It’s morphin’ time! The original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers only aired for two years, but it became a ’90s phenomenon — and spawned a ton of spinoffs and sequels.
The first iteration of the kids’ TV show premiered in the United States in August 1993 and followed five “teenagers with attitude” who were selected by Zordon to team up in a fight against evil sorceress Rita Repulsa. In addition to being martial arts experts, the teens each drove their own giant vehicles called Zords, which could be combined to create an even bigger machine called the Megazord.
Scenes of the Power Rangers in their everyday clothes were original to the American edition of the series, but many action sequences were comprised of repurposed footage from the Japanese Super Sentai franchise. Despite the less-than-perfect special effects, the show was an immediate hit in the U.S., inspiring a massive line of must-have toys and merchandise for ’90s kids.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers aired for three seasons from 1993 to 1995, but the world-saving didn’t stop there. A big-screen adaptation — Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie — hit theaters in June 1995, and the show continued with additional seasons under different titles: Power Rangers Zeo, Power Rangers in Space, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy and more. A film reboot premiered in 2017, with Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa and Bill Hader as the voice of robot Alpha 5.
Though the series cycled through many different casts over the years, the most well-known lineup is arguably the original: Austin St. John as the Red Ranger, Amy Jo Johnson as the Pink Ranger, David Yost as the Blue Ranger, Thuy Trang as the Yellow Ranger and Walter Emanuel Jones as the Black Ranger. Jason David Frank later joined the cast as the Green Ranger and later the White Ranger.
Johnson made her TV debut on the series, which she didn’t initially know was so popular. “The most vivid memory was when we went to Hawaii for an appearance,” she recalled in a 2013 interview with Complex. “We didn’t realize how huge the show was until we landed at the airport and 10,000 people had come to see us! We had no security and nearly got lei’d to death. I remember Jason Frank in front of me with so many leis on him that I could only see his eyes. It was quite frightening.”
Frank, who died in November 2022, joked that fans sometimes had trouble remembering that the Power Rangers weren’t real, in part because producers originally didn’t want the actors to use their real names in fan club videos. “One time, one of the kids asked, ‘Where were the Power Rangers during the Oklahoma City bombing?'” Frank recalled. “After that question, I told [cocreator] Haim Saban and everybody, ‘You better let the kids know that we’re actors, because what’s happening right now is that these kids think we’re real, and I don’t want to feel like I’m letting them down.'”
Keep scrolling to see where the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers cast is now.