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we saw wut u did thar, paramount
Update on the Red Samurai Ranger 
10th-Aug-2010 06:06 pm
In May 2010, we wrote about casting for the 18th season of Power Rangers and how Nickelodeon restricted the lead role in Power Rangers to white actors only--despite the franchise’s past history of diversity and ‘colorblind’ casting.

Racebending.com wrote Nickelodeon’s CEO Jeff Dunn via email asking that he re-release the casting breakdown and give actors of color a fair and equal chance to audition for the lead role. We didn't get a response. (Sorry folks!) Edit: But the casting call was changed! See below!

Our concern wasn't that the Power Rangers weren't going to be diverse--the show has always been diverse. What we were concerned about was that actors of color were not given a fair and equal chance to try out to be the Red Samurai Ranger--the lead role--for Nickelodeon's first season of the show. For whatever reason, Nickelodeon didn't specify the ethnicity of the supporting Rangers, but their leader had to be white.

Racebending.com facebook user Austin B. posted a mash up photo (see below) and a heads up on our Facebook page. According to heropower and RangerBoard.com, Alex Hartman has been cast in the role of the Red Samurai Ranger.

A really diverse cast, but, behind the scenes, a glass ceiling. Your mileage may vary.

EDIT: Good news! foxtree reports that the casting breakdown was updated after we sent the letter to Nickelodeon. (No idea or any way to determine if we were the reason why or not.) Here's the breakdown below:

11th-Aug-2010 01:17 am (UTC)
also disappoint that there don't seem to be any mentions of an American counterpart to Shiba Kaoru of the original series. That's another glass ceiling their hitting, and fans who know the SPOILERS can guess why.
11th-Aug-2010 05:09 am (UTC)
Actually, she is gonna be on the show. They released a casting side for "Princess Megan" around the same time they revised the casting sheet for red.
11th-Aug-2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Oh, lord, those are some good looking MOC.
11th-Aug-2010 02:38 pm (UTC)

eta - your icon is win. so much win.

Edited at 2010-08-11 02:40 pm (UTC)
11th-Aug-2010 02:03 am (UTC)
This is supposedly the updated casting breakdown released a couple of months ago:

And a Source. I usually trust that source, but if it were legit I don't understand why RB didn't receive a response :(

Random observation: in the Disney/Nick seasons of the show, the yellow ranger is usually white and blonde. It's also interesting that while diverse, none of the Disney seasons have had a black female ranger.

Edited at 2010-08-11 02:03 am (UTC)
11th-Aug-2010 03:05 am (UTC)
This makes me happy. Thanks.
11th-Aug-2010 02:38 am (UTC)
Ya know, that cast kind of reminds me of the one in Time Force. I recently rewatched that season and definitely saw how, while we had great diversity in the group (including two Filipino actors, though one played an alien, but the other was definitely considered a "cool" character within the canonverse and was a bit of a ladies' man), the leaders of the main group were a white girl and a white guy.

Might check this out if I can though, out of curiosity. If nothing else, I may end up watching it online. x3
11th-Aug-2010 03:17 am (UTC)
But of course! Only rangers wearing some shade of red get any focus. At the very least, it was cool that show that focuses mainly on the the young boy demographic had a female leader.
11th-Aug-2010 03:11 am (UTC)
Huh, I thought Power Rangers was always an ensemble show? I never noticed it had a lead. I am glad they re-posted the call for any ethnicity though.
11th-Aug-2010 04:32 am (UTC)
I thought that too, really. I only watched the original team, which I always felt gave pretty equal screen/plot time to everyone, at least until it started to get Tommy-centric. However, watching Linkara's History of the Power Rangers pointed out that yeah, they do tend to have a "main" character, always the red ranger, that has the biggest role in the plot. The other rangers seem to have good parts, too, just not quite as important.
11th-Aug-2010 03:53 am (UTC)
So they don't specify the Red Ranger's ethnicity (now), but they do specify his height? I'm not familiar with casting calls, so I don't know if that's unusual or not.
Gee, what ethnicity do you suppose the ex-samurai evil guy Juzo is going to be? *eye roll*

Yet another series filming in New Zealand, huh? Power Rangers in Rivendell and Lothlorien, OMG!
11th-Aug-2010 05:35 am (UTC)
Height is of particular importance when casting Power Rangers because they don't film their own fight scenes--they reuse fight scenes that have already been filmed from the Japanese series. So the characters have to be the same height as their Japanese counterparts to be as believable.
11th-Aug-2010 05:15 am (UTC)
on a shallow note...Damn! Those gotta be the hottest rangers I've seen. O_o; Were the rangers of my childhood this hot? What audience are they going for again?
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11th-Aug-2010 10:59 am (UTC)
Great letter!!
11th-Aug-2010 08:07 pm (UTC)
Hm. Apparently there has never been a female Red Ranger. That's depressing, but not too surprising. :/
11th-Aug-2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
I was going to say, blame Japan, because that's where the footage originates from. But then I remembered that the first Yellow Ranger was male in Japan and they used the same footage but made the character female in the United States. I think they could get away with casting a tall woman for Red Ranger in the future! And maybe a male Pink Ranger, to boot!
11th-Aug-2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
Wow, I really hope that the 'good news' is true. And realistically, if they put "any ethnicity" you'd think that most of the people showing up would be white anyways.

What I don't get is why they have separate casting calls of each color of ranger. I mean, I can understand why they'd have male/female casting calls, but really, couldn't they just have casting calls for "male ranger"/"female ranger" and decide later who gets what part? IDK, I suppose they probably do that anyways, like this guy comes in for the red ranger role and they think he's better for the purple ranger role.

I don't know much about power rangers [other than the Power Morphicon 2 is at the end of the month hear in Pasadena :-p http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pasadena-CA/The-Official-Power-Morphicon-Convention/226350690636] but has there ever been a black black-ranger and an Asian yellow-ranger outside that first season?

And was there ever a male pink-ranger in the source material? Just curious...

Hmm... I guess "Morphicon" is also the name of a furry convention. There's some awkward moments waiting to happen.
11th-Aug-2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
Because then they'd have a bunch of actors coming in and auditioning who can't play characters at all similar to the Japanese counterparts(which is important for a show like PR)

And no, there has never been a male pink ranger or another Asian actress playing a yellow ranger. There was another black black ranger in one of the Disney seasons though who was portrayed as and played by a MAJOR douche bag who went to the first Power Morphicon and stole a banner signed by cast members that was gonna be auctioned off for charity
12th-Aug-2010 02:52 am (UTC)
Ugh, here.
12th-Aug-2010 03:32 am (UTC)
Hopefully by the Goseiger adaption, they would have an Red Ranger of Color, if not an Asian Red Ranger. One of the good things about the Disney era is the many Red Rangers of Color (Though you kind of looked of Nick's actor, whose Lebanese).
12th-Aug-2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
I wonder as a person of color from another culture, if Saban is aware of the tropes associated with the color? He's Egyptian-Israeli, so he may just have not understood the problems, as color meanings aren't universal?
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