Since it was first shown on American television in the early 1990s and presented in various versions since then, the Power Rangers franchise has not only lasted for generations, but has also become a cultural linchpin of popular culture. With the first season premiering in August 1993 on the Fox Kids programming block, kids were introduced to characters like the wizard Zordon and his robot sidekick Alpha-5, the menacing villain Rita Repulsa and her army of treacherous monsters. But more importantly, five teens with situations suddenly popped onto our TV screens for the first time that day and valiantly defended Earth each week against the evil alien witch and her creations.
Many fans of the original Power Rangers, who grew up with these Saturday morning heroes so long ago, have been anxiously awaiting the day when the original characters will once again grace our screens. While it is true that many of the cast members have returned for later seasons in special crossovers such as the episode of Power Rangers in space named Always a chance and the episode from Power Rangers: Beast Morphers named network connectionNothing has been done to fully recapitulate the nostalgic flashbacks of the Mighty Morphin series thus far. That was until the announcement of the 30th anniversary live-action special that will be released exclusively on Netflix Power Rangers Mighty Morphin: Once and Always.
While highly entertaining, a behind-the-scenes short film released in January on the official Power Rangers YouTube channel left the biggest questions unanswered regarding the momentous occasion. On March 23, Netflix added to the hype by uploading an actual trailer that offers a clearer picture of what we’ll see in this long-awaited nostalgic encounter between the forces of good and evil. With the ever-important villain redesigned and the death of a vigilante waiting, let’s take a peek inside Once and always.
Sudden death shakes the world of Power Rangers
The fade reveals the Blue Ranger (played by none other than a returning David Yost) about to take on a group of putty rangers atop a tall grassy mountain. With the camera skewing in the air to capture all the action and tense music playing, it is revealed to the audience that the newest threat to the world is a cyborg version of Rita Repulsa called Robo Rita. She finally announces, after an undisclosed amount of time, that a new body has been found that resonates. A close-up of her character finally reveals the terrifying and frightening details of this robot’s face.
With shock too hard to deal with, the audience watches as the Blue and Black Rangers are stunned by this revelation. Rita and her lexicons use this feature, brutally beating the Blue Ranger. As the electronic witch says it’s time for revenge, she draws dark red energy into her ornate staff from a larger off-screen source, then directs the charged energy into the heart of the dispersed blue ranger. To fend off the Putty, the camera quickly cuts to the yellow guard and then to three bright explosions that take up the entire screen. With their helmets off, Billy and Zack (played by the original actor, Walter Emanuel Jones) are saddened and horrified by the damage done to Robo Rita. The Green, Red, and Pink Rangers join them at the edge of a cliff, and they all look down. It appears that this new threat has already killed the Yellow Ranger, Trini.
Remember her mother
Haunted by a dark image of Robo Rita, we are introduced to Minh Quan, daughter of the Yellow Ranger, played by Charlie Kirsch. Billy and Zack tell her that she should let them deal with this problem. However, a newly designed command center appears, and Billy discovers that the Space Witch is creating a time portal. Back in the fight, she eerily says that she will kill them all before Zordon can do anything about the current situation that is unfolding.
Mourning her loss, Minh looks at a photo of her mother. At the command center, Zack tells Billy that they have to make sure Rita doesn’t hurt anyone else, and knowing their mission, enlists Zordon’s help two more Iconic Guardians. Katherine Sutherland and Steve Cardenas pop out as Rocky and Cat. All four of them stand their ground, announce it’s morphine time, and go to a public place where they encounter two new monsters, a minotaur robot and a snake. With smoke billowing in the background and mounds in the area, the Red Ranger punches putty out of thin air. The title screen reads that this is going to be a great Morphin encounter.
Fighting to save the world
In epic fashion, explosions ring out in the background, and guards run toward the camera. With Karan Ashley and Johnny Yong Bosch stepping into Ayesha and Adam’s shoes once again, they wish the current team the best of luck from their satellite cast. As more street fighting takes place, Robo Rita cries out that this is now a reunion from what appears to be her lunar base. The previous tagline finished by saying that this feature has been in the making for 30 years.
Rocky and Zack teleport to the Angel Grove Youth Center, and right before their fight, he taunts the incoming Temples that they shouldn’t mess with this place. Then we cut to the Blue Ranger fighting Robo Rita, the Pink Ranger leading civilians to safety, and the Red Ranger jumping off a tall building. Finally, we see the signature Dinozords teetering on the scene and the original Megazord in space channeling blue energy into the Sword of Might. With a groovy cute version of the theme song playing over the animated logo, there’s a final clip of Zack and Minh in command as he comically assures everything will be okay by bragging that they’ve saved the world before.
We can all relive our childhood when… Power Rangers Mighty Morphin: Once and Always Coming to Netflix starting April 19th