When you think of the Power Rangers, it’s the Red Ranger who pops up in your mind first. And it’s been that way ever since the show began. No one knows exactly what’s so appealing about the Red Ranger, but something about Red attracts fans to the character. It could be the leadership skills, that eagerness for battle and justice, or just how ready he is to bounce back from any situation. Whatever the reason, fans can’t get enough of the Red Ranger. Not for nothing has the character become so emblematic of the team.
While most die-hard fans might think they know everything about the Red Ranger, they’d be surprised to learn there are tons of dark secrets out there that the show’s producers or the actors who portrayed Big Red might not want you to know. These folks don’t blatantly try to keep the truth from fans but they’re definitely not keen on some of the more risqué facts being publicized. Since the show is aimed at a younger demographic, some of the mature elements don’t jive well with children. But for clarity’s sake, we’ve compiled together a list of the darkest secrets involving the Red Ranger, regardless of how intense they may be.
15. DO THE RED RANGERS HAVE IRL BEEF?
Austin St. John was the first actor to portray the Red Ranger on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. He’s arguably the most recognizable member of the original team – with the exception of Jason David Frank. And it’s actually this rise in popularity that instigated a confrontation between Frank and St. John.
Over the years, rumors of the two former Mighty Morphin Power Rangers having a personal dispute became widely known. Nothing physical has come of it, nor have the claims been substantiated. But, both St. John and Frank have addressed the rumors in their own ways. What’s interesting about their responses is that neither of them has talked directly to each other in a public forum, or have jointly made a statement in regards to the rumors. That may mean nothing, but the rumors do exist for a reason.
14. RED SPACE RANGER’S BACKSTORY
On Power Rangers In Space, the Red Ranger, Andros, had one of the most troublesome backstories, filled with loss. Not much happens to Andros but those close to him suffer quite a bit. For instance, his sister, Karone, was captured as a child and transformed into the evil Astronema. Nothing’s ever said about their parents but it’s presumed they were killed when Dark Specter’s forces attacked KO-35.
Eventually, Andros convinces Astronema of her past and she embraces her identity as Karone. Of course, their reunion doesn’t last very long with Darkonda recapturing Karone and turning her into a brainwashed cyborg, except that’s not the only loss Andros suffers. He also loses his best friend, Zhane, when a long-fought battle on KO-35 ends with Zhane severely injured. Andros then places him into cryogenic stasis which lasts two years. Zhane wakes up shortly after Andros assembles the rest of his team and returns to being the Silver Ranger.
13. RED GOES DARK
To the surprise of many, Austin St. John made his return to Power Rangers by making a small cameo in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. In it, St. John’s character, Jason returns as an unwitting hostage in Divatox’s plans for resurrecting Maligore. Divatox uses him and Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) as the sacrifices in her ritual, which winds up turning them into her minions.
As a mindless slave, Jason (Austin St. John) beats on the Power Rangers, including his former teammate, Tommy. With a supernatural level of strength, Jason easily defeats them all. He even comes close to killing Tommy. The good news is that Divatox’s ritual isn’t permanent. Lerigot and Yara are able to use their magical abilities to revert them back to normal.
12. LEO’S BROTHER DIES HELPING HIM BECOME RED
In Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, Leo Corbett wound up becoming the Red Galaxy Ranger but he wasn’t the first. It was actually his brother, Mike who was supposed to assume control of the Quasar Sabre and become a ranger, but he sacrificed himself to save Leo, giving him the sword in the process.
We don’t see it until later on but Mike is actually saved at the last minute by the Magna Defender’s restless spirit. Stuck in the cavern Mike fell into, the Magna Defender merged with him and whisked them away to safety. The Magna Defender’s spirit remained with Mike until he was given closure and allowed a final rest. Mike was then granted all of the Defender’s powers and allowed to return to his own life aboard Terra Venture.
11. WILD FORCE RED RANGER ARRESTED FOR MURDER
Back in 2015, Ricardo Medina, the actor who portrayed Cole Evans on Power Rangers Wild Force, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Medina and his roommate, Josh Sutter, got into an argument that turned fatal for the latter. The cause of their dispute turned out to be Medina’s girlfriend of the time, which led to Medina stabbing Sutter with a sword he had nearby.
In court, the judge ruled that Medina showed a blatant disregard for life, sentencing him to six years in prison. His sentencing took place in March of 2017, which means Medina won’t be out until 2023. Although, early releases aren’t unheard of so he could be let out earlier. Of course, the nature of the crime Medina was charged with might factor into the court’s decision.
10. RICARDO MEDINA ALSO PORTRAYED VILLAIN, DEKER
Before getting jailed for the murder of his roommate, Medina took on another role in the Power Rangers universe, this time as Deker in Power Rangers: Samurai. He starts off as somewhat of an ambiguous character but becomes a Nighlok after he’s revived by Serrator. Deker’s career as a Nighlok takes him on some misguided adventures but he shows everyone that he still holds a level of honor regardless of the situation.
When Dayu Dahlia is about to meet her hands at the Rangers’ hands, Deker risks his own life in the process. What this proves is Deker’s heart remained connected to Dahlia even without memories of her. He also emphasizes his code of honor by seeking out formidable enemies to face off in a samurai match-up. Deker chooses Jayden, the Red Samurai Ranger as his primary target and goes about his challenge in the most honorable of ways.
9. POWER RANGERS: TIME FORCE HAD 3 RED RANGERS
While it’s no secret that Power Rangers: Time Force had two Red Rangers, the normal Red and the Quantum Red, fans might not remember that Wes’s distant relative, Alex, was the Red Time Force Ranger of the future. Alex only made one appearance as a Ranger but that doesn’t disqualify him from membership. He goes on to join the team in a support position later on in the series.
After Alex is supposedly killed, he returns as the commander of the Shadow Winger. He sends it back in time to help Wes and the other Rangers on several occasions, piloting the ship from a remote console. Alex keeps his identity as the Shadow Winger’s pilot a secret until he decides it’s the right time to rejoin the team. When the team reunites, everyone is excited, except for Jen. She doesn’t share Alex’s views anymore and comes to realize that she loves Wes, not Alex. In the end, she dumps Alex and ventures back to the past to live with Wes.
8. JASON GETS PERISHED IN POWER RANGERS SHORT FILM
Out of all the Power Ranger projects around, Adi Shankar’s short film Power Rangers is probably the most infamous. Perhaps it was due to the dark story told therein, or maybe it was the realistic violence not usually associated with the Power Rangers‘ brand. Either way, it was a contentious experiment with the property.
What Shankar’s film did succeed in was killing off most of the original team in cruel and inventive ways; the Red Ranger to be specific. All of the Rangers suffered violent ends but seeing Jason (played by Adi Shankar, himself) ambushed and gunned down by a hail of bullets was probably the most brutal of them all. It’s actually Jason and Kimberly’s honeymoon that gets interrupted by Bulk, Skull, and a group of henchmen, adding yet another level of savagery to his death.
7. THE ANDROID RED RANGER
On Power Rangers: Overdrive, Mack Hartford’s status as an android remained hidden for some time. It wasn’t until Kamdor’s virus affects the Rangers’ base that Mack learns of his true nature. Upon discovering this new side of himself, Mack confronts his father over not telling him the truth. He then goes on a journey of self-discovery that’s more problematic than anything.
In a Mack-centric episode, he finds issue with his hobbies and general interests. He can’t tell if the things in his mind are his own or placed there by programming. The ordeal makes him question everything but he eventually comes to terms with it. Mack is rewarded in the end with him going through a Pinocchio transformation; i.e. from wooden boy to real boy.
6. COMICS VERSION OF TOMMY KILLS RED RANGER, JASON
In the latest volume of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers comics, Tommy Oliver becomes a true villain. Technically, it’s an alternate version of Tommy, but it’s him, even if he does go by the name Lord Drakkon. Having combined the Green and White ranger coins, Drakkon is the nefarious ruler of his world. A few issues into the arc, we learn that Tommy actually killed most of the Power Rangers from his world.
Drakkon’s first attack on the Rangers happened at the Command Center during Jason’s ascension. Jason was supposed to be imbued with the White Ranger’s powers but Drakkon interrupted, taking the power for himself. At the same time, Drakkon killed Jason to cement his status as Earth’s ruler. Soon after, Drakkon also killed Alpha-6, Zordon, and Ninjor, adding to the ever-growing list of casualties.
5. KORAGG THE KNIGHT WOLF
The Mystic Force’s Red Ranger, Bowen, was separated from his biological parents at birth. Because of a war in Magic World, Bowen wound up in the human dimension where the Russels took him in. What Bowen would learn later on is that Leanbow and Udonna of the Mystic Wizards are his parents; Leanbow being of particular interest.
Twenty years before the Mystic Force Rangers are assembled, Leanbow and the Mystic Wizards waged war on the Underworld. Due to the Morlocks getting out of control, the Mystic Wizards had no choice but to seal them off from everyone else. To accomplish this, Leanbow had to stay behind. The thing is, Leanbow became tainted by the Underworld and Octomus transforms him into the evil Koragg, a loyal minion. Leanbow is eventually freed but not before he attacks the Mystic Rangers on several separate occasions, almost killing his son in the process.
4. AUSTIN ST. JOHN QUIT OVER CONTRACT DISPUTES
As some fans may or may not know, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was an extremely low budget TV series. It was a lucrative investment for Haim Saban and the producers but the actors who played Power Rangers were pushed to the side, given minimal compensation for their efforts. To address this, Austin St. John and two of his co-stars asked for more money, but when they did, Haim Saban refused to cough up the cash they deserved.
In the end, Austin St. John, Walter Jones, and Thuy Trang left over the disputes. The second season of MMPR began with them handing over the reigns to new Red, Black, and Yellow Rangers. Their replacements weren’t as widely liked but became accepted over time. Rocky (Steve Cardenas) kept his title of Red Ranger up until Power Rangers Zeo when he swapped out the red suit for a blue one.
3. ROCKY JOINED MACHINE EMPIRE IN SHORT FILM
Adi Shankar’s short film takes the dark twists even further by making Rocky a member of the Machine Empire. Unlike his MMPR counterpart, this version of Rocky is happy to be rid of his Power Ranger gear. We never get an explanation as to why Rocky leaves the Rangers but the amputated leg might be the cause.
The Power Rangers have always confronted bad situations head-on and they’ve generally been left unscathed. However, the dark universe depicted in Adi Shankar’s universe tells us those grave injuries are common; Rocky’s leg being evidence. If it is, Rocky’s injury could be the reason why he switched sides. If the Rangers felt he was incapable of being the Red Ranger then they probably relieved him of duty. In doing so, that likely left Rocky with no choice but to join the Machine Empire.
2. ZORDON IS ORIGINAL RED RANGER IN REBOOT
Regardless of whether you were a fan of the recent reboot or not, it made some interesting alterations to the Power Rangers’ origins. One of them was Zordon’s identity before he became a giant floating head. What he was, was a Power Ranger– the Red one to be exact.
The film’s prologue depicts Zordon / Red Ranger fighting off Rita in a last-ditch effort to stop her from dominating the planet. Their fight ends with Zordon crawling through the mud but he manages to seal Rita up in a tomb of his own making. Unfortunately for Zordon, his body is badly damaged in the fight, requiring him to enter a kind of stasis. He has a chance to reclaim the title of Red Ranger and his body during the film but gives it up to resurrect Billy Cranston.
1. MMPR HAD A DARK RED RANGER
Something even the most hardcore fans may not remember is that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had a team of Dark Rangers on it. Yes, the Psycho Rangers weren’t the first iteration of evil Rangers, it was actually Lord Zedd’s team of bullies on MMPR. He recruited several bullies from Angel Grove High to become the perfect antithesis to the Rangers.
Zedd started off with Justin, the leader of a bully gang at the Rangers’ school, transforming him into the Dark Red Ranger. Zedd then moved on from there, creating one Dark Ranger to fight each of the Power Rangers. But of course the “Power Rangers” put a swift end to their evil counterparts. Plus, the Dark Ranger story arc was limited to two episodes so they really couldn’t cause much damage in that short amount of time.
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