Billy Cranston

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Billy Cranston
BillyCranston.jpg
Series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Power Rangers Zeo
Title(s) Blue Power Ranger
Blue Ninja Ranger
Color(s)      Blue
First appearance Day of the Dumpster (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Last appearance Rangers of Two Worlds, Part 2 (Power Rangers Zeo)
Status Retired
Homeworld Earth
Zords Triceratops Dinozord
Unicorn Thunderzord
Wolf Ninjazord
Blue Shogunzord
Portrayed by David Yost

Billy Cranston is a fictional character in the Power Rangers universe. He is the Blue Ranger and Blue Ninja Ranger in the series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, portrayed by actor David Yost. Billy is the only original Power Ranger to remain for the entire MMPR series, and is the second longest-serving Ranger overall behind Tommy Oliver. Until his departure, he was considered the brains of the Power Rangers team, creating many gadgets with which to solve problems that not even Zordon foresaw, and even invented the first team's wrist-worn communication devices.

In 2013, it was revealed that Billy's last name came from actor Bryan Cranston, known for his roles on Malcolm In The Middle and Breaking Bad, who had voiced several monsters on the show earlier in his career.[1]

Character history[edit]

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers[edit]

Billy was one of the five "teenagers with attitude" selected by Zordon to become the original Power Rangers, along with Jason Lee Scott, Zack Taylor, Trini Kwan and Kimberly Hart. Billy became the Blue Power Ranger, and was given both the Triceratops Power Coin and the Triceratops Dinozord.[2]

Billy began the series as the stereotypical "nerd". The other Rangers, especially Trini, defended him loyally, but Billy later evolved to become a stronger individual. He was one of the top members of Angel Grove High's science club and often helped its younger members with their experiments. One such example was with Willy, a young boy he helped to create a virtual reality simulator for a Science Fair. In the episode "High Five", Billy not only created the communicators, but also the interface that allowed the devices a remote access to the Command Center's teleportation unit.

It revealed that, due to an experience in his youth when he was bitten by a fish during an experiment involving whirlpools, Billy developed icthyophobia: fear of fish. This fear would affect him well into his teens and Rita would use a spell to exacerbate this fear. When he is the last Ranger left able to contend with the Goo Fish monster, Billy overcomes the spell and then, after helping to free his friends and defeat the monster, completely overcomes the fear itself on a fishing trip with Ernie, the owner of the Youth Center.

Each of Billy's teammates have a unique skill to offer the team and, in Billy's case, it was his vast intelligence. He sought out to improve himself physically, and the audience would see him transition over time from the suspenders-wearing "brain" to a confident, hyper-intelligent athlete with appreciable fighting skills, thanks in great part to Trini's Uncle Howard. Jason and later Tommy helped graduate Billy to the red belt level in karate.

Billy as the Blue Power Ranger.

Billy's intelligence would help the Rangers save the world on many occasions. When the Command Center was damaged, Zordon lost and Alpha incapacitated, it was his invention, a car called the RADBUG, that allowed the Rangers to travel to the Command Center. He performed a wide array of tasks, ranging from creating the method for which the Ranger's would use initially to infiltrate Rita's Dark Dimension, to disarming the lock-out mechanism for Alpha's activated self-destruct, and many other achievements. Though Billy did manage to attract girls earlier in his "nerd-like" persona, it was after he began his journey toward self-improvement that he would garner more attention from romantic interests, even more so than the other members of the team.

Billy is accepted into the Young Scientists of America program. In Season 2, he befriends Zack's cousin Curtis when he becomes the newest student at Angel Grove High. Curtis' musical interests, particularly in playing the trumpet, sparks Billy's interest into the rhythmic patterns of jazz music.

Later in Season 2, a time-traveling Kimberly would recruit Billy's ancestor William in the 1880s to become the first Blue Ranger when she assembles and takes command of the Wild West Ranger team in a battle against Goldar and several other time traveling foes.

In season 3, Billy gained new powers from Ninjor, who gave him the Wolf Power Coin, and became the Blue Ninja Ranger.

Billy Cranston is named after Actor Bryan Cranston, who completed some voice over work for the show.[3]

Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers[edit]

The Rangers are de-aged by a time reversal spell performed by Rita Repulsa's father, Master Vile. Billy devised a plan to restore the rangers' ages using a machine that runs off of the power coins. Billy restored himself, but Goldar steals the machine and Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa destroy all six Ninja Power Coins. With his Wolf Ninja Coin destroyed and his Triceratops Power Coin damaged beyond use, Billy's role changed. He no longer fought as a Power Ranger, but rather acted solely in an advisory and supporting role. In fact, Billy was the only Ranger in this period to be portrayed by his regular actor - the others had been replaced temporarily by child actors after Master Vile had used the Orb of Doom to revert time by approximately ten years. Billy acted in this period as a liaison between the Aquitian Rangers and Earth. It was the cure for Billy's reverse-aging that eventually served as the plot device by which he was removed from the show. When Power Rangers Zeo began, Billy officially retired from active Ranger service, allowing Tanya to take his place while he continued his support role by creating and maintaining most of the weaponry, gadgets and Zords the Zeo Rangers would use.

Power Rangers Zeo[edit]

The writers left the choice open as to whether or not Billy would become a Zeo Ranger, with him musing at the start of Zeo that he could always assume the Zeo power in an emergency. He graduated earlier than the rest of the team in "Graduation Blues," and then left the Earth for a brief period to address problems on the planet Aquitar. In "Mr. Billy's Wild Ride," he returns to Earth, although he is attacked by hostile forces along the way.[4]

Before the Gold Ranger's identity was revealed as Trey of Triforia, the writers left several red herrings to mislead the viewers into believing that the Gold Ranger was Billy. When Trey of Triforia returned to Triforia on sabbatical to try to unify his three selves, Billy was selected to assume Gold Ranger's powers. However, the negative proton energy that his body had absorbed in the Command Center's explosion prevented him from taking the powers. Instead Jason Lee Scott, the former Red Ranger, received the powers.

Billy was last seen in one of the final Zeo episodes suffering from accelerated aging because the regenerator he used to restore his proper age had a side effect. To counter this, he traveled to Aquitar for a cure from their Eternal Falls (analogous to the Fountain of Youth), and opted to remain there with Cestria, a female Aquitian with whom he had fallen in love.

Because of the absence of Yost (he said he had walked off the show a few episodes prior to his character's departure, due to repeated and ongoing homophobic slurs by the creators, producers, directors, and writers of the series,[5] hence his lack of appearance in them; shortly after, however, producer Scott Page-Pagter denied these allegations and said Yost left over a salary dispute and got along with no one in the crew[6]), stock footage of Billy was used for his departure and his character was voiced by someone else (in broadcasting his departing message to his friends it was mentioned they were having trouble with the signal). He was also the last of the original Power Ranger team to leave the show, although his former teammate Jason had returned as the Gold Ranger at that time.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kepnes, Caroline (2013-06-20). "Throwback Thursday: Bryan Cranston Was a 'Power Rangers' Villain AND Hero - Yahoo! TV". Tv.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  2. ^ Dale, Steve (1995-03-10). "From Power Bow to Hip-Hop-Kido". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  3. ^ "that_cool_nigga comments on I am Bryan Cranston, AMA". Reddit.com. 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  4. ^ "Interview with David Yost Part 2". No Pink Spandex. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  5. ^ a b "Interview with David Yost Part 3". No Pink Spandex. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  6. ^ "Morphin Producer -- Blue Ranger Was 'Pain in the Ass'". TMZ.com. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 

External links[edit]