jason looked ok, so another option is that Trini’s death hits them especially hard, and they decide to step to the sidelines. Either way, while we won’t see either of these characters in Once & Always when not fully morphed, at least there’s this clarification that can help fans rest a bit easy, even though we don’t know any specifics yet.
Given that we also know that Johnny Yong Bosch’s Adam and Karan Ashley’s Aisha will appear as members of S.P.R. (tied somehow to Space Patrol Delta from Power Rangers S.P.D.), that leaves just one Ranger from the Mighty Morphin’ era whose fate in this special hasn’t been clarified yet: Tommy the Green Ranger, who was played by the late Jason David Frank. Like Jason and Kimberly, we will see Tommy suited up, but Frank himself declined to appear in Once & Always. Since there’s no one being brought in to take over as the Green Ranger, it’s unclear what leads Tommy to being absent from a large portion of this story.
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once & Always will also feature Barbara Goodson and Richard Steven Horvitz vocally reprising Rita Repulsa and Alpha 5, respectively, and Charlie Kersh will play Minh, Trini’s daughter. The special premieres on April 19, and be sure to look what other new Netflix releases are coming up.