Friday, July 12, 2019

Original Red Power Ranger Actor Reveals What Jason Would Be Doing Now

Did you think the Red Ranger was going to buy a vacation house and retire?

Here's what Austin St. John, the man behind Jason Lee Scott in the iconic Power Rangers franchise, thinks his Red Ranger would be doing in 2019. Jump-kicking its way onto the bulky television screens of 1993, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers become an instant worldwide success with its vivid, colorful style, high octane martial arts and ridiculous stream of grotesque monsters. Since its initial launch, the series has continued throughout the years in many different incarnations and found new generations of youngsters to entertain with an ever-revolving cast of characters and Zords to thrill viewers (and turn into toys).

Austin St. John was one of the original crop of Rangers, portraying the Red Ranger and overall group leader, Jason Lee Scott. Since first departing the role in 1994, Austin has returned to the Power Rangers franchise on a number of occasions, portraying the character in 2002 for an episode of Power Rangers Wild Force, taking on the guise of the Gold Ranger in Power Rangers Zeo and starring alongside fellow original cast member, Amy Jo Johnson, in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, among other credits. St. John last played Jason in the video game Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, which came out in March. The character has also lived on in comics and other media inspired by the beloved franchise. The actor has a number of projects currently in post-production and last year featured alongside Mischa Barton in Monsters At Large.

In an interview conducted by Underground Nation magazine, Austin was asked what he thought Jason would be doing in the fictional world of Power Rangers in 2019, as the franchise approaches its 30th anniversary, and the actor replied:

David Yost as Billy Cranston the Blue Ranger and Austin St. John as Jason the Red Ranger Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

"I would see him in a very quiet behind the scenes leadership role. I would see him in an elite special operations unit, behind the scenes, where nobody knew he existed, running things quietly, in command of his operations unit, letting all of the flashy guys have the front line, letting all of the known special operations unit with all the blame, be in the front, letting them have all the news and the media. And he would quietly, with his elite team, be out doing the real work, every day, and never needing credit for it."

It certainly sounds like Austin has put some serious thought into the fate of his most famous character, and his pitch is very much in keeping with Jason's established character and moral code. The concept of an Black Ops-style Power Rangers unit may not fit completely alongside the franchise's usual kid-friendly model, but the 2017 live-action Power Rangers movie proved that there is merit in a a slightly more mature take on the story. If there are any 30th anniversary plans to reunite some of the classic cast members and do a follow-up to their characters' lives in the years after Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, many fans of the original series would likely provide a willing, if considerably older, audience.

Fans might not have to wait long before they get to see the future of St. John's Jason, however. The actor is rumored to reprise his character for an episode of the Power Rangers Beast Morphers (or Power Rangers Super Beast Morphers), the current series in the long-running Power Rangers franchise, which airs on Nickelodeon.

It's perhaps testament to the longevity and popularity of the Power Rangers franchise that the likes of Austin St. John are still discussing their characters almost three decades later. Power Rangers may have continued in various incarnations, but fans still go back and revisit the original, much-loved cast that laid the foundations for what was to come.

The original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series ran for three seasons from 1993 to 1995 on Fox, and also starred Walter Jones (Space Cases). St. John and two other Rangers would leave in the middle of season two over pay and contract complications.

Recently in the Power Rangers comic series ("Necessary Evil", beware of spoilers!) a new twist was put on Jason's exit from the narrative, showing what he was really up to with his fellow departing rangers. While not exactly the same as what St. John laid out for his character, it allows for Jason to continue helping fight evil even though he's not a part of the team proper.

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Sources: ScreenRant, IGN UK.
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