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Easter Eggs You Missed In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always

"Power Rangers: Once & Always" offers a "morphinominal" helping of nostalgia for longtime fans of the show. The 30th Anniversary TV special reunites several Rangers from the original series, including Billy Cranston (David Yost), Zack Taylor (Walter Emanuel Jones), Rocky Desantos (Steve Cardenas), and Katherine Hillard (Catherine Sutherland). The storyline is also a touching tribute to original Yellow Ranger Trini Kwan (the late Thuy Trang), whose legacy lives on in her daughter Minh, played by newcomer Charlie Kersh.

But the "Power Rangers" saga spans well beyond just the original "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" TV series, and the special does a good job of acknowledging multiple bits of Rangers history in its set design, cameo appearances, and even stunt work. While many of these Easter eggs are placed front and center, others are more obscure. From sly references to classic Power Rangers episodes to some nods to lesser-known Rangers series, here are the Easter eggs you probably missed in your first viewing of "Power Rangers: Once & Always."

Rocky's spinning heel kick

Returning heroes inevitably bring with them returning villains, which viewers see when Rocky and Zack confront the Putty Patrol, Rita Repulsa's disposable henchmen, who are menacing Minh. The scene is full of nostalgic elements — the two Rangers battle in the Angel Gove Youth Center, where the original Rangers once worked out and enjoyed drinks made by the owner Ernie (Richard Genelle, who passed away in 2008). Zack breaks into his trademark "hip-hop-kido" dance/fighting moves, allowing him to take out the Putties with style.

There's also a "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" moment where Rocky takes out a Putty with a spinning heel kick. The move references a similar kick Rocky executed in the film "Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie" (1997). Early in that film, Rocky spars with fellow Rangers Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) and Adam Park (Johnny Yong Bosch). While demonstrating a spinning heel kick, Rocky lands wrong and injures his back, sending him to the hospital and taking him off the team. His position is taken over by twelve-year-old Justin Stewart (Blake Foster) who takes Rocky's Turbo Power Coin.

Behind the scenes, Steve Cardenas left "Power Rangers" due to contract disputes, although he continued to stay in touch with some cast members. With Rocky's return as the Red Ranger in "Power Rangers: Once & Always," it's clear that he's now fully recovered — and has finally perfected that spinning heel kick. 

The Bandora Protocol

In the Command Center, the Rangers' robot assistant Alpha 9 (Richard Steven Horvitz) gets to put multiple Easter eggs front and center. While assembling the Rangers, Alpha activates "The Bandora Protocol" on one of the computers. As he does, viewers see locations from past Power Rangers TV shows, including Reefside ("Power Rangers: Dino Thunder"), Coral Harbor ("Power Rangers Beast Morphers)," Astro Megaship ("Power Rangers in Space"), Terra Venture ("Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy"), and Turtle Cove ("Power Rangers: Wild Force"). There's even a brief mention of Kyoto, Japan, which could reference the Power Rangers' original Japanese "Super Sentai" roots.

The computer program itself is also an Easter egg, designated "The Bandora Protocol." This is in reference to "Bandora the Witch," the chief antagonist of the Japanese Super Sentai TV series "Kroryu Sentai Zyuranger." Played by actress Machiko Soga, Bandora's footage was later spliced into the first season of the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" show where she was renamed "Rita Repulsa" and voiced by actress Barbara Goodson. Thus, "Rita" is really "Bandora," and the "Bandora Protocol" refers to her. The point is further hammered home when viewers see Rita's new castle on the moon, which has a sign reading "Bandora Palace" over the front door.

Power Rangers Hyperforce

Moving to the outside of the Command Center, an Easter egg can be found referencing a more obscure Power Rangers show: The interactive, live-streamed tabletop role-playing game web series "Power Rangers Hyperforce," debuted in 2017 on Hyper RPG's Twitch live-streaming channel.

Referencing the popular "Power Rangers" TV series "Power Rangers: Time Force," the series was set in the year 3016 and followed a team of Time Force Ranger cadets mentored by Pink Time Force Ranger Jen Scotts (Erin Cahill). Another original "Power Rangers" show alum, Paul Schrier, appeared as Jack D. Thomas, the Hyperforce Yellow Ranger. Ironically, Schrier was best known for playing the bully Farkas "Bulk" Bulkmeier in multiple "Power Rangers" series.

"Power Rangers: Hyperforce" gets a cool shoutout in the form of the Hyperforce symbol on top of the modern Command Center. Incidentally, the Command Center is also connected to Billy's tech company "Cranston Tech." Could this mean Billy's work is responsible for creating the time travel technology later used by Time Force and Hyperforce? Given Billy's genius inventions and Ranger connections, it feels like a good bet.

Too much pink energy

Fans were disappointed when Amy Jo Johnson, who played original Pink Ranger Kimberly Hart, did not return for "Power Rangers: Once & Always." But this doesn't mean the TV series doesn't feature a classic Pink Ranger, as Catherine Sutherland returns to reprise her role as Katherine "Kat" Hillard, Kimberly's original replacement in the series.

Although not as well-known as Kimberly, Kat had a long tenure as the Pink Ranger and was part of many "Power Rangers" series (and teams), including "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," "Power Rangers Zeo," and "Power Rangers Turbo." In "Once & Always," fans learn how Kat regains her original Dino Power abilities when Alpha 5 gives her a "proxy power coin" using a secondary connection to the Morphin Grid. Although Zack cautions that "duplicating active powers is very dangerous," Kat accepts the risk of using "too much pink energy."

The line "too much pink energy is dangerous" references the two-part storyline "Wild West Rangers," where Kimberly (Johnson) was sent back in time to the Old West. Tracking down the Zordon of the era, Kim convinces him to give her the Power Coins so she can turn her friends' ancestors into early versions of Power Rangers. However, Zordon cautions Kim against using the Pink Coin with her own coin since "too much pink energy is dangerous." Naturally, the line became a running joke among Rangers fans who wondered how someone could say that with a straight face — but Kat pulls it off.

Billy's sweet ride

The Power Rangers may be famous for riding Zords, but those aren't the only vehicles at their disposal. Early in the special, Billy arrives at Trini's gravesite in a blue Beetle convertible sporting the license plate "RADBUG2." The car ends up helping Billy, Zack, and Minh get away from the bad guys, thanks to a special feature Billy installed that allows his vehicle to fly. Later, Minh steals the RadBug and saves a random citizen by plowing the car through a squad of Putties.

However, this isn't the first appearance of the RadBug. Long-time viewers of the show will remember the RadBug ("Remote Activated Drivingzord for Basic Ultra Geomorphology") from the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" Season 1 episode "Big Sisters." In that story, Billy retrofits a VW Bug into a supersonic flying car "capable of transporting us to any destination on the planet's surface," adding that it can accelerate from "zero to 3000 in 2.8 seconds."

The Radbug would pop up in other Power Rangers episodes, including the popular "Green With Evil" storyline that introduced the Green Ranger. Apparently, by "Power Rangers: Once & Always," Billy has continued to upgrade the car. Hey, when you're a tech billionaire, why limit yourself to driving a robot triceratops?

SPA Emergency

Former Black Ranger/Green Zeo Ranger Adam Park (Johnny Yong Bosch) and Yellow Ranger Aisha Campbell (Karan Ashley) also cameo in "Once & Always," but they don't get to participate in the main battles. In fact, they spend most of the special off-planet and can only communicate with the other Rangers via video conferencing.

Even so, Aisha and Adam offer plenty of Easter eggs in their brief appearance. They're wearing uniforms with the tag "SPA," a reference to the 2005 "Power Rangers: SPD" TV series where the Power Rangers are part of "Space Patrol Delta," a future military defense force against the planet conquering Troobian Empire. It's possible that Aisha and Adam are members of "Space Patrol Alpha," an earlier version of SPD. Aisha even references the Troobian Empire, making it more likely.

It's also worth noting that the "far future" that "Power Rangers: SPD" takes place in is actually the year 2025. Since "Power Rangers: Once & Always" takes place in the present year of 2023, that means Space Patrol Delta either already exists or will replace Space Patrol Alpha very soon. No telling if this is good or bad news for Adam and Aisha, but the Rangers' future will arrive sooner than they expect.

Kat's son

While filling in for Kimberly as the Pink Ranger, Kat mentions her son J.J. is at a junior karate competition. This should excite fans of both Power Rangers TV shows and comics as J.J. Oliver is the son of Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) and Kat Hillard. In the "Power Rangers Zeo" Christmas special "A Season to Remember," fans got a glimpse into a future where Tommy and Kat are married and have two grandkids. The tenth episode of "Power Rangers: Super Ninja Steel" reveals Tommy has a son with Kat named J.J. who never appears onscreen.

In the BOOM! Studios graphic novel "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon," J.J. joins Space Patrol Delta in his twenties and struggles to move out of his father's shadow. He eventually gains the ability to morph into a version of the Mighty Morphin Green Ranger before becoming the SPD Green Dragon Ranger. No telling if fans will ever see J.J. in live action, but considering how Trini's daughter Minh becomes the new Yellow Ranger in "Power Rangers: Once & Always" and the SPD's future is quickly approaching, it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

The return of Bulk and Skull

While most Power Rangers only stay in action for about a year, other characters become unexpected fixtures of the franchise. This includes Farkas "Bulk" Bulkmeier (Paul Schrier) and Eugene "Skull" Skullovitch (Jason Narvy), who have been providing comic relief for multiple "Power Rangers" series since the original pilot episode.

Initially a couple of dimwitted bullies trying to uncover the Power Rangers' true identities, Bulk and Skull later joined the Angel Grove Junior Police Patrol and became allies of the Rangers. They then became detectives, were turned into a pair of chimpanzees, and even formed a volunteer Citizen Force Group to aid the Space Rangers. By "Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy," the duo are working at a café in outer space before they return to Earth to open a bar.

Neither Schrier nor Narvy return for "Once & Always," but Bulk & Skull do get to make a cameo — of sorts. The comedy duo can be glimpsed on a billboard advertising "Skullovitch & Bulkmeier Bulk Food Co.," moments before it is destroyed and their trademark polka music theme plays in the background. It's a brief sight gag, but a nice nod to a team that's been together longer than most Rangers.

Breaking Bad Snizzard

The Power Rangers have fought many weird monsters over the last 30 years, so many in fact that it's easy for even devoted fans to forget a few. But one of the monsters in "Once & Always" has an interesting past; he was originally voiced by "Breaking Bad" actor Bryan Cranston.

First appearing in Season 1 of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," "The Snizzard" is a snake-lizard hybrid that can drain energy from its opponents by projecting snakes from its mouth. Although he's defeated when Kimberly shoots the "Zapper Apple" off his head and blows him up, the Snizzard would be resurrected multiple times, including by the robotic "Robo Rita," who recreated the Snizzard as "Robo-Snizzard." This version of the Snizzard is finally taken down by the Mega Zord.

Cranston also voiced the Rangers villain "Twin Man," and inspired the last name of Blue Ranger Billy Cranston, before moving on to TV shows like "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Breaking Bad." In 2017, he returned to the "Power Rangers" franchise by playing the movie version of Zordon in the film reboot. Unfortunately, he doesn't voice the Robo-Snizzard in the reunion special (that credit goes to voice actor Daniel Watterson), but the Snizzard's unique history with the "Power Rangers" franchise nonetheless makes him an inspired choice.

Rest in Peace, Harvey Garvey

Here's a fun Easter egg that probably went over the heads of many fans. During a battle at Trini's gravesite, one of Robo Rita's monsters smashes a headstone reading "Harvey Garvey. 1953-2022." The camera lingers for a beat, suggesting "Harvey Garvey" is somehow important to Rangers history.

So, who is Harvey Garvey? Well, in Season 2 of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," the Rangers made an appearance on "The Harvey Garvey Show" to talk about the power of education. While this might seem like a strange person to give a shout-out to on the reunion special, it makes sense because Harvey was played by voice actor Kim Strauss, who supplied the voices for multiple characters in various "Power Rangers" series.

During "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," Strauss voiced the Rangers' ally Ninjor in several episodes. He went on to voice several monsters in "Power Rangers Wild Force," "Time Force," "Lightspeed Rescue," "Lost Galaxy," and "Power Rangers in Space." While Harvey Garvey is deceased in the Power Rangers universe, Strauss is alive and well and providing voicework for multiple Japanese anime series.

Rangers Collectibles

As Robo Rita launches her attack, Alpha 9 coordinates multiple Rangers teams from around the globe. Although these (supposedly epic) battles are off-camera, viewers do get to see the aftermath. In the middle of the episode, Rita places several action figures — er, shrunken Rangers — into a case where she gradually drains their energy. While the scene goes by quickly, many classic Rangers can be glimpsed. These include:

  • The Green, Red, and Pink Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
  • Zeo Ranger II Yellow
  • Phantom Ranger
  • Black and Yellow Space Rangers
  • Red, Green, and Blue Galaxy Rangers
  • Lunar Wolf Ranger
  • Red and White Dino Rangers
  • Red, Blue, and Gold Grid Battleforce Rangers

Notably, many of these Rangers are technically retired by the time the TV special takes place. Either they came out of retirement briefly to battle Robo Rita (as Kat and Rocky did), or their powers were passed on to new recipients. In either case, the surviving Mighty Morphin Power Rangers take possession of Rita's action figure collection at the end and sell their former allies on eBay — or more likely, get them re-enlarged. In all seriousness, this particular Easter egg could be considered an homage not only to multiple "Power Rangers" shows, but the popular Rangers toys as well.

Outer space shoutouts

The Power Rangers universe is home to multiple alien races; while none of the Rangers' outer space allies can be seen in the special, viewers certainly do hear about them.

At the end of the show, the shrunken Rangers are sent to Aquitar to be restored. Aquitar is an aquatic planet first introduced in Season 3 of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" when the original Power Rangers were regressed into children and needed to be replaced. This resulted in the miniseries "Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers," where Aquitar's Power Rangers took over as the show's heroes. One of the Aquitians, a woman named Cestria, later became Billy's love interest in "Rangers of Two Worlds Part I," and Adam mentioned to Billy at the end of "Once & Always" that Cestria misses him.

Billy also asks if he can get Minh "a souvenir from Mirinoi" while he's away on business in outer space. In "Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy," Mirinoi is the home planet of Yellow Galaxy Ranger Maya (Cerina Vincent) and where the Galaxy Rangers found the Quasar Sabers that empowered them. Mirinoi is typically depicted as a jungle planet with very little technology, so Minh's souvenir may end up being an alien flower or plant.


Alien attacks and battles between giant robots and monsters are big news, so it makes sense that media companies would send their reporters to cover these stories. In "Power Rangers: Dino Fury," that company is BuzzBlast. A possible "Power Rangers" version of BuzzFeed, BuzzBlast is an internet media agency specializing in skateboards, sports, fashion tips, singers, and of course, monster news.

Notably, one of BuzzBlast's reporters is Amelia Jones (Hunter Deno), the Pink Dino Fury Ranger and Cosmic Fury Red Ranger. In the season finale to "Dino Fury," BuzzBlast opened an office in Angel Grove, which explains why in "Once & Always," Minh is alerted to a Putty Patrol attack at the Angel Grove Youth Center by a BuzzBlast news report.

While it would have been cool for Amelia to deliver the report (possibly leading to a Dino Fury/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team-up), the reporter assigned is Annie (Benny Joy Smith), a recurring character on "Dino Fury." While Annie's appearance is brief, it offers a nice connection between the original U.S. "Power Rangers" show and more recent iterations.

Like riding a bicycle...

No Power Rangers special would be complete without a final Megazord battle against a giant kaiju-style monster, and "Power Rangers: Once & Always" makes sure to include plenty of elements from the original TV series. Although the Megazord is now computer animated, it still resembles the original model, as does the cockpit where the Rangers pilot the combined Megazord. There's just one major change — instead of Trini, Minh is now the Yellow Ranger, and she has no idea how to drive a giant robot.

Billy's advice? "Do what I do. You'll find it's second nature." His line echoes the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" pilot, where Trini tells Billy she seems to know how to drive her Sabretooth Tiger Zord while Billy responds, "Affirmative. I do too. It's almost like second nature to me." It's a somewhat overly-convenient way to explain how new Rangers can work advanced alien technology, but hey — at least a cool giant robot fight comes out of it.

Zordon's cracked tube

Where other "Power Rangers" movies and shows have attempted to update the look of the show with darker, grittier elements, "Once & Always" takes pains to recreate the look of the original 1990s TV series, right down to its brighter lighting and colorful set design. This is especially true of the Power Rangers' Command Center set, which looks impressively similar to the early seasons of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," albeit with slicker elements (like actual star charts in the background).

There's also a shout-out to a later Power Rangers show, "Power Rangers In Space." In this series, the Rangers' long-time mentor Zordon was taken captive and imprisoned in an energy tube that slowly drained his power. The last episode had Zordon asking his friend Andros (Christopher Khayman Lee) to smash the tube and release his positive energy into the universe. While the act ultimately kills Zordon, it has the effect of destroying most of the monsters and villains in the universe while also purifying masterminds like Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd.

In "Power Rangers: Once & Always," Billy attempts to find the lost remnants of Zordon and bring him back, but only succeeds in resurrecting the spirit of Rita Repulsa, who returns as "Robo Rita." In the process Zordon's empty tube is cracked, and remains broken a year later to remind Billy of his failure, while serving as an Easter egg of Zordon's final act in the "Power Rangers" franchise.

Holy voice cameos!

While viewers may not have been able to see them, several classic Power Rangers actors return to play key characters via stealthy cameos. 

Richard Steven Horvitz provides the voice of Alpha 9, the latest version of the Rangers' robot assistant Alpha 5 (voiced by Horvitz in early seasons). Horvitz also voices Alpha 8 in a flashback before he's taken over by the spirit of Rita Repulsa and transformed into Robo Rita. Rita herself is voiced by Barbara Goodson, who provided the dubbed voice for Rita's original Japanese actress.

Although certain "Power Rangers" actors don't appear in the reunion, sharp-eared fans can hear their voices. As Zack and Minh approach Trini's gravesite, vocal clips of Amy Jo Johnson, Jason David Frank, and Austin St. John shout out the names of their Zords as they morph off screen. Earlier, a masked Trini cries out "Billy!" before she throws herself in front of Rita's blast, thanks to archival voice footage of Thuy Trang from the original series.

The entire original Rangers cast comes together at the end, in an archival clip from the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" Season 2 episode "The Song of Guitardo," where they listened to Johnson's original song "Down the Road" when she sang it with Walter Emanuel Jones. The song functions as a bittersweet coda for absent Rangers actors Thuy Trang and Jason David Frank, to whom the TV special is dedicated.