The Power Rangers-Inspired Movie That Will Be Jason David Frank's Last Project

Jason David Frank shot to fame portraying the ever-popular Tommy Oliver in the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," which ran from 1993 to 1996. He began the series as The Green Ranger where, under the control of Rita Repulsa, he fights against the rest of the Rangers. However, Oliver is eventually broken free from Repulsa, joins the Power Rangers, and becomes their leader. While all the Power Rangers were popular, Oliver had a far more interesting backstory and complex character arc than the rest of the team, which led to him being a standout favorite among the group.

"Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" only lasted for three seasons, but Frank played Oliver countless times throughout his career. Most recently, he joined forces with Bat in the Sun Productions and reprised the role in their 2018 short, "Power Rangers Legacy Wars: Street Fighter Showdown." The film includes tons of nostalgic goodness, including a courageous Oliver, shiny power coins, and of course, morphin' time. The short has been viewed over 8 million times, proving that fans will never tire of The Power Rangers or Jason David Frank.

News of Jason David Frank's death broke on November 20, 2022, shattering the hearts of '90s kids everywhere. Although we no longer have the privilege of catching any new Tommy Oliver content with Frank, the actor worked on one last project with Bat in the Sun Productions prior to his death, "Legend of the White Dragon," and it's heavily influenced by The Power Rangers.

The story of The White Dragon

Bat in the Sun Productions launched a crowdfunding campaign for "Legend of The White Dragon" in July of 2019. The Kickstarter page doesn't actually mention The Power Rangers' influence on the project, but the header image of a hero in familiar metallic armor gives it away. However, if you miss that somehow, the casting choices are another huge hint. Along with Frank, former Power Rangers Jason Faunt ("Power Rangers Time Force") and Ciara Hanna ("Power Rangers Megaforce") are also part of the cast (via Comic Book Resource). 5,259 fans got the message and funded the feature film with $508,618 in May of 2020.

"The Legend of The White Dragon" may have been inspired by the Power Rangers, but the characters and story within the film are original. According to the official synopsis, Erik Reed (Jason David Frank) was a protector of his city until he lost his powers in an epic battle with an ancient overlord, Ashtagor. The death and destruction resulting from the fight land on Reed's shoulders, making him a wanted man. While avoiding the law and a formidable nemesis, Dragon Prime, Reed fights to regain his powers.

The trailer, which was released in December of 2021, showcases a much darker tone and overall feel than the kid-friendly "Power Rangers." In an interview with Comic Book, Frank revealed that he was excited to bring a more complex and grittier character to fans of his Oliver. "The audience, I think, is going to really relate to Erik Reed because he's completely different opposite than Tommy Oliver," he said. "What they're going to see is Jason David Frank in a more mature role, meaning that he's ... I can finally express on television, that's not for kids, nothing that's PG-13."

Uncertain future

Despite all his years playing a bonafide savior, Jason David Frank had a real affection for struggling characters who don't quite have it all together, and he believed audiences would too:

"Erik Reed is, like I said, a little bit darker. I mean, he's got tattoos. He's not afraid to express his artwork. And every tattoo, especially the one on his head, means a lot to him. It's a reminder of stuff that he's had to conquer and stuff that lingers in his personality for years and years, for the last three years. And you could really see in Erik's eyes, his hurt, his desire to be reunited with his family again, his confusion about life, and just the complexity of what Erik Reed stands for. I think people can relate to that."

Decades ago, Tommy Oliver won the hearts of kids everywhere when he overcame a checkered past and became a hero, and I'd love to watch Frank do that one more time. However, the news of Frank's death has now left the movie in limbo.

When news of the actor's death broke, many fans began tweeting Bat of The Sun Productions, concerned about the status of the film. They responded on the film's official Twitter account, stating that "those questions will be answered at a later date." This might have led some to believe the film wasn't completed prior to the actor's death, but Frank told Morphin' Network in 2021 that they'd finished principal photography on the film. Hopefully, Bat in the Sun Productions decides to release the movie and give fans one last glimpse of Frank being the badass he was.