Power Rangers has been entertaining audiences across the globe for almost 25 years now. Since the team's initial debut in the early 1990s, Power Rangers has become an entertainment powerhouse, with 20 different television series stretching across 24 seasons and $6 billion is retail merchandise sales. For many kids who grew up in the 90s, Power Rangers was a childhood staple. The TV franchise, which was based off repurposed footage from the long-running Japanese series Super Sentai, began airing on the Fox Kids programming block in 1993 and became a surprise smash hit, catapulting to the forefront of pop culture with its highly successful line of action figures and toys by Bandai.
Power Rangers has continued even to this day in different incarnations such as Power Rangers in Space, Power Rangers Zeo, and even Power Rangers Time Force. The latest series, set to air from 2017 to 2018, is named Power Rangers Ninja Steel and is the 24th season of the franchise. Earlier this year the Rangers even returned to the big screen for their self-titled reboot Power Rangers. Among them is Naomi Scott, the latest actress to play the Pink Ranger. Why does Pink matter so much, you ask?
The Pink Ranger is an important character because she provides female representation in a male dominated franchise and genre. We decided to dive into facts about this crucial, yet often overlooked member of the Power Rangers team. Here are 20 shocking things you never knew about the Pink Power Ranger.
20 A Great Legacy
A staggering 14 different actresses have worn the helmet of the Pink Ranger. Since Power Rangers' conception, Amy Jo Johnson, Catherine Sutherland, Patricia Ja Lee, Valerie Vernon, Melody Perkins, Erin Cahill, Alycia Purrott, Angie Diaz, Rhoda Montemayor, Erika Fong, Christian Masterson, Camille Hyde, and Chrystiane Lopes have previously stepped into the legendary role. Each of them has brought their own style and flair, and while some have been more popular than others, all of them have contributed to the Ranger's legacy.
The Pink Ranger is one of the most important characters to the Power Rangers franchise, especially since female superheroes are still so lacking, and the Pink and Yellow Rangers are still iconic to many. Naomi Scott is the latest to wear the pink armor, taking on the role in the 2017 Power Rangers film. Her performance was met with enthusiasm from long-time fans and got the stamp of approval from the original Pink Ranger herself.
19 They Really Could Have Been Anyone
When the cast of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were chosen, it was an open casting call from thousands of people who showed up to try out for the show. Actor Austin St. John, who played the Red Ranger in the first season, told Entertainment Tonight: "people just came in from everywhere and I was convinced there was not a chance in you-know-what I was ever going to get anywhere near this... and I was wrong."
Out of the thousands, the casting directors managed to narrow it down to six groups of five teenagers. Amy Jo Johnson, the first Pink Ranger, was grouped with St. John, David Yost (who would play Billy, the Blue Ranger), and Walter Jones (who played Zack, the Black Ranger). The group instantly had chemistry and began hanging out outside of the auditions. To everyone's surprise and delight, their group would be the one chosen, and the rest is history.
18 A Dated Accent
The first Pink Ranger, Kimberley Ann Hart, was the template for all the ones to follow. Possibly because the writers knew that Amy Jo was the strongest actor in the cast, Kimberly was shown as dramatic and emotional compared to the other Rangers, and especially in the 1995 feature film. The character spoke with a "valley girl" accent in early episodes, but this was soon dropped (by then the concept was already dated).
Her airhead personality was also changed: she was shown to be proficient in sign language as early as the fifth episode, and other episodes establish her as an A/B student. Much like the real-life actress, Kimberley was portrayed as a capable gymnast and possessing some musical talent. As the Pink Ranger evolved, she eventually became known for her sarcastic quips and for having the most candid weapon in the form of a Power Bow. Incidentally, the Pink Ranger was the first one ever seen on screen.
17 It Almost Didn't Happen For Her
Johnson almost didn't go to the audition where she was chosen for the role of the Pink Ranger, however. In fact, Johnson had made the decision to leave Los Angeles right before she was cast. Her first six months in L.A. had been rough. She'd moved out to the West Coast from New York with her boyfriend, and they had subsequently broken up; she sold everything she owned and was planning on moving back home.
In an interview with Pink Spandex, Johnson said: "The night before I was moving, I met this man named Walter Rainley, who ended up being my acting coach for about 10 years after that," she said. "I went home for about two weeks. He called my parents... and was like, 'She really should come back.'" She did, and began taking an acting class with casting director Katy Wallin, who was casting Power Rangers in her office that summer. She called Johnson and suggested she come on, which landed her the job as the Pink Ranger.
16 Sometimes A Girl's Just Gotta Lead
Pink is usually a subordinate color on the Power Ranger line-up. Despite being such a prominent character, the various incarnations of the Pink Ranger have only led the team on two occasions: once in Power Rangers Time Force, which was the ninth season of the television series, and once recently in the comic book series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink.
In the Time Force TV series, the Rangers mutiny against the leadership of Alex, the Red Ranger, and force him to give back the Red Time Force's morpher. This resulted in the Pink Ranger leading the team in live action for the first (and so far only) time in Rangers history. Unfortunately, the Screen Actors Guild strike led to an extra 10 episodes and a possible movie deal being scrapped. In the comic book work, Pink Ranger enjoys her own comic series with Kimberly Ann Hart leading the team.
15 Doing All Her Own Stunts...
Saban Entertainment, the production company responsible for adapting Japanese series like Maple Town, Noozles, Funky Fables, Samurai Pizza Cats, and the first three Digimon series for American audiences, sought out actors who could perform athletic feats like superheroes. Johnson and Yost were gymnasts, and Jones, St. John, and Frank were all martial artists. Sure enough, the crew ended up doing their own stunts for the first season, but without the luxury of time to figure them out.
Jones reminisced that unlike film productions where action sequences are planned weeks ahead of time, he was frequently given fifteen to thirty minutes before shooting to come up with something. Much of the action of Power Rangers was choreographed spontaneously. Johnson pointed out that it was a non-union show, that she had to do a lot of stunts, and the iconic helmets only had three tiny holes to breathe through. Johnson herself recalls a scene where she was hanging over a fire pit, which she described as "scary." Unsurprisingly, by the second season the crew had stunt doubles.
14 ...But Wasn't Paid Much
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a surprise hit, and before long Saban Entertainment was raking in loads of cash from merchandising, including action figures, helmets, weapons, Halloween costumes, video games, theme parks, and more, all capitalizing on the likeness of the Rangers' actors themselves. One would think the actors who made the Rangers come to life on the TV screens would have gotten a healthy cut of the profits.
Unfortunately, you'd be mistaken. "Literally, we were being paid, I think, tops $600 a week," Amy Jo Johnson said. The non-union show also gave none of them residuals, or royalty payments made to a performer. St. John once said they could've worked the window at McDonald's and made the same money for the first season. Working on Power Rangers involved hard work and around-the-clock shifts. Despite their efforts to unionize after the first season, Trang, Jones, and St. John didn't return for the third season and were replaced as the Yellow, Red, and Black Rangers respectively.
13 Creating Controversy
It doesn't take a historian to know Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a surprise success. The first season, which aired from 1993 to 1994, quickly became the highest-rated show for kids and launched a merchandising empire. Mighty Morphin would turn out to just be the first incarnation of the Rangers, but that doesn't mean the show was without its share of controversy. Early on in the series, questions were raised by fans and critics about the color choices for some of the Rangers, especially in the potentially racial overtones of Jones, an African-American, playing the Black Ranger and Thuy Trang, whose family was of Vietnamese ancestry, playing the Yellow Ranger.
Other critical commenters also noted that St. John, who played the Red Ranger, was of Native American ancestry, and that the Pink Ranger was the only one who wore a skirt and played up the ditzy white girl stereotypes. While the implication of the casting is still debated today, concerns have faded as the character of the Pink Ranger evolved away from "dumb blonde" stereotypes.
12 Once A Girl, Always A Girl
While we've had male Yellow Rangers in Power Rangers and Super Sentai, and we came close with the first Purple Ranger in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, the Pink Ranger is the only member of the team to have never been male. With the exception of Power Rangers S.P.D., the variants of the pink spandex suit have always sported skirts as well. Given that the color pink is typically thought of as feminine, the reasoning behind this choice is obvious. On the plus side, no Pink Ranger has been the only female on her respective team.
Curiously, the Pink Rangers often pilot Zords that feature little pink; they're usually white with pink trim. Pink Rangers also typically have the most straightforward weapons, almost always a variant on a power bow or laser blasters.
While there have been many actresses who stepped into the role of the Pink Ranger, that doesn't stop a glaring omission from showing in the legacy of the Pink armor: visibility. It's inarguable that the Pink Power Ranger is the most overlooked member of the core Rangers team. This is true for appearances in media and especially with merchandise. Chances are it comes down to gender politics and the fact that toymakers are skeptical that their primarily young male audience would want to play with a Pink Ranger action figure.
The shows are no better: in fact, the Pink Ranger is absent entirely from Power Rangers Wild Force, Power Rangers RPM, and Power Rangers Jungle Fury, replaced by the White Ranger, Black Rangers and others. Though with her own comic book series and the character's appearance in the 2017 movie, it seems the Pink Ranger will continue to be a part of the Power Rangers' legacy for years to come.
10 From The Screen To The Page
Released just last year, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink comic book mini-series spans six issues from 2016 to 2017. The story arc bridges the gap between the Mighty Morphin TV series and its sequel, Power Rangers Zeo. The Boom! Studios release follows Kimberly Ann Hart as she tries to bring her own team of Rangers together. Pink broke away from most Power Ranger media by making the Pink Ranger the main focus and portraying her leading the team.
Written by Brendan Fletcher and Kelly Thompson, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink received positive reviews from critics and audiences. In particular, the artwork from Daniele di Nicuolo and colorist Sarah Stern was praised, as well as the plot twists, seamless blending of old and new enemies, and the further development of the Pink Ranger as a character.
9 A Tragic End
Kendrix Morgan, the first Galaxy Pink of the Galaxy Rangers, became the first ever Power Ranger to be killed in the line of duty. Actress Valerie Vernon had to be written off the show due to being diagnosed with leukemia and having to undergo treatment. Saban kept her name in the credits so they could pay for her medical expenses, but her character was killed off. The Pink Ranger's departure was shown in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy as Morgan sacrificing herself for the greater good and saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the process.
Morgan's death became famous as one of the heavier moments in a show known to avert character deaths with mystical powers and sci-fi tech. It was also portrayed as very "final," and the episode left no avenue for the character to be resurrected.Thankfully, Vernon recovered. Her character was eventually brought back to life and became the Pink Galaxy Ranger again at the end of the season.
8 Leaving On Her Own Terms
The world was shocked when the massively popular Mighty Morphin Power Rangers announced that it was replacing three of its main actors midway through its second season. St. John, Jones, and Trang left the show and were quickly replaced as the Red, Black, and Yellow Rangers respectively. It was jarring to say the least for the most popular kid's show in America to replace its headline actors without warning, even including the traditional leader of the Red Ranger.
The cause was internal: the non-union status and low salaries of the show caused an uproar within the industry, and the actors resigned after negotiations for higher salaries and for the show to become union were denied. Having starred in over 100 episodes, Amy Jo Johnson soon followed suit and asked that her character Kimberly be written off the series partway through its third season. She reportedly feared being typecast and wanted to pursue other opportunities.
Johnson, at least, got a proper send-off: a 10-episode story arc focused on her character and building up to her exit. She was replaced as the Pink Ranger by Kat Hillard.
7 Living A Double Life
Kat Hillard's introduction as the new Pink Ranger came about in a very strange way: she was introduced to the Power Rangers series as a spy for Rita Repulsa. While under mind control, Kat (played by Catherine Sutherland) did remarkable things like transform into an actual cat, lure the Rangers into dangerous situations, and try to gain information on behalf of the sorceress. As the second person to don the pink armor, she made her debut in the third season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers already a secret enemy of the Rangers.
Overcoming the alien brainwashing, Kat eventually becomes an ally and gains a permanent spot on the team. Kat is the only Pink Ranger to serve on three different Power Rangers teams, including Mighty Morphin, the Zeo Rangers and the Turbo Rangers, each time taking the mantle of the Pink Ranger. Kat is notably the only person in the franchise known to have broken free of brainwashing with no outside help.
6 Giving A New Meaning To Evil Twin
Psycho Pink was a member of the Psycho Rangers, who were created as evil counterparts to the Space Rangers by the evil princess Astronema. Each one was designed to hunt down their counterpart Ranger by tracking their energy, voices, and communicators. Psycho Pink was based on the brain wave patterns of Cassie Chan, the third Pink Ranger. She was able to predict Cassie's every move and the weapons and tactics she would use. Instead of another disposable "monster of the week," Psycho Pink almost killed the Pink Ranger until she was unexpectedly betrayed by Psycho Yellow.
The dark counterpart to the Pink Ranger was popular enough to make a comeback in Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy. She was the only Psycho Ranger who survived long enough to try and enact vengeance on the team, though she was defeated through the combined efforts of the Galaxy Megazord and the Astro Megazord.
5 Taking Back The Caped Crusader
Whether you're a fan of the comic book crossover between the Power Rangers and the DC Comics' Justice League or not, it's allowed some interesting meetings to take place. The 2017 crossover series, Justice League/Power Rangers follows the Rangers as they end up stranded in the DC Universe, and team up with familiar superheroes like Batman against villains like Rita and Lord Zedd.
The ongoing series opens with Batman capturing Zack (the Black Ranger), and the Pink Ranger responds by doing the only logical thing: calling upon her Pterodactyl Battle Zord to pick up the Batmobile, with Batman conveniently inside. It's a pretty big deal when your superheroine makes a big enough impression to take back the Caped Crusader and impress The Flash in the process. Fortunately, the misunderstanding is soon cleared up and the two superhero teams fight side by side, but the time the Pink Ranger kidnapped Batman is worthy of legend.
4 A Unique Ride
In every incarnation of the Power Rangers from the Mighty Morphin series, the Pink Ranger Zords are themed on flight. The first Pink Ranger received the Pterodactyl Power Coin and the Pterodactyl Dinozord. Though her main weapons would be the twin lasers that fired lightning-like beams, the Pink Ranger was the only member of the team whose Zord was gifted with flight, and she once remarked that it had a nice stereo (even though never seen listening to music on it). The Pink Zord was arguably the best-looking and most practical of the original Dinozords, and formed the chest plate of the Rangers' Megazord. Curiously, Kimberly stored it in a volcano.
After the destruction of the flying machine, its remains were rebuilt into the Pterodactyl Firebird Thunderzord, which could create energy tornadoes to use against monsters. The Crane Ninjazord followed, which had the Pink Ranger forming the head of the Ninja Megazord.
3 Training The Chimp
Perhaps it came from turning into a cat herself, but if there was one thing Kat Hillard loved, it was animals. So much so that when she was tasked with taking care of a chimp named Kelly, she ended up teaching it in sign language, a skill the Pink Ranger was also trying to pick up at the time. Before long and with the help of Aisha Campbell, the Yellow Ranger (played by Karan Ashley), the monkey was soon practically fluent.
Of course, there's the whole thing where Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd transform it into the Sinister Simian monster, but it was still an impressive accomplishment. During the era of Power Rangers Zeo, Kat would also train a dog named Smokey for the fire department as partofacivicsproject. The dog eventually earned the honor of being a Sergeant in the new Angel Grove Search and Rescue Unit.
2 She's Had So Many Different Personalities
Instead of sticking to the same formula they already knew was a hit, the creators of Power Rangers decided to take risks when it came time to case a new Pink Ranger. This was first seen when new character Katherine Hillard became the second Pink Ranger. Kimberly and Kat were very different personality-wise, with Kimberly being more girly and Kat more worldly. But the contrasts don't end there. Cassie Chan (Patricia Ja Lee), the next Pink Ranger for Power Rangers Turbo and Power Rangers in Space, broke the pattern by being a tomboyish team player.
Other Pink Rangers, such as Mystic Force's hot-headed Vida Rocca, Samurai's optimistic big sister type Mia Watanabe, and Operation Overdrive's resident genius Rose Ortiz, just to name a few, have all given their particular style and personality to the role. Perhaps the most unique example is Jen Scotts from Time Force, who holds the honor of being the first Pink Ranger to serve as team leader.
1 Finding Success After The Show
Though she had to face accusations of being a "typical girly girl" and other stereotypes during her time as the Pink Ranger, after three years of television and two feature films, Amy Jo Johnson succeeded in making the role her own. She was a skilled actress and highly visible due to being the longest-serving female member of the series.
Though she is still best-known for her role as the first Pink Ranger, she defied being typecast. After her time on Rangers she quickly picked up a role as Julie Emrick on the TV series Felicity. Johnson would stay with that show for three seasons and make a special guest appearance in Season 4. Just this year, she wrote and directed her own feature film, the indie comedy The Space Between. Not only that, but she's also a singer-songwriter who has released three albums to date. Her own song "Cracker Jacks" is the theme song for The Space Between.