The long-awaited 28th season of Power Rangers, subtitled Dino Fury, is finally hitting screens on February 20. Fans are eagerly awaiting a return to dinosaurs, especially after being introduced to the fresh young cast.
Five of the new Rangers sat down for a long chat with Screen Rant about who their characters are and what they’re most looking forward to in the first batch of episodes.
Power Rangers has been around for almost 30 years, and I am old enough to remember the Mighty Morphin era. Can you guys let me know who you’re playing in Power Rangers Dino Fury?
Russell Curry: I am Russell Curry, and I am playing Zayto the Red Ranger.
Hunter Deno: I am Hunter Deno, and I’m playing Amelia Jones the Pink Ranger.
Kai Moya: I’m Kai Moya, and I’m playing Ollie Akana the Blue Ranger.
Tessa Rao: Hello! I’m Tessa Rao, and I’m playing Izzy Garcia the Green Ranger.
Chance Perez: I’m Chance Perez, and I’m playing Javier Garcia the Black Ranger.
Do you guys have a favorite season of Power Rangers growing up?
Kai Moya: I remember specifically watching SPD. I think that was Space Patrol Delta. That was with my uncle, who is a big fan of Power Rangers. When I was a kid, I remember watching down with him. I’d say that’s probably my favorite, just because that’s the one I remember watching all the time.
Hunter Deno: It’s probably so cliche, but it’s the classic Mighty Morphin’. Just the OG, it’s just a great one. It was my favorite growing up, for sure.
Russell Curry: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Jason was my guy, so to be in those Red Ranger boots is a is an honor, honestly.
Chance Perez: I think I gotta go with Time Force. I think Time Force is probably my favorite one, the storyline was really cool and fun to follow.
Tessa Rao: We [had Power Rangers], but then for quite a period of time, we didn’t. It wasn’t the the biggest thing in New Zealand when I was growing up. But I always knew about it, which I think is a lot. I always knew exactly what Power Rangers was, even when I hadn’t even watched an episode.
I have to say Mighty Morphin, because it’s the OG, Hunter is correct. But also Ninja Steel, just because I like [Zoe Robins]. I met Zoe, and I watched the season, and I was like, “Zoe!”
We were hit with a pandemic, which may have made the audition process a little bit different than what you guys were expecting. Can you walk me through the audition process and how it may have different?
Hunter Deno: We all have different stories. Kai and I are very similar; we started back in March, and then next round was May. Then every two three weeks was the next round, and then August on his birthday, we got the call.
Have any of you auditioned for Power Rangers before? What season?
Hunter Deno: I auditioned for Beast Morphers.
Russell, how do you feel about your first fan interaction being digital versus being introduced live at PMC?
Russell Curry: It’s funny, we were actually talking about that today. It’s so weird. It’ll be really cool when we finally get to meet Power Rangers fans in person. There’s all these people who have just shown us so much love and support and just encouragement about how they know that we’re going to make a great season. And we’re not going to let you guys down.
But it’s just so interesting to have all these interactions with these people that I don’t get to meet in person. I kind of get to form these relationships with people now, so that when we are able to meet in-person I can put a face to the name, or an in-person experience to their Instagram profile or whatever it is. It’s different, but it’s unique. It’s something that we’re lucky to get to experience in a unique way as well, because we’re the only ones who have had it like this. So, yeah, we’re special.
Chance, with your season going back to dinosaurs, what’s something from the past seasons that you wish to explore in Dino Fury?
Chance Perez: I was just talking about this today. I had that exact question in my head, and I think something that’s really cool about past Power Rangers is I feel like the heart of the show hasn’t changed. Like you said, it incorporates friendship, it incorporates the environment, and just being good people and having those morals.
I think that Power Rangers should always stay true to that, and I think that our season does that really well. You can see the camaraderie, like in Mighty Morphin. You can see that friendship in them, as actors but also as their characters. We have that same thing here in our season, so I think that’s pretty special.
Are any of you in contact with past Power Rangers actors? If so, was there any advice that was passed down to you that you kind of hold dear now that you’re living it?
Hunter Deno: I have a few friends from before I auditioned for this season, from Dino Charge, Green Gold and the guy who played Heckyl. And of course, when I first met them, someone was like, “They were Power Rangers,” and I was like, “No way, I auditioned for Beast Morphers.”
And then this audition came along, so I obviously talked to them. They definitely gave me some advice for the audition process and on how to do certain things here, and also some really good recommendations on places to go here.
Russell Curry: Yeah, I’ve gotten some really great advice and encouragement from previous Rangers. I think the two guys who have connected with us the most are definitely Brennan Mejiaand Yoshi Sudarso. We actually had a livestream playing Smash Bros against them. We did Dino Charge versus Dino Fury. We’re probably gonna do it again soon. Those guys are really good too; they were better than I was expecting. Rematch coming soon!
Not only were we able to bond about that kind of stuff and just have fun together, but they’ve given us some great advice. I think the one thing I will always remember is Yoshi was like, “Any chance you get to get some sleep, take advantage. Just do it.”
Tessa Rao: Across the board, it seems that another thing is, “Just make the most of every moment, because it goes so quickly.” I feel like we all already know exactly what that means. We’re already like, “Wait, we’re here now? We’ve got this much left?” So, I feel like that’s definitely something that we’ve taken. It does go very quickly.
Tessa, it’s so cool that we’re getting our first female Green Ranger. Can you talk to me about that experience?
Tessa Rao: Yeah. I’m gonna be honest with you: I didn’t realize when I first got the role that that was the case. When I found out, I was quite shocked and incredibly honored and incredibly excited. I just think representation is so important, across the board, whether that’s gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or whatever it is.
Representing different communities is really important for the viewers to be able to see themselves in different characters. And it’s really exciting to me that I’ve been given the opportunity to hopefully be that representation for maybe some girls out there that quite like the color green or always wanted to be Green and didn’t really feel like they could be, or whatever it was it. It means a lot to me, and I hope I do it justice.
Kai, this is the first time you’re taking part in such a legendary franchise like Power Rangers, but this is also Simon Bennett’s first time really running the show. Can you talk to me about the collaboration process and working with Simon develop some of the characters around you guys?
Kai Moya: It’s been amazing. From the very beginning, he’s always been there Just an email away or a zoom call away. If we have any questions about a character from the start, it was like, “Feel free to just ask it, so that you guys can fully just get into that character.”
The thing that I really like about Simon is that he’s bold. He goes for it, and he’s doing the things that he wants to do with it. And it’s looking amazing. I’m just really happy to be working with him, as his first time being the mastermind behind it all. I’m really happy, and I think I can speak for everyone on that.
Tessa Rao: He’s so collaborative, too. He wants to know what you think about your character as well, which I think is really good. Yeah, he really cares. I feel like it will show onscreen, but it also really helps our experience of telling the stories that we want to tell.
Chance, after you sat down knowing that you’re going to be the new Black Ranger, was there any homework that Hasbro may have given you on seasons that may have set the tone for the series or the characters?
Chance Perez: I think it was very apparent from the job that all of us were very familiar with Power Rangers and had watched it growing up, and it was always something that had been in our lives at one point or another. So, I don’t think there was much studying like needed necessarily, because we already knew so much about it, and we’re already so psyched to play these roles. We knew what it meant to bring your heart and soul into it, and I think that’s what we’ve done with this season.
Is there anything particular from your background, whether it be athletics or music or dance, that helps you inform your characters and that we might be seeing as a part of your development on the show?
Hunter Deno: I was a cheerleader growing up, so I think that you’ll be able to see that a little bit through Amelia.
Russell Curry: The more I think about it, I did a lot of like youth mentorship in past lives before becoming a Power Ranger. I was tutoring younger students, and I was an admissions counselor at one point in my life. So, I think I’ve always had this drive and desire to help younger people or people with less experience become what they want to be.
I think that’s sort of Zayto’s role in this team, and he gets to shepherd the other ones along to becoming Power Rangers. I really love that relationship, and they get to teach him as much as he teaches them. And I think that’s a really beautiful thing.
What new experience do you get to do with Power Rangers that you hadn’t done before?
Kai Moya: Definitely just a stunt-heavy project; I’ve never done that before. Luckily, I’ve done a lot of different types of athletics growing up, so my body was ready for it and for the physical demands of that. But this is the first time I’m doing choreographed things. It’s kind of like a dance. It’s kind of like, “We need to do this at this point and hit this part and hit this mark.” I’ve never done that before, so that’s something I’m doing now. And I love it.
Something I think goes under looked sometimes is just how many episodes you’re doing per week. Can you walk me through a general week on Power Rangers?
Hunter Deno: I’m just not really sure how much we’re able to say, but it definitely is a lot. It’s probably more than you think. As with most shows, we don’t ever really film anything in order. It’s never episode 1, scene one, then scene two, scene three, scene four. I think my very first scene I shot was from episode 2. We have blocks and certain episodes per blocks and stuff like that. I just don’t know how much I can get into it, but it’s a lot.
But it’s also really cool to see how quick it can be done, too. We get on set and we do it, and it just flows so easy. All of us, combined with all the crew and all that stuff – everybody together just makes a really smooth team.
Tessa, what are you most excited for fans to see about your character?
Tessa Rao: That is a very hard question to answer and also a very easy question to answer. I’d say I love who Izzy is. I think that her drive and her focus for the things that she’s passionate about is something that I love about her, and that I’m excited for people to say. And I think that she’s somebody that people can either relate to or hopefully look up to a lot of ways. That really excites me.
Which of you is the closest to the character they’re portraying on the screen?
Russell Curry: I’m gonna argue that it’s Hunter or Chance.
Hunter Deno: Both of us are very equally our characters.
Chance Perez: I would say so.
Have you heard your theme song yet? You don’t have to tell me what it is.
Tessa Rao: Next question.
Fair answer. There’s a Power Ranger bootcamp that you kind of have to go through, though obviously COVID-19 affects that a little bit. But can you talk to me about the training you went through?
Chance Perez: Yeah, we went through a boot camp when we first started. It was about two and a half to three weeks of training with the Japanese sub-team.
Tessa Rao: Not all of us.
Chance Perez: Tessa came in like the last week, so she had it a little bit harder than the rest of us trying to catch up. But she is nailing it and has been nailing it since she got here.
That was the beginning of it. Also, while we were doing that, we’re working with a wonderful acting coach. Her name is Ella Gilbert, and she has just tried to do help us find our characters and become confident actors on screen. It’s figuring out those little tidbits of this world. We’re still learning as we go; we’re always learning and we’re always growing. But the bulk of that beginning part was that the training.
Russell, what do you want to bring to the role of Zayto that may not be on the page?
Russell Curry: I think it’s easy to write him off as just one thing, as serious and the leader. There’s not always necessarily a lot of time to bring dimension to the leader and the Red Ranger role, just because most of what’s happening in every episode is making sure everyone’s on track and getting to say, “It’s morphin time.”
I’m not gonna complain about that, but I think it’s really easy to not notice the emotional depth and development that he goes through throughout the series. That’s what I would want to highlight; that’s probably the most interesting part of him, this journey that he goes through throughout the show. I can’t say any more than that, but you’ll get what I mean once you see this first episode, probably.
Speaking of journeys, can you talk about your journey to being a Power Ranger and any surprises you found?
Kai Moya: The have been many. The one that sticks out to me right now is – I don’t know why this is coming, but – it’s surprisingly difficult to speak and say things under high intensity. You’re moving around a lot, and you’re running around and you’re doing things, and then you have to say a line and make sure that your articulation is perfect.
That’s something, I think, is developing. I guess we all are getting better at that, and I guess that’s just a really good thing for the rest of our careers. Speaking under pressure.
Chance, what are you most excited for fans to see about your character?
Chance Perez: I don’t know. I think in the beginning, when we were doing character development and stuff, Javi was described to me as a little bit of the misfit of the group. He’s not quite sure what he wants to do. He knows that he loves music, and that’s a part of him, and that he wants to go forward with that. But he’s just figuring out the steps.
I think people might be able to relate to him in that way, where maybe they just graduated high school, or maybe they’re in college right now. They’re not sure what their major is, and they’re trying to figure out life. I think that’s a little bit of what he’s going through. He wants to be someone who is important, he wants to do good, and he just doesn’t know how to get there. This is a journey for him, trying to figure out how to become the best version of himself and what that means for him.
Can you sum up what you’re excited for fans to see using a hashtag?
Russell Curry: #GOATSeason.
Tessa Road: #ChangingTheGame.
Kai Moya: #BeDifferent.
Hunter Deno: Or #BeYourself.
Chance Perez: I love all those. I’m onboard.