Sure, after 21 years, and countless incarnations, it’s fair to say there’ve been a LOT of actors associated with the Power Rangers franchise. That said, how do folks fare once they leave the world of spandex behind them? A lot of the voiceover talent went on to bigger and better things, so we don’t need to focus on Bryan Cranston, Nia Vardalos, or Alex Borstein; their stories are pretty well known at this point. No, I want to focus on the Rangers themselves.
To be pretty honest, there’s no life after Zordon. In the beginning, I’m sure the original team members were typecast, and had a tough time leaving the job behind them. In more recent years, Rangers’ tenure has become a bit more temporary, so it’s merely a line on a resume rather than something that defines a career. I thought it’d be interesting to try to look in on a few former Power Rangers and see where their careers have led them. Why now? Well, former Power Rangers RPM Yellow Ranger Rose McIver will be starring in The CW’s upcoming iZombie. Not only is this a big deal for a former PR actor, but this is also the first time that any of them has received a *starring* role in anything substantial. Anyway, I’m only going to be focusing on those who ended up with somewhat stable work, so don’t chime in that “He guest-starred on MTV’s Undressed that one time.”
10. Amy Jo Johnson
Amy Jo Johnson is the undisputed breakout star of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team when it comes to other acting jobs, and that’s still not saying much. She did two and a half seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but got out before ending up in any of the subsequent spinoff series. After she hung up her Power Bow, she went on to costar in Felicity on The WB for the next four years. After that, she focused on her music a bit, but later resurfaced in the Canadian drama Flashpoint for five seasons. She never became a big box office star, but she’s made a respectable career on television.
9. Johnny Yong Bosch
While you’re more likely to recognize Amy Jo’s face, you’ve probably heard Johnny’s voice more than you realize. As one of the replacement Rangers from the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Johnny Yong Bosch played Adam, who picked up the mantle of the Black Ranger.
Johnny stuck around for Power Rangers ZEO and through the first half of Power Rangers Turbo. Once he took off his morpher, he began working in the voiceover industry, recording for video games (Devil May Cry) and anime (Trigun). He might not be a household name, but he can still pay his bills! He maintained his ties with the franchise, however, as he made not one but two returns as the MMPR Black Ranger.
8. Patricia Ja Lee
Patricia came onto the scene as one of the replacement Rangers in Power Rangers Turbo. It came time to bid adieu to many of the Rangers we’d known since MMPR, and a new crop was asked to carry on the fight. This was the first time the entire team (save for one member) had been replaced at once, and it was the end of an era for the actors whose careers had been defined by being a Power Ranger. Patricia stayed on through Power Rangers In Space, and then took a page out of Johnny Yong Bosch’s playbook by getting into voiceover work (Resident Evil).
7. Cerina Vincent
Cerina Vincent got the movie roles that Amy Jo never got, but she still never became a household name. Cerina first appeared as Maya, the Yellow Ranger on Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. Lost Galaxy is the season that started the trend of replacing the cast every season, so at this point, most Rangers are pretty disposable. More importantly, they now have a shorter amount of time to parlay their fifteen minutes into something substantial.
In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Maya was an alien girl who ran around in a halter top and a loincloth. So, it wasn’t too big of a stretch when she popped up in Not Another Teen Movie as Areola, the naked foreign exchange student. She later costarred in Cabin Fever, making it seem like she was on the rise. Then, it all just kinda stopped. Last I heard, she was guest starring on a show on TV Land.
6. Archie Kao
Cerina wasn’t the only one to come out of Lost Galaxy. Her costar, Archie Kao, played Kai, the Blue Ranger. The LG team members were a bit older than high schoolers, so Kai was kind of an uptight soldier. This was a bit of a departure as, up to this point, most Rangers had been somewhat laid back teenagers. After his one-year stint as a Ranger ended, he found himself on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as audiovisual tech Archie Johnson. More recently, he was Detective Sheldon Jin on NBC’s Chicago P.D.
5. Erin Cahill
In 2001, we were introduced to Erin Cahill as Jen, the Pink Ranger in Power Rangers Time Force. Her addition to the franchise was a big deal because it was the first time that the Pink Ranger was the actual leader of the team (in the American footage, at least). After her one-year stint in pink, she ended up on the short-lived Fox sitcom Free Ride. She popped up as Ted Moseby’s sister on How I Met Your Mother, and did a stint on General Hospital. More recently, she was a supporting cast member for ABC’s Red Widow. Looking at her IMDB, you’ll see that Erin has built quite the resume as the go-to guest star, but she still hasn’t landed anything stable as of yet. I still expect big things from her in the future.
Next came a whole slew of Kiwi actors as Disney bought the franchise, and production was moved to New Zealand. Most of them had acted on local soaps and whatnot, but never really made a dent outside of their home country. Still, a few PR actors managed to break out into bigger things.
4. Brandon Jay McLaren
Brandon Jay McLaren played Jack Landers – the first Black Red Ranger of the Disney era – on Power Rangers S.P.D. Once he hung up his morpher, Jay kept busy with Canadian shows like The Best Years and Being Erica. He made a dent stateside with CBS’s drama Harper’s Island, and also did stints on cable dramas The Killing and Falling Skies. Since 2013, he’s been a cast member on TNT’s Graceland, as undercover cop Dale Jakes.
3. Anna Hutchison
I’ve seen a total of two episodes of Power Rangers Jungle Fury, and I couldn’t figure out what the hell was happening. That said, I did notice Anna Hutchinson as the Yellow Ranger. When she powered down for the last time, she made her way to Spartacus: War of the Damned as Laeta. Later, she appeared in Cabin In the Woods, and more recently appeared on Anger Management. She had a lot of success with Australian/New Zealand series, but in the states she’s carving out an “Erin Cahill career” of guest star stints.
2. Eka Darville
Eka was the final Black Red Ranger of the Disney era, as the team leader on Power Rangers RPM. Once the dust settled, he also popped up on Spartacus: War of the Damned as slave Pietros. Later, he was in the pilot for Fox’s Ill-fated Terra Nova. More recently, he’s been appearing on The CW’s The Originals.
1. Jason David Frank
We’ve been talking about folks who have tried acting after Power Rangers, but there’s one guy who has fully embraced his Rangerdom into paying his bills to this day. That guy is Jason David Frank – the original Mighty Morphin Green/White, ZEO Red, Turbo Red, and Dino Thunder Black Ranger, Tommy Oliver. Yes, the man has worn a LOT of spandex.
While other former Rangers try to parlay their roles into more acting, JDF left that all behind. Sure, there’s the random Sweet Valley High or the aforementioned Undressed appearance, but he’s mainly been content to run his karate schools and make convention appearances. He loves the fans, and most of them love him right back. Some consider him the Greatest Ranger of All Time, and Bandai America seems to agree, as they keep pumping out Tommy-centric collectible merchandise. JDF can’t be used as a template, though. No other PR actor reached his level of fame during their run on the show, plus the magic era of PR was 1993-1997. Anyone who came along after that is pretty much merely a footnote in Ranger history.
So, whose career will Rose McIver’s mirror? Will she have a steady, yet quiet, acting career like Amy Jo Johnson, or will she disappear like Cerina Vincent? She’s already making history as the former Ranger who’s the star of her own show, but only time will tell how things play out.