The Power Rangers, in all its different incarnations, has long been a lightning rod of criticism. The acting performances have never been received very positively and the plot lines are more often than not as nonsensical as it gets, especially once the writers ran out of steam. To be fair, many of the aspects of the Rangers’ productions have actually improved over the years, even if its audiences and respectability have lessened. It terms of the actors involved, no one would ever mistake the Power Rangers as a launching pad for great success in the industry. Few of the stars who appeared on any of the shows or the movies ever became massively famous in film or TV, but there is a group who did very well for themselves, carving out nice careers. For some on this list, the term “star” might seem like we’re pushing it, but we’re talking about actors who went on to star in big TV shows or films. They may not be household names for the average TV audience, but film and TV buffs will know them and that’s enough for us.
There’s a subsection of actors that we found interesting when making this list and that was the people who were part of Power Rangers in some facet but never made it on to the screen. We’ve included a few of these in the list if they shot scenes, but some, like Cory Monteith and Summer Glau, came incredibly close to landing a part but never did in the end. For these stars, you have to wonder if them missing out on Power Rangers was actually a blessing. Monteith would go on to huge fame in Glee and Glau would do several different projects, including Firefly. Would these same projects have been open to the actors if Power Rangers was on their resume? Hard to say. Yet, the stars on this list are proof that the Power Rangers vehicle doesn’t drive an actor to a dead-end, as some would believe. Many have turned their early roles into something much more and we applaud them for that. Here are 15 Stars Who Were in Power Rangers Before They Were Famous.
15. Mariska Hargitay
Today, we all know Mariska Hargitay as detective Olivia Benson on the impossibly long-running Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but, 4 years before she was cast in this role, Hargitay was brought on to play Dulcea in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie in 1995. Originally, this part went to Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, but when Fitzpatrick was told she had an ovarian cyst that needed to be removed right away, Hargitay was signed to take over. Now, if you’re finding it difficult to place Hargitay in the film, you can stop. She never made the final cut. Unfortunately for her, all Hargitay’s scenes were cut and reshot when Fitzpatrick came back healthy and ready to reclaim the part. All we have left are these nice photos. Even though we don’t know which actress performed better, we will say that both looked excellent in that outfit.
14. Aloma Wright
Aloma Wright’s star status may be questioned, but she was a central figure in Scrubs and Scrubs was one of the best comedies on television for a while, so shush your mouths. Before she became the recognizable actress she is today, Wright played Adelle Ferguson on Power Rangers in Space in 1998. She took over as the head of the Rangers’ new hangout, the Surf Spot. After her Power Rangers fame, Wright would get small bits in Ally McBeal, Judging Amy and The Drew Carey Show. Then came Scrubs, which the majority of fans will consider Wright’s biggest part, but anyone who’s ever caught Days of Our Lives would recognize Wright as the long-time character, Maxine Landis. For the better part of a decade, Wright starred on the long-running soap. Most recently, she has been seen as a regular in Suits playing Gretchen, so let’s not pretend she’s a glorified extra.
13. Michael Copon
Michael Copon is still best known for playing the Blue Power Ranger, Lucas Kendall, on the Power Rangers Time Force, which definitely puts his fame in question, but he’s slowly put together a decent resume. After Power Rangers, Copon had a big part on One Tree Hill as Felix Taggaro. He also showed up in Scrubs, That’s So Raven and CSI: Miami, but none of those were major roles. His biggest part on television came in 2006 as one of the stars of Beyond the Break. After that he moved into film, starring in Bring It On: In It to Win It, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior and the remake of the cult classic, Night of the Demons. While none of these were major box office successes—in fact, none of them even played in theaters—Copon has done well enough to make the list… just barely.
12. Mark Dacascos
These days, Mark Dacascos is probably best known as the host of Iron Chef, but he’s been a martial artist in films and on TV for quite a while. Dacascos was never in Power Rangers, but we wanted to include him because he was technically the original Red Ranger. At least, he was ready to be the first Red Ranger, but the show never got picked up. Prior to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Haim Saban (the show’s creator) planned to create Bio-Man, an early precursor to MMPR. Dacascos was cast as the Red Ranger, but it never picked up enough interest to go very far with it. Years later, Saban would rework much of the footage from the original pilot episode into a promo for Galaxy Rangers, the show that would become Power Rangers. Even though Bio-Man never got off the ground, Dacascos went on to have a successful career appearing in the films, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Double Dragon and Cradle 2 the Grave and the TV shows, Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight and The Crow: Stairway to Heaven.
11. Emma Lahana
Emma Lahana got her start on Power Rangers Dino Thunder, but the beautiful New Zealander didn’t stop there. Since her time as the Yellow Ranger, Kira Ford, Lahanna has been in a number of huge shows, from Supernatural to Stargate Atlantis. She’s also been on Psych, Heartland and Emily Owens, M.D. Each of those roles were simply bit parts, but Lahana’s had starring roles too. Her first big role was on the short-lived cheerleader show, Hellcats, alongside Aly Michalka and Ashley Tisdale. From there, Lahanna went on to land a part in Arctic Air and, her most recent part, in Haven. Like many of the actors on this list, Lahana might still be best known for her work on Power Rangers, but we wanted to give her some recognition for the quality of work she’s done since then.
10. Miguel A. Núñez Jr.
The whole timeline of when and how Bio-Man turned into Galaxy Rangers which turned in Power Rangers, is confusing to say the least. Most agree that that the original pilot for Galaxy Rangers simply reused shots from the Bio-Man footage, while some say they were two different entities. While we can’t say for sure, we know for sure that, like Mark Dacascos, actor Miguel A. Núñez Jr. was originally cast and shot scenes as the original Green Ranger. Interestingly, Núñez Jr. was cast as Zack Taylor, who would become the Black Ranger in Power Rangers, seeming to give the racist argument a little more weight. Even though Nunez Jr. had already been in several big films by the time this pilot was shot, such as Return of the Living Dead, he wasn’t as recognizable as he is today. Many would know Núñez Jr. best from his roles in Juwanna Man, The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Black Dynamite.
9. Cerina Vincent
For most Power Rangers fans, Cerina Vincent will forever be known as one of the hottest actresses in Rangers in history. After her role as Maya in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Vincent would land some small roles in plenty of different TV shows, like Malcolm in the Middle, Felicity and Ally McBeal, always playing the super hot girl. Years later, Vincent would get onto Two and Half Men, Bones, Mike and Molly and Californication too, but her biggest work, her most recognizable work, has come in film. In 2001, a few years after Power Rangers, Vincent starred in her first film, Not Another Teen Movie. She played easily the most recognizable role in that strange little film, Areola, the exchange student who walked around naked the entire time. It was a good time to be alive. After that, Vincent played Marcy, one of the stars of the gross but awesome film, Cabin Fever. You may not call her a star, but we love her, and we do.
8. Brandon Jay McLaren
If you haven’t watched much television, Brandon Jay McLaren might not even register as an actor for you, but he’s done really well for himself, especially considering he got his start at the Red Ranger on Power Rangers S.P.D. Since then, McLaren’s had recurring roles on Being Erica and Falling Skies. He played Dale Jakes on Graceland and Bennet Ahmed on The Killing. In film, he’s been in She’s the Man and the hilarious Tucker & Dale vs Evil. Currently, McLaren is starring on the lesser-known TV show Slasher, which isn’t the best example of his stardom, compared to many on this list, but, in combination with his other roles, McLaren has proven that he can be one of the main cast members in huge shows and lead in others.
7. Adelaide Kane
If you ever watched Adelaide Kane as Tenaya 7 on Power Rangers RPM, you may have felt that she was destined for more than that silly little show. Kane had a flair for the dramatic and, of course, she’s insanely good looking. Since her role as one of the sexiest villains in history on RPM, Kane went on to star in the TV shows Teen Wolf as Cora Hale and Reign as Mary, Queen of Scots. In film, Kane hasn’t done as well, but she was one of the stars of The Purge, the daughter of Ethan Hawke. Kane’s role on Reign has been her largest to date and it’s still running, which shows that she is not only able to lead a show, but she’s able to lead a successful show.
6. Eka Darville
Eka Darville turned his role as Scott Truman in Power Rangers RPM into a healthy career very quickly. Unlike most Power Rangers actors, Darville really didn’t waste any time after leaving. Right after RPM, Darville landed the recurring role of Pietros in Spartacus: Blood and Sand then, soon after that, got a recurring role in Terra Nova. From there, Darville went on to land parts in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, followed shortly after by a recurring role in Empire. Most recently, Darville landed what is probably his biggest role to date, that of Malcolm in Jessica Jones and The Defenders.
5. Anna Hutchison
Anna Hutchison might not yet have the star status of some of the members of this list, but she has done some great work in recent years. After Hutchison made a name for herself acting in her homeland, New Zealand, she landed the role of Lily Chilman, the Yellow Cheetah Ranger on Power Rangers Jungle Fury. In 2009, the year after Hutchison starred in Power Rangers, she was cast as Jules in Joss Whedon’s Cabin Fever. Unfortunately, the movie’s release was delayed until 2012, which also probably slowed Hutchison’s career growth because she was excellent in the role. After Cabin in the Woods, Hutchison landed a starring role in Spartacus: War of the Damned as Laeta, Spartacus’ new love interest. Her latest big role on television was a recurring part on Anger Management, but it now seems like she’s moving to the big screen for good with an upcoming starring role in the new Nicolas Cage movie, Vengeance: A Love Story.
4. Amy Jo Johnson
From the beginning, Amy Jo Johnson has been the face of the Power Rangers franchise. It all started with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and, over time, Johnson’s Pink Ranger, Kimberly, became the one star that everyone connected with. This isn’t just because Johnson would reprise the role a few times or because most fans remember the first season of MMPR best, but Johnson also became quite well known in the industry. After MMPR, she would go on to land roles in Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Felicity, Spin City, ER and Flashpoint. For many, Johnson was one of the best examples of turning a Power Rangers gig into something much more.
3. Rose McIver
Despite the fact that Rose McIver has been acting since she was a child, she didn’t really blow up until 2009, after her role playing Summer, the Yellow Ranger in Power Rangers RPM. As a kid, McIver was in the various Hercules television shows and Xena: Warrior Princess. After that, McIver became a well-known star in New Zealand appearing in Maddigan’s Quest and Rude Awakenings, but she wouldn’t become recognizable in North America until Power Rangers RPM. While she was filming Power Rangers and the episodes were airing, McIver got her huge break on the big screen with a starring role in Lovely Bones. Nowadays, McIver’s known by pretty much everyone. She played Vivian in Masters of Sex, Tinker Bell in Once Upon a Time and, most recently, she’s been an incredible leading lady, playing Liv in iZombie.
2. Alex Borstein
Alex Borstein’s face will always be associated with the comedy show, MADtv, where she was a long-time member and writer, but her voice is much more familiar to most. While Borstein was still working on MADtv, Seth MacFarlane was brought on to create animated sketches for the show. However, before he launched any of them, he decided to create his own independent show called Family Guy. MacFarlane asked Borstein to come on full-time as the voice of Lois Griffin and now, 18-years later, the show is still going strong. Yet, before all this, Borstein was a writer for Casper and Pinky and Brain. Her first breakthrough as a voice actor came on Power Rangers: Zeo, where she was the voice of Queen Machina.
1. Bryan Cranston
Everyone knows that Bryan Cranston is the voice and face of Zordon in the new Power Rangers movie, but one of the neat little trivia bits from Hollywood is that this is actually Cranston’s second turn with the franchise. Early in his career, under the pseudonym Lee Stone, Cranston would dub his voice over Japanese anime shows. The most popular of his work came in the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Cranston voiced a few characters, including Snizzard and Twin Man. Apparently, and perhaps amazingly, the Blue Ranger, Billy Cranston, is said to be named after him. After these voice gigs, Cranston would land the recurring part of Tim Whatley on Seinfeld in 1994, a few different film roles and then, in 2000, he got the part that would really launch his career on Malcolm in the Middle. Then he did a little show called Breaking Bad. You may have heard of it.