30 years ago, stock footage from Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger was repurposed for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to give American audiences a brand-new story featuring teenagers with attitude fighting the forces of evil. The result launched a popular franchise, and Power Rangers is still going strong across numerous types of media. In a few months, the franchise will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a standalone special called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always, and while several familiar faces will be back for this story, there are some Power Rangers fans online who are upset that the late Jason David Frank was excluded. However, that’s not the case at all.
For context, Jason David Frank died at the age of 49 on November 19, 2022, but Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always was filmed prior to his passing. Frank starred in the Power Rangers franchise as Tommy Oliver, who starred out as the Green Ranger in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, then became the White Ranger. Frank had previously returned for anniversary episodes like Power Rangers Wild Force’s “Forever Red,” Power Rangers Super Megaforce’s “Legendary Battle” and Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel’s “Dimensions in Danger,”but in May 2022 on a Facebook livestream (via Yahoo!), Frank said that he would not participate in the Power Rangers franchise’s 30th anniversary event. In fact, he said that he’d “done enough for the Power Rangers brand,” and at that point he was focused on making his movie Legend of the White Dragon.
So there was never a scenario where Jason David Frank was going to participate in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always. However, as you’ll see below in the behind-the-scenes featurette for the special, we will see the Green Ranger in action. So two possibilities come to mind. The first, and most plausible, possibility is that Tommy is appearing in this special, but he’ll stay suited the entire time and either remain silent or be voiced by another actor. The second possibility is that the Green Ranger mantle has been passed to one of the familiar faces we will see in Once & Always.
Who are those familiar faces, you ask? Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always will see the return of David Yost’s Billy Cranston, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ Blue Ranger; Walter E. Jones’ Zack Taylor, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ first Black Ranger; Steve Cardenas’ Rocky DeSantos, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ second Red Ranger; Catherine Sutherland’s Kat Hillard, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ second Pink Ranger; Karan Ashley as Aisha Campbell, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ second Yellow Ranger; and Johnny Yong Bosch as Adam Park, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ second Black Ranger. While Billy, Zack, Rocky and Kat are confirmed to be redonning their respective Ranger suits, Aisha and Adam are shown wearing S.P.D. (Space Patrol Delta) uniforms, thus tying Once & Always to Power Rangers S.P.D. from 2005. Still, maybe there will come a moment where one of them (I’m thinking Adam specifically) will have to jump in as the new Green Ranger.
Along with the aforementioned individuals, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always will include Barbara Goodson and Richard Horvitz respectively reprising the voices of Rita Repulsa and Alpha, as well as Charlie Kersh as Minh, daughter of Trini Kwan, the first Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Yellow Ranger. Trini was played by Thuy Trang, who died in 2001, and Once & Always will be dedicated to both her and Jason David Frank. The original series also starred Austin St. John and Amy Jo Johnson as the first Red and Pink Rangers, respectively.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always arrives to Netflix subscribers on April 19. This year will also see the debut of Power Rangers Cosmic Fury on the same streaming platform, continuing the story from the Power Rangers Dino Fury seasons. Netflix is also developing a more adult-oriented Power Rangers series that The Witcher writer Jenny Klein is working on with The End of the F***ing World’s Jonathan Entwistle, who’s also attached to a Power Rangers reboot movie involving time travel.