Out ‘Power Rangers’ star returns to the franchise in this kitschy reboot

Out ‘Power Rangers’ star returns to the franchise in this kitschy reboot
David Yost in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & AlwaysPhoto: Geoffrey H. Short/Netflix

Out actor David Yost is returning to the Power Rangers franchise over a decade after revealing that he left the 1990s kids’ series due to rampant homophobic abuse on set.

The beloved Saturday morning series, which originated as a Japanese TV show, has seen countless reboots and reinventions over the years, including a big-budget 2017 film version. The original American show, which debuted on Fox in 1993, followed the adventures of five teens who fought monsters sent to earth by campy space villain Rita Repulsa (voiced by Barbara Goodson).

A trailer for the latest reboot, Netflix’s upcoming Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always, dropped today, featuring Yost and original co-star Walter Emanuel Jones taking center stage. The pair are essentially forced to reassemble the team after a resurrected Rita kills their comrade, Trini. (Thuy Trang, who played the character in the original show, died in a 2001 car accident.)

Unlike the 2017 film, which opted for a gritty tone and blockbuster CGI, the new flick retains the show’s goofy low-budget charm.

It also centers the original show’s Black and gay actors, with Yost’s Billy and Jones’s Zack—the only two original cast members who appear in the trailer—taking on leadership roles in the reconstituted Rangers.

It’s something of a vindication for Yost, who claimed in a 2010 interview that pervasive on-set homophobia forced him out of the franchise during the fourth season of spin-off series Power Rangers Zeo. Yost said that he walked off set one day after being called “fa***t” one too many times.

“I had just heard that several times while working on the show from creators, producers, writers, directors,” he said. “Continuing to work in an environment like that is really difficult.”

“Basically, I felt like I was continually being told I’m not worthy of being where I am because I’m a gay person,” he continued. “You can’t be a superhero. That’s sort of the vibe that I was getting.”

After leaving the show, Yost said that he spent two years trying to “pray the gay away,” undergoing so-called “conversion therapy,” which led to him being hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.

Yost is clearly in a much better place now, and excited to revisit his blue tights. His experience working on Once & Always sounds like it was much better as well. In January, he tweeted several preview images from the film, writing “I had so much fun working on this Special!”

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