SPOILER WARNING: The following interview contains major spoilers for Go Go Power Rangers #8 and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25, on sale now.
It’s the moment that had WonderCon fans weeping as they left this past Saturday’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers panel, sworn to secrecy by the Blue Ranger himself. Kyle Higgins and Daniele Nicuolo’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25 has kicked off the much-hyped “Shattered Grid” event in a big way that nobody could have predicted: Tommy Oliver, the long-beloved and insanely popular Green Ranger, is dead.
Stabbed by his evil counterpart Lord Drakkon in an effort to recharge the Green Chaos Crystal, Tommy's death also heralded the first of many appearances to come as Jen Scott, the Pink Time Force Ranger, arrived to help Kimberly chase Drakkon back to his world. But it was too little too late, as the issue ends with Kimberly sobbing and holding Tommy's body, with no help in sight.
Tommy’s death is a huge shock for Power Rangers fans, essentially the franchise's "Death of Superman” in terms of impact. But BOOM! Studios' Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team, as well as the Go Go Power Rangers creative team of Ryan Parrott and Dan Mora, aren’t just ready for the fallout of Tommy’s death, they’re ready to push the limits further. We sat down with the Higgins and Parrott, as well as series editor Dafna Pleban and Power Rangers franchise executive producer Brian Casentini to talk about the decision to kill Tommy and where “Shattered Grid” goes from here.
CBR: That last page is a pretty big deal for the lore of Power Rangers. How does the team come back from this kind of a loss? Is there a new Green Ranger coming down the line?
Kyle Higgins: I’ll put it this way: I wouldn’t pull a move like this if I didn’t have a plan, and if I wasn’t interested in exploring the emotional fallout. So all of those are aspects of “Shattered Grid,” and this big kick-off. The death of Tommy is what changes things. It’s not necessarily just his death, but it’s the complement of events around his death. The supercharging of the Green Chaos Crystal. Jen Scott’s arriving. Tommy dying. Drakkon getting back to his homeworld. All of those events together breaks things. And you start to see in issue #26 where the narrative is heading. The end of issue #25 is what allows and causes “Shattered Grid” to happen.
Killing off the most popular character of the entire 25-year-old franchise is a pretty big deal. What made you decide it was time to kill Tommy?
Higgins: I think there are two different perspectives on it. From Lord Drakkon’s perspective, there is a lot that killing Tommy means for his character. And I think as we dive more into Drakkon’s motivations and what his ultimate plans are, that will start to make more sense. From the Rangers standpoint, this is something they’ve never experienced before. The loss of one of their own. And dealing with the very real life and death stakes that come with being a teenage superhero.
To launch a big 25th anniversary event like “Shattered Grid” that brings in all of these other Rangers and puts all of reality at risk, I wanted to launch with something sizable, and I wanted it to all fit together in a way that both had emotional resonance and fallout but also really kicked the story into high gear. I think that the death of Tommy sends a very clear message that anything can happen in “Shattered Grid.”
Dafna Pleban: The death of Tommy is a very specific event that we chose because it really helped tell this underlying story that Kyle’s been building since the very beginning. What I think made Drakkon work so well is that he’s a version of Tommy that rejected what the Power Rangers represent and embody so well. They are a team, they are friends, they’re looking out for each other. What does that do to a person that doesn’t have access to that? Using our Tommy and using Drakkon to explore that conversation in the best way the genre does, which is literalizing it, I think you're going to see it play off both in an emotionally resonant way and in ways that have implications for the entire universe.
Tommy’s death is a big deal, but he existed in the current timeline beyond the Green Ranger; as shown in later MMPR episodes, Dino Thunder, Super Megaforce and more. Are we going to find out how those roles are affected in a timeline where Tommy died?
Higgins: I think an alternate timeline is actually one possibility, but I think there are other possibilities that you’ll learn about in issue #26. One of the things that was the most exciting about the framework of this event is that we’re actually playing with causality in a very interesting way between Go Go Power Rangers and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, as well as the aftermath of the death of Tommy, what that means and what things breaking actually entails.