In recent years, TV series have evolved to show the world’s reality. Whether in regards to politics, youth, adulthood, and LGBTQ stories. While the Power Rangers franchise is known to teach young audiences about how the world works and morals, Power Rangers Dino Fury took it a step further with the franchise’s first LGBTQ character. Cast members Hunter Deno, Tessa Rao, and showrunner Simon Bennett discuss with Showbiz Cheatsheet why it was a needed change that was not forced.
Izzy Garcia, the Green Ranger, develops a crush on an unexpected foe
Power Rangers Dino Fury has already broken ground as an innovative series. It has paved the way for originality while keeping in tune with the franchise’s popular themes. Not only does it use serial storylines to develop character arcs, but one of its Rangers, Izzy Garcia (Rao), is the first LGBTQ character.
Her LGBTQ story is revealed in Power Rangers Dino Fury episode, “The Matchmaker.” Some of the Rangers are perplexed to see Izzy talking to her supposed enemy, Fern (Jacqueline Joe). Even more so when they seem to get along. They also notice that Izzy looks upbeat, happy, and sporting a new hairstyle.
Javi (Chance Perez), Izzy’s stepbrother, starts to believe Izzy has a crush on a guy named Adrian (Max Crean). He tries to set them up together. It just so happens that a monster overhears Javi, and it becomes the focal point of their plan to get rid of the Rangers. By the end of the episode, Javi apologizes for assuming Izzy’s crush on Adrian.
While he apologizes, he is still confused why Izzy had a drastic shift in mood. Adrian points out a scene behind him of Izzy and Fern. They are chatting and walking away while holding hands together. They unofficially announce their relationship.
Tessa Rao explains Izzy’s LGBTQ story in ‘Power Rangers Dino Fury’ does not change who her character is
In the Power Rangers franchise’s history, fans have not seen an openly gay character. But times have changed, and TV series make it their prerogative to display love in all forms. Rao explains to Showbiz that it was an “honor” for her to be a part of the team and part of Izzy’s story.
“I think that it’s been something that people have been waiting for and they deserve. I’m really, really proud to just be a part of that and really, really proud of the way that they’re not only that they are represented, but on a correct representation. And it’s kind of done in the right way,” said Rao. The actor explains the biggest part is that Izzy’s LGBTQ story does not change who she is.
“It doesn’t change her relationship with the rangers or relationship with anyone else. It’s just a part of who she is, just like every other ranger has a part of who they are,” explained Rao. Her co-star Deno says she is proud of Izzy’s journey. She felt the fans knew it was coming and well deserved. “People are just loving it, and they’re very thrilled, and they’re feeling heard, and that’s all we could hope,” said Deno.
Rao explains she found out about Izzy’s LGBTQ arc when they approached her to offer the role. Production wanted to be sure Rao felt comfortable with it. The actor explains the most daunting part was the idea of cutting her hair. “But the other part I was very excited to hear about and obviously immediately said, ‘yes, I’m 100 percent on board’.”
Series showrunner explains Izzy’s LGBTQ story in ‘Power Rangers Dino Fury’ resonates with the real world
Director and showrunner Simon Bennett explained how the series tackles life’s “grey areas” to mimic reality. Especially in terms of the LGBTQ story. “We do want to represent a world that has resonances with the worlds that children actually live in. I don’t think Izzy and Ferns’s story is controversial at all. The only thing that makes it controversial is that there hasn’t been an LGBTQI character on Power Rangers TV show in the past.”
Bennett explains he and the writing team did not set out to make a dramatic point. Instead, they interweaved it in a way that felt natural. “All we wanted to do there was present a normal and interesting relationship between two characters who happen to be of the same gender,” explained Bennett. “We weren’t making a big deal through the story of the fact that Izzy and Fern were lesbian characters because they just happen to be.”
Speaking in tune with Rao, Bennett explains the storyline serves as a way of exploring a relationship. Much like the other Rangers explore their own storylines and relationships. “I think the writing continues to show really relevant things that happen both in a young person’s life, but also just in life in general,” explains Rao. “The important parts of what Power Rangers is just trying to show and represent.”
Izzy’s LGBTQ story in Power Rangers Dino Fury is a new thread of her character arc. It depicts to audiences that the world is no longer black and white.
Power Rangers Dino Fury is available to stream on Netflix.