By Octavio Karbank
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers; it’s a TV with a long-lasting legacy and a fan-base that just won’t quit. There’s something pure and fun about the Power Rangers that keeps people coming back for more. Representing teamwork and diversity, yet all the while presenting these inspirational themes through the lens of punching monsters, there’s a good reason why after two decades people still line up to see their childhood heroes.
Even before the New York Comic Con Power Rangers panel started, you could feel a special kind of eagerness amongst the audience. And so, prior to actors Walter Jones and David Yost even appearing, the Power Rangers theme song began playing through the speakers, and a volunteer and audience member got up and led the entire audience in singing the complete Power Rangers theme song. Rarely have I been witness to such a spectacle, much less been part of one. It was pretty great! Following the song, were constant cheers of “It’s Morphin’ Time!” until finally Walter Jones (the Black Ranger) and David Yost (the Blue Ranger) came on stage to a round of titanic applause.
Plopping their respective morphers and Power Ranger helmets in front of them, the two actors greeted us all with wonderful enthusiasm, clearly excited to be present. Every once in a while from then on, Mr. Jones would give the signal, and the audience would let out a “It’s Morphin’ Time!”
The two guys reminisced, remembering the last time they were in New York together was in 1994 at FAO Schwartz. Afterwards, they ended up all playing in the snow in central park with the rest of the Rangers. Yet not wanting to waste any time, we immediately went into the Q & A portion of the panel.
I’ll tell you right now, while there might not have been any juicy news to get announced, I couldn’t think of another place I’d rather be. True to the spirit of Power Rangers, there was a general air of acceptance and respect that floated about. Many were giggling excitedly during the whole thing, just thrilled to be there.
– The first question was directed at Walter Jones, asking him about Hip Hop Kido, the dancing martial arts he developed in Mighty Morphin’ and whether it would be a practical form of combat. Walter said that while it might be pretty useless in MMA, in a street fight, it’d be a pretty good way to distract an opponent.
– When asked about the upcoming Power Rangers movie and whether any of the new Power Ranger actor have reached out to ask for advice, David Yost said that he did talk to the new Blue Ranger and the both of them discussed Billy and their two different Billys.
– A fan asked if they read the current Boom! Studios Mighty Morphin’ comics line, to which they both said yes, and that they absolutely loved it.
– As for their favorite moment? David Yost exclaimed that since he’s been in 200 episodes, there are too many to count. That said, he loved the whole process. However, the worst parts to film were the dancing scenes, he continued, if only because you’re having to dance and there’s no actual music playing.
– In talking about being part of the fandom, and all the love that’s sent their way, David said it’s extremely humbling and he never thought they’d be there 23 years later. All the fan’s stories about how they were inspired by Power Rangers have moved David and Walter throughout the years. They feel truly blessed that they could be a part of people’s lives in such a positive way. David said, “We don’t take any of you for granted,” and Walter nodded, saying, “Every time I hear someone who was inspired, I say ‘Thank you, Lord, for this gift.’”
– Their favorite villain? Lord Zedd.
– If they could make a Power Ranger movie, what would it be about? Walter’s version would feature the original five rangers having to come together one last time. A lot of different stories and/or forgotten plotlines would also get wrapped up.
– How have they stayed looking so young? For David Yost it’s all about staying active. He has Hiking With Fans as a way to encourage people to be active. “Get out and enjoy where you live.” Walter Jones said, “cocoa butter and positivity…my mom taught me to be a glass half-full kind of guy…someone’s life is always worse, so it’s best to stay in the light.
– In the year 2016 within the Power Rangers Universe, what are Billy and Zack doing? Are they still active Rangers? Walter said he doesn’t think Zack has stayed active, but he’s still fighting for positivity. For David, “Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.” Billy is now like Captain Kirk and will come back to help humanity go to space and develop new technologies.
– Towards the end of the panel, David went on to say that Power Rangers was about teamwork and diversity. It’s a theme that important in the 90s and just as, if not more important today. They are principles that translate well in 2016; it’s all about love.
While not the most bombastic panel, it simply didn’t matter. It was one for the books! People laughed, they shared their stories, and you felt the Power Rangers community grow closer together. Power Rangers is about unity and the power in working together, the strength you find in other people, and realizing your own potential. In that, I couldn’t have been happier. I will forever remember this panel, along with the love and joy of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers!
Octavio Karbank is a writer and bona fide Whovian. Living in Massachusetts, you can find him on Twitter @TymeHunter and his blog www.cozmicventures.com