For children who grew up in the 90’s, there were few things that satisfied quite like the ‘Mighty Morphing Power Rangers.’ It was the perfect storm of action, life lessons, and awesome people in costumes with giant robots fighting monsters! This now legendary 1993 live action series was made using footage from a popular Japanese series called ‘Sentai Zyuranger,’ creatively combined with newly shot American footage, to tell the story of five ‘teenagers with attitude’ that become superheroes to fend off evil and save the day!
In the series, the Power Rangers themselves were created by an ancient warrior named Zordon, who had since become stationary inside a large tube where he appeared to be nothing more than a large floating head! Zordon mentored the Rangers for the first few seasons of the series and is an iconic character in the ‘Power Rangers’ mythos.
Recently at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con, we were able to sit down with actor David J. Fielding, who is the actor to originally bring Zordon to life on the series! He was the actual ‘face’ of Zordon, as well as the voice for the first few seasons of the show.
Science Fiction: First off, let me say that it is an honor to speak with you sir, I’ve been a huge fan since I was a little kid and it’s just wonderful to be able to talk with you. This year marks the 22nd anniversary of ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’, and after more than two decades it’s still one of the highest rated brands for children. Going into the series over twenty years ago, did you ever even imagine it would be this big or gain such popularity?
David J. Fielding: I don’t think so! I mean we were aware that we thought it would do well as far as the toys were concerned, but I don’t think anyone other than maybe Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, I don’t think any of us really realized just how far it was going to go. I certainly don’t think anyone anticipated that it would still be going after twenty-two years. I mean ‘Dino Charge’ started in February of this year, and I love that show. It harkens back to a lot of the things that were great about the first season, so it’s just really interesting to see that it’s stayed around for twenty years.
SF: So you watch the show regularly still?
DJF: I try to, yes! Where I live I can’t actually get Nickelodeon, so I have to like sneak and watch it when I can.
SF: What’s it like looking at the show now versus the show twenty years ago?
DJF: Well I mean obviously the production values have increased! They were sort of flying by the seat of their pants during the first season, and of course every eleven minutes was the Japanese footage! Part of the fun of the original series was how cheesy everything was, but I really enjoy the new seasons. I think they’ve improved in some ways.
SJF: So we know you did the voice work for the Power Rangers commander, Zordon, and we know that your giant floating head in a tube really brought the character to life on screen, but did you ever really spent a lot of time on the set of the show with the rest of the cast?
DJF: Unfortunately no! They actually only filmed me one time, and then continued to use that footage for the life of the character until he was killed off. So unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend any time on the set with the characters. I met the original cast at the audition, and I met them the day that we filmed, but that was it. I don’t think I crossed paths with them in the recording booth like I did with Barbara (Goodson, who voiced Rita Repulsa), Kerrigan (Mahan, who voiced Goldar), and Paul Schrier (who played Alpha 5) but not the rest of the cast. I only met them all a handful of times. I never got to meet Thuy (Trang, the original Yellow Ranger), and I…
Suddenly, David pauses mid-sentence as we are interrupted by a loud shouting from a nearby booth. A crowd has amassed at the booth next to his that features Barbara Goodson, who was the voice of Rita Repulsa on the show, as she films a quick video for a fan using her signature screaming Rita voice!
“JESSICA! THIS IS EMPERESS RITA! I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU THAT SQUAT AND BABOO ARE GIVING ME SUCH A HEADAAAAACHE!”
The crowd erupts in cheers at hearing Barbara do her legendary voice live, as David laughs a moment.
DJF: I really hope you leave that in the interview! So I was saying, I still haven’t met Jason David Frank, so I feel like it’d be nice to get everyone together.
SF: I was going to ask if you had any favorite moments from the set of the show, but it sounds like you weren’t there too much?
DJF: Well it’s funny because whenever anybody asks me that I always defer to the first episode of the show, which is the episode where Zordon actually names them the ‘Power Rangers,’ and gives them their Power Coins and all that stuff. So to me, that’s always the iconic moment.
SF: And really, you were the literal ‘face’ of the Power Rangers, and your character created them! Do you find yourself being recognized often on the street in your day to day life? Or do people have a bit of a hard time without the floaty tube around you?
DJF: No, it’s weird actually. I don’t get recognized at all! When I flew out to Power Morphicon in August, I took a shuttle from the airport with a bunch of other people that were going to the convention, and I was sitting there in the middle of all of these people talking about how excited they were to go and see the rangers. And here I was, this guy just sitting there listening to all of these people, and then somebody turned around and said “well what are you doing here?” and I explained that I was going to Power Morphicon too, and then suddenly they were like “OH MY GOD IT’S YOU!” and it was only then that they realized who I was, and I think that’s the only time that I’ve actually been recognized.
SF: How would you say your time on ‘Power Rangers’ has affected you life now?
DJF: Well, since august of last year it’s affected it a great deal as I’ve been able to start doing conventions and stuff. But before then, it was just something that was kind of interesting that I did. I wasn’t paying that much attention to it because I was doing my own thing, I was writing, working on video games, or doing other voiceover work. But since August of last year it’s sort of taken a huge presence in my life.
SF: We know you’ve worked with a few of the fan films for the ‘Power Rangers’ series, but have you ever considered making a comeback on the actual show as Zordon? I mean yes, we know the character was killed off, but with Rangers it seems like anything is possible!
DJF: And that’s the truth with any superheroes really! But yes, I would love to! Nobody has ever approached me about it, and I’ve never seen a script that’s been written about it, but yes! I would love to do that. I think the fans would go nuts! They would really love to see Zordon come back.
SF: Speaking of comebacks, a few weeks back they announced that Lionsgate has an upcoming ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ film series reboot coming up! What are your thoughts on Lionsgate rebooting the ‘Power Rangers’ as a film franchise, and would you consider making an appearance if you were asked to?
DJF: Yes of course! Of course I’d do it. It’s going to be very interesting tos ee what they do as far as the reboot, I haven’t really heard anything or seen a script or anything like that, but again it would just be a great thing for the fans to see some of the familiar faces they grew up with making appearances. But that’s all in their court, it’s up to them.
SF: We also saw a gritty and violent fan made film hit the internet about a month back that was a lot darker than ‘Power Rangers’ usually is. The video seems to have the fan base pretty divided as to whether they loved it or hated it. Have you seen this version, and what are your thoughts on it?
DJF: I’ve actually seen both versions, the “not safe for work” one and the edited one after that. There was a part of me that was very excited about it, I thought it was done really well. The production values on it were really high, and again it was really nice to see somebody who knew how to use a camera, and knew how to bring everything together. The action was really nice, but at the end of the day it wasn’t really ‘Power Rangers’. It felt more like a ‘shadow world’ of what could be a ‘Power Rangers’ thing. A big part of ‘Power Rangers’ was the goofy cheesy fun stuff of it, and it just isn’t ‘Power Rangers’, which is mainly for kids. Having an eight-year-old see that would just be really disconcerting. As far as the production values, it was fantastic, but it just wasn’t ‘Power Rangers’.
SF: So what can fans of ‘David Fielding’ expect to see coming our way in the future from you? Do you have any upcoming projects?
DJF: Well, I’m an author now, I have a number of short stories and novelettes published that you can find on Amazon. There are some other things that might be coming along, but I think we’ll keep those “hush hush” for now.
SF: One last questions! If you had one message to give ‘Power Rangers’ fans both young and old, what would it be?
DJF: Take care of each other, be kind to one another, and may the power protect you!