Power Rangers is a global phenomenon that’s endured reboots and reimaginings through 23 different versions and nearly 900 episodes since its inception in 1993. There’s something about the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, however, that has connected with fans young and old and stood the test of time. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia factor — it was the world’s first exposure to the Teenagers With Attitude after all — or it could be the strength of the world they created. Either way, MMPR is the most popular version of the Power Rangers, and the most popular Ranger amongst both fans and creators is by far the original Green Ranger.
When Tommy Oliver came onto the scene in the five-part storyline “Green With Evil,” fans were instantly gripped by this mysterious new Ranger. Let’s face it, he was a Ranger controlled by Rita Repulsa, with a sweet golden Dragon Shield that adorned his shoulders, who summoned a Godzilla-like Dragonzord from the ocean by playing a tune on his dagger — what’s not to love?! Tommy Oliver has returned to the franchise multiple times over the years too, returning once with the powers of the Green Ranger again. With the character’s appearance on TV, in film and even in continuing adventures in comics, CBR explores the darker underbelly of his shining career!
15. RITA STILL HAUNTED HIM
The popularity of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers almost ensured that their adventures would continue in one form or another, and in 2016 Boom Studios began a comic series that continues the storyline of Jason, Kimberly, Zack, Trini and Billy. The series takes place shortly after Tommy joined the team, and fills in the gaps on just how difficult he found it to adjust to life as one of the good guys.
It turns out that Tommy’s mental state is far more complicated than we were led to believe, as when we first see him interacting with his new friends, Rita Repulsa is still there in the back of his mind, whispering poison into his every waking thought. It makes a lot of sense, after all the evil moon witch had possessed Oliver for a while, commanding him to commit any number of villainous acts before he was rescued.
14. HE WASN’T MEANT TO STICK AROUND
It seems difficult to comprehend when talking about a Ranger that’s been in more episodes than any other and endured through five iterations of the show, but the original plan for the Green Ranger was for him to play a small role in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and then leave.
Thanks to an outpouring of fan support, however, Tommy Oliver’s Green Ranger hung around, which caused something of a headache when it came to finding enough Sentai footage to maintain his presence on the show. If you remember, there’s a point where the Green ranger became the White Ranger, and this was mainly because they ran out of footage of the Green Ranger. This would be the first of many occasions when Tommy would undergo a change of powers/costume in order to keep him on the show.
13. HE’S TEASED AT THE END OF THE 2017 MOVIE
A dark secret purely because the movie wasn’t seen by as many people as the studio would have liked (which is a shame because it’s better than you’d expect!), but the easter eggs at the end of the 2017 Power Rangers film revealed just a hint of what’s to come from the fresh faced reboot universe.
In a fun post-credits scene, we see an amusing homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as a teacher is taking roll call, but there’s one student missing. As the teacher calls out the same name over and over again, fans of the franchise are treated to a name that lets them know in no uncertain terms just who is on their way: Tommy Oliver, aka the Green Ranger. Whether a sequel happens or not remains to be seen, but at least we know what they’re planning.
12. RITA WAS A GREEN RANGER
Ever since his first appearance on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the early ‘90s, the Green Ranger’s fate has been tied to Rita Repulsa. It was Rita that had the Dragon Power Coin, using it to possess Tommy and imbuing him with the power of the Green Ranger, sending him off on a quest to destroy Zordon and the rest of the Power Rangers. In the 2017 movie, however, Rita and the Green Ranger are even more closely linked.
The movie starts all the way back in the Cenezoic era, where we see six Rangers tasked with protecting the Earth. In this era, Zordon — played by Bryan Cranston — is the original Red Ranger, and Rita Repulsa — Elizabeth Banks — is the original Green Ranger. It’s her betrayal of the team that starts the movie and drives the narrative.
11. HIS SENTAI COUNTERPART IS DEAD
It’s no secret that the Power Rangers franchise relies heavily on the original footage from the long-running Japanese adventure series Super Sentai. What’s not so well known is just how wildly different those actual Sentai shows are from what western audiences experience in Power Rangers.
Nevertheless, one of the things Sentai fans had in common with Power Rangers fans was their love of the Green Ranger, and Burai, the Green Sentai Ranger, was no exception. It came as a major shock to his fanbase, therefore, when he was straight up killed in one of the episodes. His power had been diminishing for some time, confined to a cave in suspended animation until he was needed. Then, that cave collapsed, and Burai was crushed, along with the hearts of all of his fans.
10. HE’S EVIL (IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE)
The Boom Studios comics set in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers universe have been fantastic, introducing fans new and old to a darker, more dramatic reimagining of the Teenagers with Attitude. Along with a series exploring the formative days of the team, the main MMPR series focuses on the early adventures of Tommy Oliver as he shakes off Rita’s evil spell. As the book continues, however, we see just how dark his life could have been.
In the series, the Rangers are exposed to a grim, alternate version of Angel Grove that’s ruled over by a twisted, evil Ranger going by the name of Lord Drakkon. With a uniform that’s a mix of the Green Ranger and the White Ranger, it should have been no surprise to learn that this villainous enemy was actually Tommy Oliver, or at least a version of him that never joined the Power Rangers.
9. HE’S CONSIDERED THE GREATEST EVER RANGER
It may be purely down to his popularity as a character on the show, but it’s been established in the canon that Tommy Oliver is considered the greatest ever Power Ranger. Many fans have been declaring that for years as a stone cold fact; however, to see it established in the lore of the shows is somewhat gratifying.
He strolled onto the battlefield during the final episode of the Super Megaforce and led every single Ranger ever in what is known as the Legendary Battle. If that wasn’t enough, he’s returned multiple times across numerous series to mentor newer teams of Rangers. Throw in the fact that he’s the most iconic sixth Ranger in the show’s history — one with a look that’s endlessly cosplayed and emulated — and there’s no real competition.
8. TOMMY HAS BEEN FIVE DIFFERENT RANGERS
Tommy Oliver is the show’s longest running Power Ranger (we’d say character, but both Bulk and Skull have him beat), starring in over 230 episodes of the long-running franchise. Considering he’s most popularly known as the Green Ranger, it may surprise you to know that his original costume is just one of the alter egos he’s had over the years.
Fans of the original Mighty Morphin series will remember that once Tommy exhausted the last of his powers from the Dragon Power Coin, he could no longer be the Green Ranger and instead became the new White Ranger, but that wasn’t his last costume change. He became the Zeo Ranger V Red in the Zeo series, the Red Turbo Ranger and then the Black Dino Ranger in Dino Thunder.
7. TOMMY NEARLY LED A GLOBAL RANGERS STRIKE FORCE
In one of those “what if” moments, we can only fantasize about a world in which we were treated to a Power Rangers series that tackled the idea of a global, S.H.I.E.L.D style organization with hundreds of Rangers making up dedicated strike forces to deal with international crises. This was the plot of abandoned series Hexagon, which would have taken material from the Sentai series Hurricaneger to craft an ambitious show out of this unique concept.
Alas, it was not meant to be. The Hurricaneger footage was eventually used for Ninja Storm when the Hexagon series was deemed to be a little too ambitious at a time when the future of the show was uncertain. If the Power Rangers were going to turn into S.H.I.E.L.D, they’d need a Nick Fury, and if Hexagon had gone ahead that would have fallen to none other than Tommy Oliver.
6. HE COULD KILL YOU IN REAL LIFE
It’s one thing to play a superhero and have to stay in shape, but it’s another thing completely to hone your physical skills to such a degree that you could become a Power Ranger in real life, with all the skills necessary to take on even the mightiest of foes.
Unsatisfied with merely embodying the greatest Power Ranger in history, Jason David Frank has carried Tommy’s love of martial arts over into his own life too. He’s proficient in nine different martial arts styles, including Muay Thai, Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do, and has been inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame. He’s also tackled the world of Mixed Martial Arts, winning multiple bouts in the heavyweight category, all of which proves that he’s pretty much a Power Ranger both on screen and off.
5. HE’S LIVED FOR MILLENNIA (IN THE SENTAI)
Zyuranger, the Sentai that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was based off, is so wildly different from its western counterpart that it’s almost unrecognizable. Aside from the fact that they wear the same Ranger outfits and have the same Zords (basically all of the footage that doesn’t involve American actors), there’s pretty much no similarity between the two.
For example, all of the Power Rangers, including the Green Ranger, originate in the prehistoric times and are awoken in the modern day to fight Witch Bandora, aka Rita Repulsa. There’s no Zordon, no Alpha, and the Green Ranger’s powers come from a candle in a cave, meaning that when he’s not fighting, he goes into suspended animation in order to ensure he lives for as long as possible. He also held a major grudge against the Red Ranger for strange and highly implausible reasons.
4. THE PINK RANGER DUMPED HIM
If you stopped watching Power Rangers after the Mighty Morphin era then you might have wondered what happened to the biggest (only?) love story on the show: that between Pink Ranger Kimberly and Green Ranger Tommy. When he first entered the show, they struck up a close bond that turned into a full relationship. Alas, as we find out, it was not meant to be.
Power Rangers Zeo was the fourth season of the show following the remaining Rangers from the Mighty Morphin era as the Command Center is destroyed along with the original power coins. That’s not the worst thing to happen to Tommy though, as he soon received a letter from Kimberly giving him the boot. The former Pink Ranger had left the show in the previous season, meaning they were already committing to a long distance relationship, but unfortunately it just didn’t last.
3. TOMMY’S ACTUALLY MANY DIFFERENT SENTAI RANGERS
We mentioned earlier that Tommy’s popularity on the show meant that he remained a part of the series for longer than any other character. Seeing as the show takes its footage from Super Sentai, however, any deviance from the original structure is going to have an impact on what material is available. When a character is featured in over 200 episodes, that’s going to cause an issue.
It’s for this reason that, during Tommy Oliver’s tenure on the show, he’s embodied six different Sentai Rangers, starting with the familiar Green and White Rangers from the Mighty Morphin era, and then becoming the Red Zeo Ranger, the Red Turbo Ranger, and the Black DinoThunder Ranger. Each iteration of his character, each costume/power change meant using footage from a different character from Super Sentai.
2. HE DEFIED CONTINUITY TO LEAD THE LEGENDARY BATTLE
When you have an episode of Power Rangers that celebrates the history of the show by having every single Ranger ever in one massive fight, you better believe that the Green Ranger would be front and center. The final episode of Power Rangers Super Megaforce, entitled “Legendary Battle,” was just that: a huge, knock-down drag-out that brought in over 100 Power Rangers to fight the hordes of X-Borgs and the villainous Emperor Mavro.
With so many Power Rangers on screen, you’d think that every fan’s dreams had come true. The battle itself is a little anticlimactic, however, and filled with continuity errors that viewers couldn’t avoid. For example, Tommy led the legendary battle as the Green Ranger, despite the Dragon Power Coin having previously been destroyed. Plus, his four other iterations from over the years can be seen in wide Sentai shots, meaning Tommy is on the battlefield multiple times.
1. HIS ORIGINAL DRAGON SHIELD WAS DESTROYED
It’s easy to have rose-tinted spectacles on as a fan of Power Rangers. For those of us who watched Mighty Morphin when it first aired, we’ve grown up with the long-running franchise, and in a lot of cases, it was one of our formative exposures to an ongoing superhero narrative. It’s that same nostalgia, however, that can remember things a little more fondly than we should.
A perfect example of this is the Green Ranger costume, which no doubt looks iconic, but in reality that Golden Dragon Shield looks extremely flimsy when rewatching the show, clearly being made from a soft fabric rather than a durable protective material. As it turns out, there’s a reason for that. The original costume sent over to the American set from Japan was destroyed beyond repair while in transit, meaning that the crew had to hastily remake one for Jason David Frank to wear.
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