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Power Rangers' Green Ranger: Facts Tommy Oliver Would Summon Dragonzord Over

Go! Go! Power Rangers! Since 1993, the popular children's action series has been a consistent part of our popular culture, and although there are nearly 30 seasons of "Power Rangers" to date, the original "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" still reigns supreme as the greatest incarnation of the franchise. Between the legendary Zords, the iconic costumes, and the fantastic villains, "MMPR" was "Power Rangers" at its best, and most '90s kids still haven't recovered.

In fact, it's the only era of "Power Rangers" that has been rebooted more than once. Be it through the out-of-continuity "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie," the 2017 film, or the BOOM! Studios comic books — and that's not even to mention Disney's attempt to re-edit the series in 2010 — the original Power Rangers are tough to beat. Among them was Tommy Oliver, the legendary sixth Ranger who was first known as the Green Ranger only to graduate to becoming the White Ranger. Played by Jason David Frank, Tommy Oliver had a complex history within the "Power Rangers" universe, and has always been tied to its ultimate success.

Tragically, Frank died in 2022, but his memory — and epic Ranger history — still lives on in all those who wanted to be the Green Ranger when they grew up. You may think you know all there is to know about Tommy Oliver, but here are some facts about the "MMPR" character's history that might shock you.

A teen with a third-degree black belt

When we meet Tommy Oliver in the first season of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," he's a high school freshman with attitude. Well, all the Power Rangers have attitude — it's part of why Zordon recruited them — but Tommy stands apart. In "Island of Illusion," it's revealed that Tommy is a third-degree black belt in karate. While it's not completely unheard of for a teenager to achieve a black belt in karate, Tommy did this as a high school freshman. No wonder he was always able to take on Lord Zedd and his armies.

By the twelfth season of "Power Rangers," a fan-favorite episode titled "Power Rangers Dino Thunder" reveals that Tommy is now a sixth degree black belt, which is one of the highest rankings you can achieve in karate before the degrees become more ceremonial. Of course, Tommy is no longer a teenager by the time of "Dino Thunder," but that doesn't make his updated ranking any less impressive — especially since he's still as agile as ever.

Behind the scenes, Tommy actor Jason David Frank was a mixed martial artist himself, and was actually an eighth-degree black belt in the style of Shotokan karate after receiving his first black belt at 12. A master in other styles as well, Frank used his extensive understanding of the martial art to construct his own karate style, which he taught at his Rising Sun Karate dojo — featured in a "Power Rangers" special — before his death.

He has a doctorate from MIT

Halfway through "Power Rangers Turbo," the third incarnation of "Power Rangers" — and the fifth season of the long-running series — Tommy and many of his former "Mighty Morphin" and "Zeo" teammates left the show and handed their powers off to new heroes. It was a sad goodbye to be sure, and not everyone took to the new cast of Rangers as easily as we did with Tommy himself, but it was a change that proved necessary in the long run. Tommy went off to college to begin the next chapter of his life, specifically heading to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology aka the famed MIT.

While there, Tommy surprisingly studied paleontology — possibly due to his personal connection to the original DinoZords and their power — and eventually earned his PhD. A decade after he was introduced in the original 1993 series, Tommy returned as a main cast member for "Power Rangers Dino Thunder" where he played the role of a mentor — and the Black Dino Ranger — to a team of new Power Rangers. 

Known as "Dr. O," Tommy's work as a paleontologist helped spark the events of the series, and introduced him and his new team to the Dino Thunder powers. In fact, it was Tommy's new profession that helped to accidentally create the "Dino Thunder" antagonist Mesogog, who wanted to turn everyone on Earth into dino-creatures like himself. Maybe Tommy should've picked another career path...

He has a long-lost brother

A lesser-known fact about the fan-favorite Power Ranger is that Tommy Oliver had a long-lost brother. While Tommy was sent to live with the Oliver family, his brother David was raised by Sam Trueheart on a Native American reservation. David first appeared in the "Power Rangers Zeo" episode "Inner Spirit" as Tommy searched for answers regarding the revelation of his lost sibling. The character returned for four more episodes of "Zeo," and after "Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise" he was written off entirely.

Behind the scenes, David Trueheart was played by Jason David Frank's real-life brother Erik Frank, who had worked as a grip on "Power Rangers" beforehand. His five-episode arc on "Power Rangers Zeo" marks the only time these brothers ever appeared onscreen together. In fact, Jason David Frank even speculated that his brother's character was meant to be revealed as the mysterious Gold Ranger had Austin St. John — who played the original Red Ranger in "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" — refused the role (via The Illuminerdi).

Though Jason David Frank reprised his role as Tommy for the last time in 2018, David Trueheart was never heard from again. Admittedly, Tommy's long-lost brother wasn't a Power Ranger, but he was an important part of Tommy's own personal journey, making it a bit strange that he didn't return at all in "Power Rangers Turbo" or "Power Rangers Dino Thunder," although David was mentioned as having returned to the reservation before "Zeo's" end.

More color schemes than any other Ranger

More than any other Power Ranger, Jason David Frank's Tommy Oliver has switched teams and color schemes like nobody's business. Originally the flute-playing Green Ranger in the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" series, Tommy went from being Rita Repulsa's evil enforcer to being the sixth and arguably most powerful member of the original Power Ranger team. But Tommy's Green Ranger powers weren't meant to last, and he lost them 13 episodes into the second season.

Thankfully, Tommy was too popular a Power Ranger for Saban to get rid of him for good, and soon he returned as the new White Ranger. Tommy kept his White Ranger powers for the majority of the "Mighty Morphin" series — including the non-canon 1995 feature film — before moving onto a new set of powers. In "Power Rangers Zeo," Tommy took over Red Ranger duties as the "Red Zeo Ranger V," a color he'd retain through "Power Rangers Turbo."

By the time he returned as a main cast member for "Power Rangers Dino Thunder," Tommy became the Black Dino Thunder Ranger, passing off his Red and White color schemes to the next generation. As the Black Dino Ranger, Tommy was given powers of invisibility, which gave him an even greater edge on his adversaries. In Jason David Frank's final onscreen appearance as the character, it's revealed that Tommy now wields a "Master Morpher," which allows him to switch between his old powers and uniforms on command.

Didn't see the mission all the way through

For the first six seasons of the "Power Rangers" story — known as the "Zordon Era" by fans — the series continued to follow the same plot and each season was a part of the larger whole. From the first three seasons of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" all the way through to "Power Rangers In Space," the Rangers fought against the same recurring villains and the evil threat behind them — a creature known as Dark Spectre. 

As the true antagonist of the original "Power Rangers" story, Dark Spectre would eventually be defeated — alongside countless other "Power Rangers" villains such as Tommy's nemesis' Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa — by the Space Rangers, led by the Red Ranger Andros. Sadly, after struggling against Dark Spectre's influence for the better part of five seasons, fans noticed Tommy's increasing absence in "Power Rangers Turbo," as everyone's favorite Power Ranger was written off the series.

Thankfully, Tommy didn't stay gone for long, and he returned to finish off his old enemies in the Machine Empire in the "Power Rangers Wild Force" episode "Forever Red," which reunited nearly every former Red Ranger to date. Soon after, Tommy returned to "Power Rangers" in the "Dino Thunder" series, later returning for anniversary specials and whenever the world — and the universe — was in dire need of his help.

Tommy and the Pink Rangers

From his first moments on "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," Tommy seemed to have a thing for Kimberly Hart, the original Pink Ranger. As they battled monsters together, Tommy and Kimberly became more attached and even expressed romantic interest in one another — well, at least as much as you can on a kids' show. Everyone wanted these two to be together, and fans continued to ship the Tommy/Kimberly romance even after the original Pink Ranger departed from the series.

But eventually actor Amy Jo Johnson moved on from "Power Rangers" and was replaced by Catherine Sutherland, who played Katherine "Kat" Hillard aka the second Pink Ranger. Kat stuck around on the series, remaining the Pink Ranger for all of "Power Rangers Zeo" and the first bit of "Power Rangers Turbo." After Tommy received a "Dear John" letter from Kimberly, he and Kat began to explore their own feelings for one another.

For a long time, it was unconfirmed whether Tommy and Kat ended up together in the end. Their appearance in the "Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel" episode "Dimensions in Danger" implied their continued love affair, but gave us nothing concrete until the comic book "Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon," which confirmed their marriage and revealed that Tommy's son JJ is Kat's son too. Guess Tommy ended up with the Pink Ranger after all, just not the one we all hoped he'd end up with.

His own worst enemy

We all remember when Tommy Oliver was the villain of the "Power Rangers" story. It was a dark time to be sure, but it wasn't ultimately Tommy's fault. He was brainwashed by Rita Repulsa and not in control of his actions. Thankfully, the original Power Rangers broke Rita's hold over Tommy and he joined the team as one of their own. From then on, Tommy swore to do good, and only in moments of pure brainwashing has the Power Rangers legend turned to the dark side.

There are plenty of evil Power Rangers out there, but none more than the evil versions of Tommy Oliver that our hero is forced to fight. Between the Mutant Green Ranger from "Mighty Morphin Mutants" to the evil Tom Oliver clone from the "Return of the Green Ranger" three-parter, there's always an alternate Tommy to fight. From clones and robots to mutants and alternate universe versions — more on that in a moment — the greatest Ranger of them all is always the target of evil counterparts.

Possibly the best example of Tommy facing off against himself comes from "Power Rangers Dino Thunder." In the episode "Fighting Spirit," an unconscious Dr. Tommy Oliver battles his greatest hits, namely the Red Zeo Ranger V, the White "Mighty Morphin" Ranger, and his original Green Ranger — skipping the Red Turbo Ranger entirely — before rejoining his Dino Thunder team as the Black Dino Ranger. Talk about being your own worst enemy.

Lord Drakkon

Speaking of being your own worst enemy, one of the absolute best is Lord Drakkon. This twisted version of Tommy Oliver is evil to the core, and desires to wipe out all Power Rangers forever. This evil Tommy combines his Green and White Ranger power sets as one of the Power Rangers' most fearsome enemies, even though he's mainly appeared in the BOOM! Studios comics and never fought the Rangers onscreen.

The catalyst for the "Shattered Grid" event, among other comic book arcs, Lord Drakkon not only tried to kill all the Rangers, but succeeded at killing Tommy too — well, at least for a while. To defeat him, the original five Rangers united Power Rangers from across space, time, and different dimensions to help stop this Ranger-killer from taking over the Morphin Grid for himself. Thankfully, Tommy was eventually restored and Lord Drakkon was defeated.

To promote the comic book event, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" comic scribe Kyle Higgins wrote and directed a trailer that starred Jason David Frank as the villainous version of Tommy, and more than anything it made us hope to see this character again in live action. Sadly, that'll never happen, but that doesn't mean this villainous Power Ranger is down for the count, as he quickly returned for a new series (via Den of Geek).

Original powers restored

When Tommy first appeared on "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" and he was brainwashed into the service of Rita Repulsa, his status as the Green Ranger was deemed legendary from the get-go. Once the Rangers broke the villain's control over him, the Green Ranger became a consistent part of the "Mighty Morphin" story until his powers began to fade. Due to their evil origins, the Green Ranger powers that Tommy received eventually burned away, but thankfully Zordon and Alpha 5 had plans to give Tommy a new set of White Ranger powers.

Over the years, Tommy continued to shift into new power sets and often looked back on his time as the Green Ranger fondly. By the time Tommy returned in the "Power Rangers Super Megaforce" episode "Legendary Battle" — which celebrated 20 years of "Power Rangers" — he was back in his original Green Ranger uniform alongside dozens of allies. As the Green Ranger, Tommy helped the Megaforce Rangers as they defeated the Armada and saved the world (again).

Tommy returned a few years later in the "Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel" 25th anniversary special "Dimensions in Danger" alongside a host of other Rangers — including Kat in her Pink Turbo Ranger uniform — to help the Ninja Steel team defeat the evil Lord Draven. It was during this adventure that Tommy revealed his Master Morpher, which allowed him to become the "Mighty Morphin" Green Ranger once more.

Tommy Oliver lives beyond Power Rangers

Beyond his time on "Power Rangers" itself, Jason David Frank played Tommy Oliver on a number of occasions for the epic Bat in the Sun web series "Super Power Beat Down." This show pit iconic superheroes, sci-fi legends, comic book characters, and horror creatures against each other in a "fight to the death" that resulted in one character's demise and the other's victory. Because of his popularity among fans, Tommy Oliver was a frequent contender often matched against "Mortal Kombat" and "Street Fighter" characters such as Scorpion and Ryu. In Episode 10, the White Ranger reigned supreme over Scorpion, with 51% of voters in favor of the fan-favorite Power Ranger. By the time Tommy returned in Episode 15, he was clad in his original Green Ranger uniform and defeated Ryu in a deathmatch, winning with 57% of the votes.

In conjunction with the mobile game "Power Rangers Legacy Wars," Jason David Frank reprised his role as Tommy alongside "Power Rangers Megaforce" star Ciara Hanna as the Yellow Megaforce Ranger Gia Morgan in "Power Rangers Legacy Wars – Street Fighter Showdown" — a short film meant to promote the game's new Ryu-inspired Ranger skin. As with his appearances on "Super Power Beat Down," the short was produced by Bat in the Sun Productions, who also produced "My Morphin Life," a series about the behind-the-scenes life of Jason David Frank.

Jason David Frank helped finish Tommy's story

Jason David Frank's final appearance as Tommy Oliver came in a 2018 anniversary episode of "Power Rangers Super Ninja Storm," but it wasn't the final Tommy Oliver story that "Power Rangers" would ever tell. In December of 2018, "Power Rangers" comic writer Kyle Higgins teamed up with BOOM! Studios — and Jason David Frank himself — to write "Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon," the "final" Tommy story that would conclude his arc as a Power Ranger for good.

Set in the future world of post-"Power Rangers S.P.D.," this story — dubbed "Old Man Tommy" by fans — follows an older Tommy Oliver as he fights for his son, an S.P.D. Ranger named JJ Oliver. Armed with his broken Master Morpher, Tommy is only able to use his old Ranger forms once each before the Morpher destroys the power forever. An excellent sendoff for the famed Ranger, "Soul of the Dragon" puts him in each of his former Power Ranger identities one final time.

As Tommy faces off against his old adversary Scorpina, he gives his Green Ranger powers to his son, who'd continue to use them as S.P.D.'s latest Green Ranger. Although not a live-action adventure, "Soul of the Dragon" is the best sendoff for Tommy Oliver, and given that Jason David Frank was heavily involved in crafting his character's final journey, it seems appropriate to leave him there.

He inspired a completely new hero

Having officially retired from his time on "Power Rangers," actor Jason David Frank worked alongside Bat in the Sun Productions to develop a new hero — and world — based on his character. The result is the feature film "Legend of the White Dragon." Playing original character Erik Reed (no doubt named after his late brother), Jason David Frank combines the best parts of his "Mighty Morphin" character — the Green and White Ranger identities — and makes them into something new.

"Legend of the White Dragon," which marks Jason David Frank's final acting role, reunites various "Power Rangers" alumni, bringing them into this new post-apocalyptic world where heroes like the White Dragon are hunted. Given how his "Power Rangers" character influenced both the costuming and characters in this new world, there's no doubt that this was the type of character Frank always hoped Tommy Oliver could be.

From the initial teaser trailer, it's clear that "Legend of the White Dragon" is what happens when you take the kid gloves off your favorite "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," and although it's sad we'll never get to see Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver again, it's clear that the character only ushered him to new heights.