For the last twenty-two years, fans both young and old have been shouting ‘It’s Morphin Time!’ and celebrating their love of the hit action-adventure show ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’! This classic 1993 series was created using a combination of footage from the Japanese series ‘Sentai Zyuranger’ and new American footage to tell the story of five ‘teenagers with attitude’ that become superheroes to save the world from the forces of evil!
While the show has been primarily geared towards children, it’s hard to ignore that much of the series fan base that grew up watching the popular series never aged off of it as the series continued.But where are the ‘Power Rangers’ now? Luckily we were recently able to catch up with a few of them, including original Black Ranger Walter E. Jones, at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con!
Walter was kind enough to speak with us for a few minutes about his time spent as a ranger and how it’s affected his life now! Be sure to check out the full interview after the jump!
Science Fiction (SF): We’re here at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con with the original Black Power Ranger, Walter E. Jones. Diving right into things, Walter, this year marks the 22nd anniversary of the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ in the US. Did you ever think way back when the show first started that it would ever be this big, or have such long lasting staying power after over two decades?
Walter E Jones (WEJ): No! We really didn’t know, we had no idea that it would become what it is now. I mean, we’re all grateful because really, twenty-two years later? There are not many shows that have that kind of staying power. We were the number one kids show in the United States for a while, and it’s definitely been great to have been part of it. It’s amazing to see that we have generations of fans! It’s kind of like like it’s in the realm of stuff like ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’.
SF: Is it ever daunting for you to think about how you have been viewed as such a positive role model for going on three generations of ‘Power Rangers’ fans?
WEJ: I would not say it’s daunting at all! It’s really something that I’m proud to be able to continue. I want to be a role model, and I’m happy to be a role model. I mean, I am genuinely a good person, and genuinely I want to make people smile, so if I can make people smile by just being me and being friendly just because I’m attached to the ‘Power Rangers’, then I’m quite happy about that.
SF: How has your time as a Power Ranger affected your life now?
WEJ: Well… I’m popular! (Laughing) I mean I can go pretty much anywhere, most places in the world, and somebody is going to know me. And because it was such a positive show, we are always greeted with love, so when people see me it’s never like “oh yeah he’s that guy.. That actor… I hated his character”. It’s always like “dude I loved you! I grew up with you, come on man lets hang out! You‘re my boy!”. So you know, it’s pretty great.
SF: So I know your team of ‘Rangers’ was really the one that started it all, and you’ve been a huge inspiration to a lot of aspiring talent that are following in your footsteps. Do you have any words of advice for future potential ‘Rangers’?
WEJ: I would just say to make sure you take the responsibility seriously, and welcome to the family!
SF: I know you’re close with Austin (St. John, the original Red Ranger), and you see some of the other former ‘Rangers’ at conventions, but do you guys stay in touch and hang out a lot outside of the convention circuit?
WEJ: You know, people ask us that all the time, and the truth is, we all have our separate lives. We’re in different cities, a lot of us, and we all get together to do conventions mostly, but we have a good time. If we were all in the same city regularly, I’m sure we would all gather and hang out from time to time. It’s not to say that we’ve grown apart of anything, but we’re all sort of doing our own thing. Whenever we get together, it’s like no time has passed.
SF: We know you’ve returned to the show a few times after your initial departure to lend your voice to some of the villainous monsters in later seasons, but we haven’t seen you make a return as Zach! Would you ever consider returning to the role?
WEJ: I would love to come back as Zach, but the only problem is that the show is a ‘non-union’ show, which was the reason I left the show in the first place. We were given three scripts, three contracts for three movies, all non-union, which was completely and utterly unfair. We left to renegotiate the contract, and unfortunately the negotiations didn’t work. More unfortunately, it continues to be a non-union show to this day. So the only way that I could go, because I joined the union immediately after I left the show, is if it’s a union project. So for example, projects like Lionsgate’s new ‘Power Rangers’ film will be all union, so that’s something I’m excited about, because it’s actually something I could do.
SF: Would you make an appearance in the upcoming Lions gate ‘Power Rangers’ reboot if they asked you to?
WEJ: I would love to! Yes.
SF: Okay, one last question, but what’s next for Walter E. Jones? What can fans expect to see coming from you in the near future?
WEJ: Well, I’ve actually got a lot of things going on! I do a lot of things, voice over work and films. There are films that I have out right now that I’ve worked on, like ‘Get Hard’, ‘Insurgent’, and ‘Running Out Of Time.’ Three pretty popular films that are in the market right now, and I just worked on another film called ‘Trumbo’ that’s starring Bryan Cranston as a screenwriter that gets blacklisted in the 40’s as a communist. And I’m working on promoting an upcoming boxing fight that’s Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage, who is a boxer that I’m working with. He’s a two time world champion and I’m looking forward to seeing how things go. Other than that? I’m doing auditions and I’ve got some scripts I’ve been working on and it’s a good time.