What makes a hero? Is it courage under fire? Or is it the ability to overcome adversity? Sometimes, all it takes is just a bunch of heroes with attitude! This year we are celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ franchise, a series that tells the tale of a handful of teens banding together to protect our world from evil space aliens like Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, and Goldar! The show has been around since 1993 and it’s had such a strong staying power that now the kids of the kids who grew up watching it are watching it!
We sat down with original series star David Yost, who played Billy Cranston the Mighty Morphin Blue Power Ranger and was the longest tenured original Ranger with the series, to talk about his time on the show and how it’s affected his life today a quarter of a century later! Check out the full interview below!
Science Fiction: The ‘Power Rangers’ franchise has been a phenomenon for quite some time and is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, how does it feel to be a hero, icon and role model for generations of fans?
David Yost: Wow! That’s a lot to take in! A hero and an icon for generations? It’s very humbling, to tell the truth. I never would have thought in a million years that when I started this show twenty-five years ago that it would have the effect that it has had on so many people’s lives. It’s been great over the years to get to travel to all of these conventions all over the world, and on a worldwide level hear so many amazing stories from people about how ‘Power Rangers’ influenced their lives and how our characters influenced their lives. I guess because I got to play the “nerd” I get to hear probably some of the more heartfelt ones, and I take them all to heart. We hear stories from kids coming from broken homes and they say “well Power Rangers was my one saving grace when I would come home and it made me feel good about myself and gave me confidence”, or “since you played the character Billy, I wore glasses and you let me know that it was okay to wear glasses”, or “I got bullied like Billy got bullied and you gave me the confidence to stand up for myself”. So it’s really an awesome experience.
SF: How has being a part of the ‘Power Rangers’ affected your life now?
DY: Well, I mean “once a Ranger, always a Ranger” is what it really comes down to! It’s like no matter what I do, like if I got on another hit TV show, I will still probably be known as “Billy the Blue Ranger”. For a while I was kind of like “ugh Power Rangers”, but now it’s more of an honor to have been a part of ‘Power Rangers’ and know that it made such an impact!
SF: As one of the original stars of the show, when you came on board did you ever imagine the show would become as big as it did?
DY: No! I mean we had no real gauge, and even when we filmed the first season, we filmed almost the entire season before it started airing, so we really had no idea what it was going to be like. Then from the moment it aired, it shot straight to number one! It was like “wow what’s going on?”! And still even, the producers would say “oh your show is number one!” and we would be like “okay but we don’t know what that really means”.
SF: You also stayed with the show the longest out of all the original Rangers. Of all the Zords your character Billy piloted over your seasons with the show, which one is your favorite?
DY: I would probably say, always, it’s going to be the Triceratops Zord. It was cool to be the Wolf in the movie and the Unicorn… I had the Unicorn Thunderzord and that’s always a weird one. It was cool, but the Triceratops will always be my favorite.
SF: What’s your favorite thing about being a 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?
DY: There are so many! In the beginning, because of the original cast, we had such an amazing chemistry together and we went through so much together, and that will always be such a strong memory for me just because we rode the rise to fame together. We had to go navigate this whole weird world! So my original cast, I hold them dear to my heart and just have so many great memories with them. And then over the years again, as we learn how ‘Power Rangers’ influences peoples childhoods, we hear so many stories and sometimes people will just break down and cry when they see us. Not because of anything bad, but because it brings up such a wealth of emotion for them. So it’s really an honor and it’s so incredibly humbling, and all I want to do is hug everybody and just want to make sure they know that we love them as much as they love us! Without you guys, we would be nobody!
SF: Last year, Lionsgate released a reboot of the ‘Power Rangers’ franchise as a movie. We know you were able to see the film at the premiere and that you spent some time with actor RJ Cyler who took over the role of ‘Billy’ in this new version. What are your thoughts on the film and their new take on Billy Cranston?
DY: I loved what RJ did! He’s such a talented actor! I’m so proud, I tell people I’m a “proud papa”. He didn’t need my advice or any kind of guidance from me. We did meet a couple of times and have lunch while he was filming, and we talked about Billy and all that stuff, but his take was awesome! I love that they put Billy on the spectrum and that really speaks to a lot of kids these days! There’s so much Autism and ADHD and all that kind of stuff and it’s great that they have somebody they can relate to.
SF: And in a lot of ways Billy became the real heart of the film!
DY: Oh he stole the whole film! It was all about Billy, which was awesome!
SF: Would you ever consider being involved in a sequel if they asked?
DY: If they asked? I would be there one hundred percent.
SF: After all this time, it seems like the Rangers are such a tight-knit group as far as the former cast. Are you still close with many of your former cast mates? Do you guys stay in touch outside of conventions?
DY: Yeah! We are all still good friends, and I still talk to and hang out with all of them. Walter and I are the only two still in LA, Jason and Austin are in Texas, and Amy Jo is in Canada, so we are kind of around the world. Some of the only times we really do get to see each other is conventions, unfortunately, but we are doing conventions so much that we are actually seeing each other once, twice, three times a month now! So we hang out!
SF: Recently a number of former Rangers cast members, yourself included, came together to work on a new film ‘The Order’, what can you tell us about the project?
DY: It’s really an action film! It has nothing to do with ‘Power Rangers’ aside from that the actors at some point were on the show. Seventeen of us, from throughout different seasons. It’s different, we’re in the midst of it, trying to get it finished. Hopefully, you guys will get to see it soon!
SF: Can you tell us a little about your character from “The Order”?
DY: I play a character named James, and that’s all I can say!
SF: Are there any other projects you have coming up you can tell us about? What can David Yost fans expect to see next from you?
DY: I am working on some stuff that I can’t really talk about yet. And obviously I travel around doing conventions, so I’m all over the world! And I’m a TV producer, so hopefully, I’m going to start producing a bit more again! And I have my clothing line ‘Affirmative Clothing Company‘, which is based on Billy on some level. On the show, I always used to say “affirmative” because I couldn’t just say “yes” all the time. So the motto for the ‘Affirmative Clothing Company’ is “embrace who you are, believe in who you are, affirm who you are” and that’s really what ‘Affirmative’ is about!
SF: That sounds like a really powerful message to give! Speaking of messages, if you had one thing to tell your fans, what would it be?
DY:I would tell you to believe in yourself! And if you know something in your heart, do whatever it takes to get it done! I’ll have you know I never really auditioned for the role of Billy, I auditioned for Jason, and I knew I wasn’t going to get that role, so I begged them to let me read for Billy and they told me no at least five times! “You’re not right for the role” over and over. But I begged and I persisted and eventually, they relented and let me read for it and I ended up getting the role! I knew in my heart I could get the role as an actor. So get the role and always believe in yourself!
For all the latest and greatest updates on David Yost, be sure to follow him across social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Also be sure to get your fix of Power Rangers interviews right here at ScienceFiction.com!