The Tokusatsu Network attended Saban Brands’ Power Rangers Dino Super Charge panel at Power Morphicon 5. The panel featured cast members Brennan Mejia, Camille Hyde, Yoshi Sudarso, Michael Taber, James Davies, Claire Blackwelder, and Davi Santos, and was moderated by Dan Casey (Senior editor of Nerdist, host of The Dan Cave).
Saban Brands’ Power Rangers Dino Super Charge panel began with a behind-the-scenes video featuring archival footage of the original five Dino Charge Ranger actors discovering that they had gotten their roles, as well as bloopers from already-aired episodes of the series.
Casey then introduced Yoshi Sudarso, Camille Hyde, Brennan Mejia, Michael Taber, James Davies, Claire Blackwelder, and Davi Santos, asking the cast about the moment they discovered they were Power Rangers. Michael Taber discussed his fear at the call for an additional audition from the production team. “The nerves were 10 out of 10,” despite numerous previous callbacks and camera tests with other members of the cast, “except James, because he was in New Zealand.”
The cast then reminisced about their favorite moments from set, though they had to hold back the occasional anecdote due to potential spoilers for forthcoming Dino Super Charge episodes.
Conversation turned to the first time the cast put on their respective Ranger suits for their announcement and first appearance as the Dino Charge cast at 2014’s Power Morphicon 4.
“The first time I put on my suit was to do my morph and there had been so much anticipation leading up to it,” noted Claire Blackwelder of her Purple Ranger costume, “I knew from the beginning and nobody else did! It’s like, ‘Let’s do it! Let’s do it!’ And once you put it on, it’s like, ‘Wow, this is…tight.’” After a laugh from the cast, Blackwelder added, “It was incredible…‘It’s actually happening!’”
Noted franchise fan, and current Blue Ranger, Yoshi Sudarso remembered, “That day I got to put on the Ranger suit for the first time, two years ago, and the boots had my name on it. And the suit had my name on it. And I was like ‘Finally. This is it! …It was overwhelming!”
When asked what the best part of being a Ranger was, Sudarso quickly responded, “Saying ‘it’s morphin’ time’,” then turned to a story of meeting and talking to excited children brought to set during the production.
“Fan to Ranger, it’s an incredible feeling because you know all of those hours you watched weren’t wasted,” joked Red Ranger Brennan Mejia, before joining Sudarso in a shout of “Research!”
Claire Blackwelder’s excitement stemmed from the positivity of Power Rangers, “there’s a lot of content out there in general today, a lot of it negative…but we are all about teamwork and friendship and helping each other.”
All of the cast joined Blackwelder in praising showrunner Judd “Chip” Lynn for his commitment to that message, and for his verve and energy during the production. “You knew he cared about us,” noted Brennan Mejia.
When asked to describe the still-to-air episodes of Power Rangers Dino Super Charge in one word, Pink Ranger Camille Hyde stated “feels.” Mejia and Sudarso agreed that the upcoming episodes are “awesome.” But Michael Taber wowed the crowd with a succinct “morphinominal!”
Asked about her character during the following fan Q&A, Camille Hyde revealed that “Shelby was always looking for belonging and she wasn’t the cool kid at school, she wasn’t super popular, or had a ton of friends. She wasn’t widely loved, she was deeply loved – by this family,” referencing her co-stars.
On the subject of fans-turned-Rangers Mejia and Sudarso, Black Ranger James Davies mentioned that “It was cool acting with Brennan and Yoshi, because of how big they are as fans…It was cool to see their dreams come true.” The cast all then noted the pair’s usefulness as a resource for information about the franchise throughout the production.
When asked which other Power Rangers team they would like to team up with, Taber teased “Dare I say Ninja Steel?”
After a few more fan questions, the panel then turned to the announcement of the next installment in the Rangers franchise: Power Rangers Ninja Steel. A short teaser video for Ninja Steel was shown, mainly consisting of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger footage and what appeared to be animated concept graphics of the villains lair: a massive, space-travelling stage for an intergalactic talent competition. Curiously, of the two villains shown in the concept art, one appeared to be the character Baron Nero from the unadapted Ressha Sentai ToQger.
Then, as with the previous Morphicon, it came time to announce the new cast for Power Rangers Ninja Steel. In a break from the previous Morphicon’s panel, the Dino Charge cast revealed the actors’ names via folded papers.
The new cast are Red Ranger Will Shewfelt, Pink Ranger Chrystiane Lopes, Yellow Ranger Chantz Simpson, White Ranger Zoe Robins, and Blue Ranger Peter Sudarso – brother of Dino Super Charge’s Yoshi.
His brother’s name came as a shock to Yoshi Sudarso, who pulled brother Peter into a hug before the new Blue Ranger joined the rest of the cast.
Yoshi Sudarso later confirmed via his Tumblr that his brother and the production team “all kept it a secret from me, I was at the auditions and was told that he didn’t get the role.” Sudarso also noted on Twitter that the wardrobe worn in his cameo appearance in Shuriken Sentai Ninninger belonged to Peter.
The panel ended with a series of photo opportunities featuring both casts and some of the production team on stage.
Power Rangers Dino Super Charge returns to Nickelodeon on Saturday, Aug. 20th.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel will premiere in January 2017.
This panel, “Saban: Dino Super Charge,” was held on August 8, 2016 at Power Morphicon 5.