There have been quite a few versions of ‘Power Rangers’ over the last twenty-four years, and while each version certainly has it’s fans, none stand out quite as much as the original ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’! Even with the first era of the show (which lasted three seasons), by the time the series was wrapping up we had seen four out of five of the original Rangers depart the show and be replaced by what many refer to as ‘Generation 2’ Rangers. Oddly enough, due to the timing of these recasts concurring with the popularity of the series growing, many of these ‘Generation 2’ Rangers ended up being the fan favorites for many people. Several of them even went on well past the ‘Mighty Morphin’ seasons and stayed with the series all the way through the ‘Zeo’ era and even part of the ‘Turbo’ era! One of the most popular carry-over ‘Generation 2’ Rangers was the second Pink Ranger, Kat Hillard, as played by Catherine Sutherland.
We were recently able to sit down with Catherine Sutherland at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con 2017 to talk about her time with the ‘Power Rangers’ franchise, what it was like to move from ‘Mighty Morphin’ to ‘Zeo’ (and even ‘Turbo’!), and what kind of new projects she has coming up! Check out our exclusive interview below!
Fiction: The ‘Power Rangers’ brand has been a phenomenon for over twenty years now, did you ever think the series popularity would last this long?
Catherine Sutherland: No, I think it’s a shock to all of us! After twenty years, to be sitting here? Yes, it’s a crazy ride! We’re very grateful, it’s like a gift that keeps giving.
SF: How has your time being a part of the ‘Power Rangers’ affected your life now?
CS: I think we’re always surprised at the impact it’s made on the fans. The stories that we hear from people saying things like “this helped me get through the day” or that their family bonded and came together over this, or “I felt alone while I was in school but you made me feel like I had a friend”. All of these stories that we hear? It’s very humbling, and such a blessing to us. So now, getting to go to these conventions is a wonderful thing. I always go home to my real life and think “wow, what a blessing that I can go out and do this and make people happy!”. It’s great to give back.
SF: The ‘Power Rangers’ were already a pretty big deal by the time you joined the show towards the end of the ‘Mighty Morphin era, was it at all difficult to join what seemed like an already well established cast?
CS: You know it’s funny because I say this all the time, but I didn’t know that ‘Power Rangers’ was so popular because it hadn’t really played in Australia yet! So my first experience with it was the premiere of the movie, and I was like “oh wow this is a big deal”! Once I realized how popular Kimberly was and how successful the show was, I definitely felt more pressure.
SF: Speaking of Kimberly, for the better part of three seasons, Amy Jo Johnson’s Kimberly had been THE Pink Ranger. Was it intimidating to fill those shoes, and what did you do to ensure that Kat stood out and make the role your own?
CS: It was definitely intimidating once I realized how popular she was, but I think they did a really good job at making us different. I think that was why they went with an international character as opposed to doing another American girl. They made us completely different characters that felt completely different. And I really tried to make Kat have a different energy to her. Kimberly was very bubbly and fun and had sort of that ‘valley girl’ feel, while Kat was more serene and was a little more motherly. She was very calm and zen. So I think that was a good way to help the fans accept the change.
SF: You’re also one of only a handful of Rangers to managed to make it through several versions of the show, with ‘Mighty Morphin‘, ‘Zeo‘, and ‘Turbo’ under your belt. Was there any one of these series that stands out as your favorite?
CS: I love them all, but I think ‘Zeo’ is my favorite because it was my season that was my own, and I didn’t have to share it with anybody. I liked the story in ‘Zeo’, and I feel like we really got the know who Kat was during that season.
SF: So you got to kind of find yourself a little more?
CS: Yes! Definitely. I felt very sensitive to the fact that I didn’t want to make the fans feel like I was taking anything away from Kimberly in ‘Mighty Morphin’. I was very sensitive to that. But in ‘Zeo’, I didn’t have that, and they didn’t have to compare me as much to her.
SF: Of all the Zords Kat had over your seasons, which was your favorite?
CS: Zords? I think I liked the Crane. That was my favorite!
SF: After all this time, it seems like the Rangers are such a tight knit group. Are you still close with many of your former castmates? Do you guys stay in touch outside of conventions
CS: Yes! I’m very close to Nakia (Burrise) since we left the show, and with Karan (Ashley)! The girls all tend to stick together. We see each other a lot because of conventions, but we all stay pretty close. I’ve actually become pretty close with cast members from some of the other seasons like the ‘Time Force’ cast. I just love them! Erin, and Jason, and Deborah, and Kevin! They’re all wonderful, so it really is a family, and we really tend to take care of each other.
SF: Do you have a favorite moment in your life from having been a Power Ranger? Whether it’s a memory from your time making the show, or even just a moment with a fan that comes to mind in particular?
CS: It’s probably boring because I always say the same thing, but I absolutely loved when we got to have ‘Make A Wish’ kids visit the set, or when I got to go visit children’s hospitals, and I just felt like it was such an honor to be able to give back to a child in that way and just… the fact that they wanted to meet us, and that was their dying wish? It still makes me very emotional.
SF: That’s a big moment.
CS: Yes, it’s a very big moment. That’s what I think was my favorite thing to take away from this, was all of the charity stuff we got to do.
SF: Have you seen the new Power Rangers movie yet? What are your thoughts on the film?
CS: I haven’t! (laughing) I feel so bad because I was in Paris when it came out doing a convention over there, and my kids chose to see ‘Boss Baby’ and ‘Beauty & The Beast’ over ‘Power Rangers’, the little traitors! But I’m planning on seeing it later this weekend finally, I can’t wait!
SF: That sounds fair! At least you’re getting there! Speaking of movies, what can you tell us about your upcoming project “The Order”?
CS: We were supposed to start filming at the beginning of this year, but there was some technical stuff with SAG and whatever, but Karan (Ashley) is working very hard to get it up and running again! It’s going to be cool! We really think fans are going to love it. She (Karen Ashley) has written a really fun script with David Fielding (Zordon!) and it’s a darker side of us. Nothing to do with ‘Power Rangers’ at all, but you will get to see us fight again!
SF: Can you tell us a little about your character?
CS: My character is going to be so much fun to play! She’s mysterious and she’s a leader, and she’s strong!
SF: I think a lot of ‘Power Rangers’ fans are excited to see you guys all together again but in a very different place.
CS: It’s a very different place! And some of us that are working together have never worked with each other before, and it’s going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to do it!
SF: Are there any other projects you have coming up you can tell us about? What can Catherine Sutherland fans expect to see next?
CS: Well I always post everything I’m doing on my Instagram and my Facebook page, although there are a few things in the works that I can’t talk about, what with non-disclosures. But I have written a children’s book and I’ve been writing this for so long! It’s written, and it’s been illustrated, but it’s been a lot of back and forth trying to get this thing off the ground. I’m hoping to have that out this year!
SF: That sounds great, we can’t wait to check it out when it releases! And finally, if you could tell your fans one thing, what would it be?
CS: I would thank them! Thank them for following us! And I would tell them to always be true to who you are.
Be sure to follow Catherine Sutherland on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for all of the latest updates on all of her projects! And don’t forget to stay tuned to ScienceFiction.com for all the latest updates on ‘Power Rangers’ and ‘The Order’!
Jordan is a Staff Writer & our resident Toy Columnist here at ScienceFiction! Journalist, Musician, Toy Collector, and Overall Awesome Guy! For more on Jordan’s thoughts, toys, and wacky adventures, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.