By Rob Siebert
The Power Rangers franchise is about to celebrate 30 years of action and adventure with an anniversary special, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always, that’s set to release April 19 on Netflix.
The much-anticipated special got a long-awaited trailer this week…
Once & Always promises to be something special for Power Rangers fans, specifically those of us who grew up with the original Mighty Morphin show. But while the trailer answers a few lingering questions fans have had relating to the story, a few lingering queries and doubts remain. At least in my bulbous, German head. Let’s touch on some of those, shall we?
1. The question of Trini’s death
We’ve known for awhile now that actress and martial artist Charlie Kersch would be playing a character named Minh, the daughter of Trini, the original Yellow Ranger. Naturally, this sparked questions about how the franchise would, decades after her actress Thuy Trang’s tragic death in 2001, handle her not being there. Thanks to the above trailer, we now have an answer: The Trini character, in her Yellow Ranger outfit for obvious reasons, is killed off by Robo-Rita. It looks like she gets zapped trying to save Billy, and then falls off a cliff.
That’s…not how I would have handled it, necessarily. I’d have done it off screen, and maybe kept things a little vague as to how it happened. Maybe not have her death be the inciting incident that it apparently is here.
But at the same time, I understand that fans have had more than two decades to think about Thuy Trang’s death, the Trini character, etc., and come up with different scenarios in their own minds. When something like this actually plays out on screen, and it’s different than you envision, it can be jarring. In truth, based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s nothing wrong with how Once & Always handles Trini’s death. At the very least, it gives the character the heroic send-off she deserves.
2. When did Billy get back from Aquitar?
David Yost, who played the original Blue Ranger Billy, was famously absent from the show when his character was written off. (David Yost had walked off the set, for reasons we wouldn’t know until many years later.) They slapped together a story about him suddenly aging rapidly and having to journey to the aquatic planet of Aquitar to get better. An older actor was brought in to play Billy, an the character was sent off never to be seen again. Until now.
Given the attention Once & Always appears to be giving to to details, as well as the show’s history, I can only assume we’re going to get some sort of explanation for why and when Billy came back. It doesn’t have to be much. A simple expository line would be fine.
Either way, as much as anybody else’s return to the show, David Yost’s comeback deserves to be celebrated.
3. What have the Rangers been doing since we last saw them?
Some of these characters have been back before. Johnny Yong Bosch came back for a pair of episodes in 2007 to celebrate the show’s 15th anniversary. Steve Cardenas (Rocky) and Catherine Sutherland (Katherine) were both back as recently as the 25th anniversary episode of Power Rangers Ninja Steel. But Once & Always will be the first chance we’ve had to place emphasis on some of those characters since we last saw them. So naturally, certain questions come to mind. What they’ve been doing, whether they have families and children, etc.
Again, these aren’t things we need to devote extensive time to. Simple expository lines will do. But it can obviously be more than that. Based on what we’ve seen, Adam and Aisha have obviously been up to something together (more on that in a moment). You’ve got to be quick to catch it in the trailer, but Rocky can be seen in firefighter garb (shown above). We also know that Tommy, who we don’t see in the special, has a son named JJ. If we’re to believe, as we’ve been told, that the BOOM! Studios comics are (at least somewhat) canon, then Katherine is JJ’s mother.
These are the kinds of little details that geeks like me obsess over. Here’s hoping we get some more.
4. What is S.P.A.?
When the first images from the set were released online, fans were quick to notice that Adam and Aisha were wearing matching shirts with tags that read “SPA.” Assuming they don’t work at some kind of intergalactic health spa, this invited plenty of speculation about their connections to SPD, the interplanetary law enforcement agency we saw in 2005’s Power Rangers SPD. As SPD took place in the future (the year 2025, to be specific), are we to assume SPA is some sort of predecessor to SPD?
Again, little details…
5. Where did Robo-Rita come from?
Our enemy for Once & Aways is a robotic version of Rita Repulsa, the original Power Rangers baddie. Her line, “I found a new body!” is a little perplexing. It seems to imply she was drifting around in some invisible, perhaps spiritual form for a long time. That doesn’t fit with what we saw happen to Rita in “Countdown to Destruction” back in Power Rangers in Space. But we’ll see what the special tells us…
So where did this new Robo-Rita come from? It could have been any number of places, I suppose. But I do know one guy who could very well have had a hand in it…
Email Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check us out on Twitter.