Ryan Parrott is about to become the architect of the Power Rangers comic universe. After leading the comic series Go Go Power Rangers for over twenty issues, Parrott will take over the “main” title of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in June with issue 40. He won’t be completely stepping away from Go Go though, co-writing it with Sina Grace.
We had the chance at WonderCon to sit down with Parrot to discuss recent developments in Go Go, his research process, the sanctity of “Green with Evil,” and even Ferbus from Masked Rider.
Yeah, we went there.
In the most recent issue of Go Go Power Rangers, you included King Lexian from the Masked Rider series. Talk a little about including that character.
Well, I know it’s going to disappoint some fans but I have not seen Masked Rider, so to me, I was only aware of his character in the sense that he was the one who created Alpha Five, so obviously, when we were creating Alpha One it made sense if he created Alpha Five. He obviously created the first one as well. That’s why I brought him in and what I liked about the character was the idea of when you go back that far… Zordon is such a revered figure in the Mighty Morphin Universe, he’s this giant floating head in the sky, right?
I loved the idea that you were seeing him at a point where he can be talked to by someone like a contemporary. Like you and I are talking right now. He is so sad and broken by his failures and Lexian is like, “Dude, suck it up.” This idea that somebody would do that for him the way that he does it for the Rangers. (Lexian’s not a) mentor but a friend and that’s why I liked that concept. The fact that it connected into another universe, it was more luck than it was actually me foreshadowing anything.
You even made the Command Center Edenoite architecture.
Yes. Apparently, I got it wrong though. It shouldn’t have been Edenoian. I’m sorry. I failed.
See, if you watched Masked Rider…
I failed everyone.
When is Ferbus from Masked Rider going to show up? That’s the real question.
I don’t know who that is.
He is a character from the Masked Rider TV show that is both loved and hated in equal measure.
It’s a good name, Ferbus.
What about the Masked Rider character who showed up in Power Rangers in the three-parter, “A Friend in Need?” Any plans for that character?
Mostly, I just think for the books being called Mighty Morphin and Go Go, I kind of tried to stay focused on those characters and the way that story has gone out. Not to say that any of this stuff couldn’t happen down the line, but for Necessary Evil and some of that, I was trying to focus mostly on bringing things back to the tone and style of the original series.
In terms of utilizing the bigger Power Rangers universe, there are a lot of different planets and aliens. What is it like playing in that sandbox and how much research do you have to do because it can get really complicated?
That was the nice thing about Go Go was that I had a very small window with which I had to write within. Obviously, I expanded in other ways, but that was fun. It’s a little bigger just understanding relationships in the later series regarding Master Vile and how he (is) with all of them.
Just understanding that I’ve had to expand my viewing, my Mighty Morphin viewing time, a little bit more but it’s daunting. Especially when you deal with all of the later seasons too because sometimes it connects and sometimes it doesn’t and so trying to keep it all straight is a little difficult.
The stories in Go Go take place in another universe though, right? This comic is not trying to say, “this happened between episode 22 and 23.”
I mean this is sort of the consistent question. Obviously, the difference is, if you look at the original show, it took place in 1994 and this story takes place in present day. People have cell phones, they text and have computers and all that stuff. However, if you go back and read the Free Comic Book Day issues, which we show elements from the actual pilot, there’s actual lines of dialogue that are the exact same lines.
If you look at moments in Go Go, when you saw the Pudgy Pig, when he arrived? Same lines of dialogue. I use those as sort of like marking posts. The way that I look at it is I think that they are all canon. I think they are a part of the TV series and the comics are the same line and they sort of intermingle together.
I feel like they sort of line up that way. They are kind of linked … they all fit into the same timeline. Yeah, you could probably get really picky with all, but I just felt like you love the show, I love the show. I don’t want to be in that point where I’m saying, “Well, this happened, but this didn’t.” I want to pay tribute to it the same way that you do.
Recently in Go Go, you’ve been putting a lot of focus on Trini. Are you going to keep focusing on that character or are you going to start cycling through the different characters to give them more and more focus?
I love all of them. I specifically love Trini because I’ve always felt that it’s pretty easy, or at least it was easy when I was writing the story. It always seemed like Jason, Billy, Tommy, and Kimberly stories just naturally…Jason is the leader so he always gets a story. Billy is the techno guy so if they need something fixed, he can fix it. Kimberly always has sort of the relationships stuff, so the two people I always felt kind of got the short end of the stick are Zack and Trini and so I really liked Trini ultimately because I feel like she’s kind of the soul of the Power Rangers.
She seems like she always knows what everybody else is feeling. She sort of feels like she’s the gel that kind of keeps everybody in there. She’s not the leader, but I feel like if she really put her foot down everybody is going to listen to Trini. I definitely want to explore all of those characters and the way that their relationship changes and evolves.
The long/short answer to all that is definitely you will see everybody sort of have a moment and hopefully get to keep expanding and evolving their characters.
When you started this comic, you had to watch a lot of Power Rangers. As you’re writing it now and you’re taking the story in your own directions, are you still going back and revisiting episodes, or if you’re stuck, do you go back and watch and get inspired?
I have watched so many episodes multiple times. I think one thing that is interesting about season one of Power Rangers is that it’s sixty episodes. A huge amount of time. What’s really interesting about it is there’s not a lot of pillar moments in season one. Season two does have a lot of pillar moments. Being aware of how they use them and they change the team and all that stuff, I think is the key to writing the series at any point. But yeah, I definitely am going back and watching stuff and always keeping it as a north star. The way that show just built the characters and what they were aiming for and trying to stay true to that spirit.
Are there any specific episodes that you find yourself revisiting more than others?
I remember this episode that I really enjoyed. I really liked “Gung Ho.” I can say others but I feel like people might read into those the wrong way.
Were there any particular moments in the show that were just very tiny moments that you then decided, “Ooo, I’m going to really pull on that. I’m really going to extrapolate from that.”
Yes. There was one element that I read about and then I saw in the series and I don’t know if it’s true. I’m not doing it this way, so I don’t want to give people the wrong idea, but I remember reading something that at one point Ernie was supposed to be Zordon. It was one of those things, if you go back and watch some of those early episodes, it’s interesting to think about.
I really enjoyed Ernie’s relationship with the Rangers, but one of the things I liked was seeing the way that idea of him being Zordon was built into the story. It didn’t evolve a lot but it was there. If you look at the first issue of Go Go, obviously I tried to make Ernie and Jason’s relationship very much a stronger thing. Behind the scenes stuff influenced the way that I look at how Ernie perceives the team.
It’s not really answering your question, but it’s something that was in the spirit of the show that was never stated. I looked at it and thought, “Oh, I would love to examine that and explore that a little bit more.” But yes, I’m not saying that Ernie is Zordon.
In the Wondercon Boom Panel, you mentioned not wanting to retell “Green with Evil.”
It’s a revered moment in Power Rangers. It seems like that’s the one everybody really loves. I feel like if I were going to try and retell that or redo that, all I would do was make people mad. It’s like we know it. If you want to see that story, go watch those episodes.
Did you ever think you could expand or change it up?
I just felt like the comic books work best when they are telling new stories and not retelling the old ones. I felt like, if you were going to retell “Green with Evil,” I wouldn’t want to say something completely different with it and I feel like it’s already doing exactly what it needs to do at this point.
Does it feel like now, especially with how the MMPR title started as a post “Green with Evil” story, that in a very metatextual kind of way, “Green With Evil” is seen as the nexus of where all Power Rangers stories spring from?
From your lips, man. I feel like it is sort of the center if you look at the way that Mighty Morphin works and how Go Go works and you look at “Green with Evil” sort of being that center point, I do definitely think that is a good way to look at it.
With the White Ranger being introduced in the upcoming Necessary Evil arc, have you been watching more season two episodes to get a feel for him?
Yes, definitely. I’ve watched season one and season two multiple times. When we were looking for a place to bring the Ranger teams back in and get Mighty Morphin back to the version of the original series? I was looking at it and I thought, “Well, okay, if you look at Mighty Morphin [Issue] Zero, it’s the arrival of the Green Ranger and how he changes the team. I just thought, “Okay, we should do the same thing. The new guy and how they change the team.” It just seemed like a nice parallel to be able to spark and go forward.
Right now, the MMPR comic is in its Beyond the Grid arc. We know you can’t spoil anything, but how much of what happened in Beyond the Grid is going to impact what’s going on in MMPR 40 and onward?
Go Go has been character focused. It’s been less battles and more focus on the actual characters. Are you going to bring some of that to MMPR?
If you like my writing style, if you like what I’ve been doing in Go Go, my sensibilities aren’t going to change. I really enjoy the emotions I really like and the things that I think are important, those are going to be in there. The pacing might not necessarily be the same. The scope might not be the same. The stakes might not be the same, but yes, definitely the style, the voices, and all that stuff, that’s going to still remain the same.
This is a super deep cut question. There is an episode, “Foul Play in the Sky,” where there is a character named Matt who is flirting with Kimberly. Was that a coincidence?
I will just say this: I am aware of that episode. I am aware of that episode before you brought it up. I’m also aware that there is a football player in the episode “Football Season” that is also called Matthew. I don’t think we see him but I am aware of those things and I was aware of those things.
Did you know that actor in “Foul Play in the Sky” was almost cast as Jason?
Oh my God. Then I’m a genius. I did not know that. Holly crap. If I did know that, wouldn’t that be amazing? You guys would have been like, “This guy is just-” There are a lot of little detail things in there that when we are building out… Some of it is coincidence, but also we are aware of some stuff in there and there are definitely some things that I want to touch on.
I used the pyramid formation for God’s sake. That’s the stuff that’s fun. The show is so crazy and that’s half the fun. Going through it and going like, “Can I add this little thing? Can I draw that?” That’s the fun stuff. That’s the stuff that I think we’re so lucky to be able to play in the sandbox with this show because it’s got so many great fans and it’s got so many people who love it.
There’s so many weird holes — and it’s not a diss. It’s just because of the nature of the way the show was built, there’s so many holes and things that defy logic that half the fun of doing a series that takes place today is just finding ways to justify and answer those things.
It’s like somebody always says to a writer, the best thing to do is to write yourself in a corner and then figure out a way to write yourself out. The show did that for me in a weird way and sometimes it can be a really fun and really rewarding experience.
Obviously, you’re doing something with the Green Ranger shield now with Rita’s mom. Since I know you’re not going to give us any spoilers, let’s ask the question. Is it the Japanese footage shield that looks nice or the American cloth nasty shield?
I feel like it might be like in Batman Begins. It’s cloth and you hit it with an electrical fuse and it turns into the good thing. I feel like it’s that, but it’s the good one I guess. Yeah, I notice people notice that, that she’s wearing it and that will all sort of come to a climax in the next few issues. You will sort of understand what that means and how that plays into the mythology. A lot of people notice the Green Ranger, I think it was Go Go 17 or 16, I can’t remember, was not wearing the golden shield so obviously, that was important, that was on purpose.
Going forward with MMPR and Go Go, because you are working with a co-writer for Go Go now, what is that like of co-writing with someone?
Well, I broke all of Mighty Morphin by myself and then I broke 90% of Go Go by myself and the outline was done and the pitch. Then we brought Sina [Grace] to help me just do the heavy lifting of the scene work but he’s really brought some of his own stuff. A lot of the things he liked are the same things I did, so I just knew it would jell well. We work on it together and go back and forth on it and send scripts back and forth and stuff. He’s brought a lot of his own vibe to it and I really like it. I think people will be really happy.
What other projects are you working on that are not Power Rangers? Anything you want to tell us about?
Is there anything besides Power Rangers out there? I have two creator-owned books. The first one is called Volition, which is with AfterShock [Comics]. [It’s] basically about a world where robots have grown up next to us and basically there is a virus that is slowly destroying their robot consciousness and about them trying to solve that. Then Oberon, which I just started which has been a lot of fun. It’s basically about the king of fairies losing his crown and going and taking the promise child and going on a crazy adventure. They are a lot of fun. The nice thing about them is they don’t have near the scrutiny of Power Rangers so I can do anything I want.
It’s very different to write a book where you have to create the formula. In Power Rangers, I already knew what that formula was from day one, so I’m learning a lot about how it works and how it doesn’t, so they reward me in a completely different way.