The Inverse Interview

"You Never Stop Being a Power Ranger." Netflix's Power Rangers Stars Hint at More to Come

Mighty Morphin stars David Yost and Walter Jones might not be done with Power Rangers.

Originally Published: 
Walter Jones and David Yost in 'Power Rangers: Once & Always'
The Inverse Interview

There can never be a full reunion for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But for fans, the power lives on.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always is a new hourlong Netflix special that marks the 30th anniversary of the TV phenomenon that premiered in August 1993. But with age comes maturity and wisdom, even for Angel Grove’s teenagers with attitude.

Once & Always has all the karate-kicking action and dinosaur robots fans fondly remember. But the reunion also grapples with heavier themes like death and legacy, which few kids’ shows dared to explore in the Clinton years.

“Walter and I went through so much together when we started this show. We had no idea the success it would be,” David Yost tells Inverse. “To be here 30 years later, to know we have such a diehard fanbase, is very humbling and an honor for us.”

In Once & Always, most of the surviving Power Rangers cast return to say “It’s Morphin’ Time!” The reunion special follows Zack the Black Ranger (Walter Jones) and Billy the Blue Ranger (David Yost) as they mentor a teenager named Minh (Charlie Kersh), the new Yellow Ranger. Minh seeks to uphold the legacy of her fallen mother Trini, played by the late Thuy Trang in the original series.

It wasn’t enough to simply make a new episode like it’s 1993 again. For the actors, a lot of changes had to happen on both sides of the camera. First, Jones and Yost believed it was long past due to pay remembrance to cast member Trang, who died of a vehicular accident in 2001.

“It was beyond time we paid tribute to Thuy,” Walter Jones tells Inverse. “When she passed, [our audience] were still kids and that’s not something we wanted to bring up to them. But they remembered. Now they’re grown. And they want to talk about it too. So it was a great way to pay homage to her in this 30th anniversary special.”

“Once a Ranger, always a Ranger. That should be a clue that you never stop being a Power Ranger.”

“Our fan base are adults at this point,” adds Yost. “It was important we give them a mature version of Power Rangers so they would be engaged, as opposed to what we did in the ‘90s that was geared towards children. Walter and I got to have some dramatic and serious scenes. That was fun, because we never got to do that before.”

The actors praise 16-year-old co-star Charlie Kersh for embodying the spirit of their late friend and keeping an identity of her own. In Once & Always, Kersh’s Minh tries to activate her mother’s Power Morpher (the device all Power Rangers use to transform). But it’s not until Minh learns the responsibility of the power that she becomes the Yellow Ranger.

“What an honor for us to have somebody playing Trini’s daughter,” Yost says. “There’s a playfulness to her, but also a confidence like Thuy had. There’s this duality going on within her [character], about really wanting to take on this power and the power not working for her.”

Streaming now on Netflix, Power Rangers: Once & Always is a 30th anniversary special for the Power Rangers franchise with original stars Walter Jones and David Yost, joined by Charlie Kersh as Minh, the new Yellow Ranger.


Still, Jones found filming Once & Always “surreal” in its dramatic scenes. The lines separating reality and fiction blurred as Billy and Zack come to terms with Trini’s death, just as the actors did when Trang passed. “To have scenes talking about the death of our fictional character friend, who was truly our friend we’ve also lost, it was a weird moment,” he says.

But Jones and Yost felt if they can power through it, so can their audience. “At this point our primary fans are between [the ages] 30 and 45, and they want more mature stories,” Jones says. “It was awesome to bring that to them, and allow it to be something everybody can enjoy that’s just a little more hard-hitting.”

“I’m impressed when I look back at what we did in the ‘90s.”

A stronger infrastructure was a power-up from how the show was made three decades ago. “In this [Netflix special], we had rehearsal for weeks before we shoot. Back then we were shooting four scripts every two weeks,” explains Jones. “We had a half hour to put together a fight. We had to come in and knock it out.” Often the actors’ mistakes ended up in the final edit, and there was “less time to perfect what we wanted.”

“I’m impressed when I look back at what we did in the ‘90s,” Yost says. “We actually did an amazing job. It was a whole different process. Now in Once & Always, [we have] a higher budget, higher quality. Fans can see how it evolved from what we did in the ‘90s to now.”

Other former Power Rangers stars Steve Cardenas (far left) and Catherine Sutherland (far right) join Once & Always, reprising their roles and fill in for absent heroes.


In its inception, Power Rangers hinged on universal childhood dreams of being superheroes with your best friends. Over time, fans have felt losses that have forced them to grow up. Besides Trang, Jason David Frank — who played the popular Green and White Ranger — died of suicide in 2022. The special pays tribute to both in its end credits.

But even if the Power Rangers team will forever be incomplete, it’s more important than ever for those still around to get the band together. While Once & Always is philosophically similar to other reunion specials that have sprung up in the streaming wars — it’s shamelessly nostalgic, and celebratory of the the Power Rangers’ place in millennial pop culture — it stands out as an unexpectedly poignant reminder that the realities of adulthood don’t have to kill your dreams. It honors childhood heroes both real and make-believe, and shows how to move forward.

“It was more exciting for us to come back and do a scripted special, to see where our characters are in their lives,” Yost explains. “Hopefully because of the hype, it goes well and we’ll continue and maybe do more. As the title says, once and always. Once a Ranger, always a Ranger. That should be a clue that you never stop being a Power Ranger.”

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always is streaming on Netflix.

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