November 26, 2022


(ABC, ABC Family, Toon Disney February 14-November 20, 2004)
BVS Entertainment, Renaissance Atlantic Entertainment, Toei Company Ltd., Village Roadshow KP Productions Limited





Power Rangers Dino Thunder is the eleventh incarnation of the Power Rangers franchise, the second of the Disney-era, and the twelfth season overall. It utilized footage from Toei Company, Ltd.’s 27th Super Sentai series, Bakuryū Sentai Abaranger. This incarnation was notable for several reasons: it marked the first (and last) starring role for Jason David Frank since Power Rangers Turbo, a return to a dinosaur theme for the Rangers since Mighty Morphin, and contained the franchise’s 500th episode overall.


Billionaire scientist Anton Mercer (Latham Gaines) and paleontologist Tommy Oliver (Frank) were working together on several projects designed to combine dinosaur DNA with technology. That is until Anton mysteriously disappeared and his island lab sank into the ocean; nearly taking Tommy with it. However, the truth of the matter was that a lab accident had befallen Anton that transformed him into the evil humanoid mastermind Mesogog. Mesogog was a completely separate personality from Anton’s, and the two constantly battled for dominance over their shared body. Mesogog was fueled by a desire to restore the Earth to the age of the dinosaurs and turn the human race into hybrids like himself and planned to use his and Tommy’s work to do it.

Once a Ranger...

In the years following, Tommy had taken up a teaching position at Reefside High in Reefside. There, he was given charge of three students placed in detention by the school’s super-strict new Principal, Ms. Randall (Miriama Smith): Conner McKnight (James Napier), the sexist school soccer star; Kira Ford (Emma Lahana), a singer and guitarist (who played with her real-life band several times in the show) determined to prove herself an individual; and Ethan James (Kevin Duhaney, reportedly a fan of the franchise since Mighty Morphin), a computer nerd with a sarcastic streak. Taking them to a museum, Tommy offered to cancel the rest of their detention if they could find something prehistoric on the grounds. This led to the teens accidentally stumbling into the hidden lair under Tommy’s house, and taking the red, yellow and blue Dino Gems embedded in a meteorite inside.

Conner, Kira and Ethan after being drafted.

The Dino Gems were created by the Red Morphin Master using the Morphin Grid (revealed later in future entry Dino Fury) and were sent out into the universe as a tool against evil. The Gems crashed onto the planet in the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs and was found by Tommy, who took them for safe keeping. The Gems, said to be able to choose their holders, bonded with the teens and gave them special abilities: Conner super speed, Kira a piercing and damaging sonic scream, and Ethan a protective shield over his skin. With Mesogog proving to be a lingering threat, Tommy gave the teens the Morphers he had created in case the Gems needed to be used, turning them into the Power Rangers. Eventually, a Black Dino Gem was found and turned Tommy into the Black Dino Ranger with the power of invisibility (giving Tommy the most color changes in the franchise’s history at four). This made him the first active Ranger also to be serving in the mentor role (an idea recycled from the unproduced Hexagon). Once bonded with their users, the Gems’ powers could only be retrieved by destroying the wielder (although they could be forcibly drained).

Super Dino Mode.

Along with their regular abilities, the Rangers learn how to access a “Super Dino Mode”, which caused them to enter an almost-feral state with roaring helmets, increased strength and the patterns on their uniforms becoming raised spikes. In Kira’s case, she also gained wings. Kira and Ethan could also lend their powers to Conner, allowing him to become the Triassic Ranger (eventually able to do it at will). Conner gained one final ultra-powerful form as the Triassic Battlizer. The standard weapon of the Dino Rangers was the Thundermax Saber; which could serve as both a bladed weapon and a blaster. Individually, Red had the Tyranno Staff, which released an energy orb; Blue the Tricera Shield, which could serve defensively and fire blue energy bolts; and Yellow the Ptera Grips, two daggers shaped like a pterodactyl’s head. All three could be combined to form the ultra-powerful Z-Rex Blaster, which fired a toothy jaw-shaped burst of energy. Black’s weapon was the Brachio Staff; an extendable pointed weapon that utilized powerful elemental attacks and could also be combined with the others into the Z-Rex. Additionally, Tommy provided the Rangers with various vehicles. They and the Morphers were designed and built by Hayley Ziktor (surname never spoken on screen and shared with the villain of VR Troopers, played by Ismay Johnston), an MIT graduate who abandoned corporate tech jobs in favor of opening up her Cyberspace Café, where the Rangers would often hang out.

The Thundersaurus Megazord powers up.

The Zords for the Rangers were known as the Biozords: the result of Tommy and Anton’s experimentation of combining dinosaur DNA with machinery. Each Zord was hatched from special eggs and required taming by a power source; usually the Morphers or Dino Gems. The initial Zords were the Tyrannozord, based on a Tyrannosaurus; the Tricerazord, based on a Triceratops; and the Pterazord, based on a pterodactyl. The three of them combined to form the Thundersaurus Megazord (which could also be formed without the Pterazord). Tommy would gain the Brachiozord, based on a Brachiosaurus, that could fire lightning bolts from its mouth and transport the other Zords. Auxiliary Zords included the Cephalazord, based on a Pachycephalosaurus, which could become a battering ram for the Megazord; the Dimetrozord, based on a Dimetrodon, had a buzzsaw on its back; the Stegozord, based on a Stegosaurus, which could become a water-ski vehicle for the Megazord; the Parasaurzord, based on a Parasaurolophus, could become a scissor-like weapon for the Megazord; and the Ankylozord, based on an Ankylosaurus, became the Megazord’s drill/shield combo. Conner would gain two more Zords of his own: the Mezodon, based on a Styracosaurus, and the Triassic Megarover, which was a chariot pulled by the Mezodon. Together they could combine into Conner’s own Mezodon Megazord, or with the auxiliary Zords to form the Triceramax Megazord. The Zords’ beastial forms were rendered in CGI with some models used for close-ups, while the Megazord was the traditional man in a suit (outside of certain action scenes, also rendered in CGI).

Elsa and Zeltrax.

Mesogog was powerful on his own; possessing great strength, claws, and a laser vision that could either cause agony, imprison a foe in a container or teleport something. But he built an army out of the shape-shifting dinosaur/humanoid cyborg Tyrannodrones developed by Anton and Tommy (and heavily-modified recycled costumes from the Stingwingers of Lost Galaxy). When they proved insufficient for the task, Mesogog could create monsters at will or via the Hydro Regenerator, which grew them with a specialized rain, and the Geno-Randomizer. Mesogog’s forces later gained a secondary type of foot soldier, the Triptoids: amoeba-themed minions that escaped from a video game and wielded flexible staves that they used like whips. Serving as his generals was Elsa, a human turned evil and granted enhanced abilities by him who posed as Principal Randall to keep an eye on the Rangers, and Zeltrax (voiced by James Gaylyn), Anton and Tommy’s other partner, Terrance “Smithy” Smith, turned into a loyal cyborg. Zeltrax would eventually defect from Mesogog, develop a new super form for himself, and take the Triptoids for his own army. Mesogog and his forces travelled between eefside and his island base via transdimensional portals called Invisiportals.

Confronting the White Ranger.

Mesogog had once found and hidden another Dino Gem, a white one, where Tommy couldn’t detect or find it. He had planned to unleash its power for his own use by corrupting it, but it instead wound up in the hands of Anton’s adopted son, Trent Fernandez-Mercer (Jeffrey Parazzo, who was offered and turned down the role of Ethan), when he accidentally took an Invisiportal to Mesogog’s lair. Trent’s parents were friends of Anton’s who died on an archaeological dig, and Anton took Trent in. Trent was an artist, something Anton forbade him from being, that worked at Hayley’s Cyberspace Café and also attended Reefside. The Dino Gem turned Trent into the White Dino Ranger, and because of Mesogog’s meddling it made him evil as well. After working with Mesogog for a time, the evil influence in the Gem was eventually expelled and Trent wound up joining the other Rangers (invocative of Tommy’s own journey when he first became a Power Ranger). However, Zeltrax took some preemptive measures and created a clone of the White Ranger with no trace of Trent (conceived to make use of all the Sentai footage showing a White Ranger fighting the others). The clone eventually supplanted Zeltrax’s place in Mesogog’s army.

The White Ranger clone.

Along with the abilities of camouflage, super speed, teleportation and a Super Dino Mode, the White Dino Ranger possessed the Drago Sword that allowed him to conjure and fire a number of laser arrows. His Zord was the Dragozord, patterned on a Tupuxuara, that could release powerful whirlwinds with its wings. He would also gain control of the Stegozord and could combine the two into the DinoStegazord. The DinoStegazord also combined with the Thundersaurus Megazord and bits of the Triceramax Megazord to form the Valkasaurus Megazord.

Cassidy and Devin on the hunt for a scoop.

Other characters included Cassidy Cornell (Katrina Devine) and Devin Del Valle (Tom Hern). Cassidy was the extremely shallow and super nosy reporter for the school news station. Having lofty ambitions of becoming a legitimate and famous reporter, she embarked on a quest to learn the identities of the Rangers. While initially an annoyance to the Rangers, she gradually became their friend and opted to keep their secret when she learned their identities rather than breaking the story. Her Abaranger counterpart was a wannabe Pink Ranger, which was homage by pink being Cassidy’s primary outfit colors. Devin was Cassidy’s loyal friend and roving cameraman; despite the fact she often treated him like dirt. Being a decent guy, he sometimes kept Cassidy grounded when her ambitions got the better of her judgement. While Abaranager was still ongoing during production, the introduction of AbareMax led the producers to believe that a 6th Ranger was being introduced and planned to make Devin that Ranger. However, it was soon learned that AbraeMax was the powered-up form of AbaRed and became Conner’s Triassic form; marking this the first Ranger series without a 6th member.

Riding in style.

Power Rangers Dino Thunder debuted on February 14, 2004, airing simultaneously on the ABC Kids programming block on ABC, the Jetix block on ABC Family (now Freeform), and Toon Disney. Despite the overall positive reception to Ninja Storm, the production still faced some backlash from fans for the lack of a Ranger crossover with Wild Force and for attempting to render all previous Power Ranger incarnations as in-universe works of fiction. Executive producer Douglas Sloan attempted to resolve some of the Ninja Storm loose ends with Dino Thunder and re-establish it as part of a larger continuity, as well as win back fans by bringing back Frank as Tommy. Frank agreed to return as a favor to Sloan; however, not wanting to be away from his family and martial arts school in the United States for long, Tommy was written as being incapacitated, stuck in Ranger form and then invisible for half of the series so that Frank didn’t need to be present on set all the time. Had Frank not agreed, they had alternate plans to make the Black Ranger a man named Edward Payne. Dino Thunder was also the first series in the franchise to acknowledge its Sentai roots by featuring a comically-dubbed clip from its source series in the episode “Lost and Found in Translation” (which marked the franchise’s 11th anniversary); said to be a Japanese adaptation of the actual Power Rangers. The series was written by Sloan, Ann Austen, Mark Hoffmeier, Bruce Kalish, Jackie Marchand, Steve Slavkin and John Tellegen, with music by Bruce Lynch who also composed the theme with Sloan. Gavin McLean served as the series’ costume designer. This would be Sloan’s last outing with the franchise.

Kira and Trent: never meant to be.

Kira and Trent were intended to become a couple during the season, both exhibiting a mutual attraction to each other. But according to Parazzo, the Disney executives worried that young boys, the franchise’s target demographic, wouldn’t be interested in any kind of romance and the relationship was quietly dropped. It ended up that the network would prohibit the pair from having any form of physical contact at all. Additionally, Marchand had stated they intended to imply that Hayley was a lesbian who would depart with her partner at the end of the series, but at the time such a thing wouldn’t be permissible on a kids’ show.

Elsa with a pair of monsters.

Speaking of romance, since a future vision in Power Rangers Zeo, it had been believed that Katherine Hillard (Catherine Sutherland), the Pink Ranger from the end of Mighty Morphin through the beginning of Turbo, would be Tommy’s wife; so her absence in the series left fans questioning if that came to pass or not (it was eventually revealed as having done so in the canon graphic novel Soul of the Dragon by Kyle Higgins, Giuseppe Cafaro, Marcelo Costa and Ed Dukeshire with Frank). Reportedly, Sullivan was intended to be part of Dino Thunder--possibly even filling Hayley’s role--but it proved too cost-prohibitive to bring her on. Additionally, there were rumors that she, as well as David Yost (Mighty Morphin Blue) and Austin St. John (Mighty Morphin Red), were considered for the real identity of Zeltrax instead of Smitty to add a deeper connection for Tommy and the audience.

Wind Rangers: evilized!

Dino Thunder marked the return of the traditional Rangers crossover event; having been skipped over for Ninja Storm due to Disney’s unwillingness to pay for the Wild Force actors to be brought over to New Zealand after production for the franchise was moved there and went non-union. That was no longer a problem as of Dino Thunder. The two-part episode “Thunder Storm” sees Lothor (Grant McFarland) escape from the Abyss of Evil where he was imprisoned. He managed to gain control of the Wind Rangers and used them to do his bidding. Mesogog, impressed by Lothor’s plans, proposed an alliance and the two combined their armies. It was up to the remaining Ninja Rangers and the Dino Rangers to rescue their allies and defeat the combined forces of their respective foes. Both episodes featured a special intro that showcased both Ranger teams.

Mesogog and Lothor: a sinister meeting of the minds.

This crossover was the first time that Ranger teams clashed before teaming-up, as opposed to the straightforward team-ups seen previously. It was also the final appearance of the Ninja Storm cast with the exception of McFarland, who would have a role in an episode of later entry Samurai, and Sally Martin (Blue Ninja Ranger) who appeared in later entry Operation Overdrive as part of a 15th anniversary event. During the crossover, Cassidy briefly encountered Lothor’s niece Marah from Ninja Storm; both of whom were played by Devine. Additionally, Napier and Johnston both had minor roles on the prior series before being cast in this one, and Lahana had auditioned for the role of the Blue Ninja Ranger.

Jason David Frank's appearance and Tommy Oliver's stats on Power Rangers HyperForce with Malika Lim, Andre Meadows, Paul Schrier, Cristina Valenzuela, Peter Sudarso and Strawburry17.

Following the conclusion of the series, the Dino Thunder cast appeared for a crossover with the S.P.D. team in the next entry, Power Rangers S.P.D. (excluding Frank, whose character was voiced by an uncredited Parazzo). Lahana would appear one last time in Operation Overdrive and Parazzo in Super Ninja Steel. The Dino Ranger teens would later appear in Super Megaforce, Super Ninja Steel and Beast Morphers in either silent cameos or voiced by different actors. Frank would reprise Tommy twice more in the franchise proper in Super Megaforce in his original colors and Super Ninja Steel in all four, as well as the Black Ranger specifically in an episode of the RPG tabletop game web-series Power Rangers HyperForce (which also had mentions of Anton and Hayley). The White Dino Ranger was made part of the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade at Disney-Hollywood Studios until 2010. 

White Dino Ranger at Disney-Hollywood Studios.

As with other entries in the franchise, Bandai produced a line of merchandise for the series ranging from action figures, including a toy-exclusive Phantom Ranger and Megazord, and role-play items. New figures were released across the final three waves of the Legacy Collection line from 2017-19. When Bandai lost the license to Hasbro, new versions of the figures were released in waves of their replacement toyline, The Lightning Collection.

The Red Dino Ranger in Legacy Wars.

Two video games were made for the series. Natsume developed a Game Boy Advance game published by THQ that was an action platformer with puzzle mini-games. Players guided the three younger Rangers through enemy-filled levels while the Black Dino Ranger delivered helpful gameplay hints and launched their missions. Megazords could be customized for boss encounters. On PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube, Pacific Coast Power & Light Co. developed a 3D action game that took place with the Rangers always inside their respective Zords or the Megazord. Despite having dialogue, none of the actors reprised their roles for it. Chibi-styled Dino Rangers were among the featured characters in the 2013 endless-runner mobile game Power Rangers Dash by Movegames. Additionally, the team was featured in 2017’s Power Rangers Legacy Wars by nWay Games, and in the 2018 mobile RPG Power Rangers All-Stars from NEXON. Kira, Trent and Mesagog all appeared in nWay’s Power Rangers Morphin Legends, a turn-based mobile game soft-launched in 2022 that was ultimately cancelled in 2023.

Promo image for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #29, featuring Kira on her bike.

Six comic stories were published in the pages of Jetix Magazine in the United Kingdom from 2004-05, and some were later reprinted in 2007. These issues included DVDs that featured full episodes featured on Jetix, and the two-part series premiere was included on two of them. While not a major part, the Dino Rangers appeared during and following the multi-incarnation crossover “Shattered Grid” event in BOOM! StudiosMighty Morphin Power Rangers comic series. A Dino Thunder expansion pack was made for the board game Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid by Renegade Game Studios.

The complete series DVD.

The first 24 episodes were released across five VHS and DVD volumes by Walt Disney Home Video in 2004. Two exclusive shorts highlighting Frank’s Ranger tenure to that point, “Return of the Ranger”, and Ethan and Kira getting a preview of the S.P.D. Rangers, “Before it Begins”, were included on volumes 4 and 5 as special features. In 2008, the complete series was released by Disney overseas on DVD, and in North America by Shout! Factory as part of the season 8-12 bundle pack in 2013 and individually in 2016. The entire series was made available to purchase on Prime Video and to stream on the official Power Rangers YouTube channel.


“Day of the Dino, Part 1” (2/14/04) – Original Ranger Tommy Oliver is placed in charge of a group of delinquents who stumble upon the Dino Gems and get special abilities from them.
“Day of the Dino, Part 2” (2/14/04) – When Mesogog begins to attack the city, Tommy gives the kids Morphers so that they can become Rangers and stop him.
“Wave Goodbye” (2/21/04) – Conner decides to quit being a Ranger to focus on his soccer as Tommy is kidnapped by Mesogog to unearth the secret of a mysterious stone.
“Legacy of Power” (2/28/04) – Hayley works on a way to find Tommy while the Rangers view a video diary about all the Rangers before them.
“Back in Black” (3/6/04) – The Rangers rescue Tommy, who has discovered that the power in the stone is another Dino Gem that allows him to become the new Black Dino Ranger.
“Diva in Distress” (3/13/04) – Kira gets a visit from her old, very snobby celebrity friend who ends up having her youth drained by Mesogog’s latest monster.
“Game On” (3/20/04) – Mesogog sends Ethan and Kira into a video game where they must fight to escape a game over.
“Golden Boy” (3/27/04) – While the Rangers must deal with Trent’s father wanting to take over the Cyberspace Café, they also find themselves facing Zeltrax and his new “son”.
“Beneath the Surface” (4/3/04) – A class field trip is a cover to search for a new Dino Egg, but Elsa gets to it first and unleashes the new Dimetro Zord.
“Ocean Alert” (4/10/04) – Mesogog takes a famous actress hostage for his latest scheme while Hayley uncovers a new Dino Egg.
“White Thunder, Part 1” (4/17/04) – The White Dino Gem goes missing from Mesogog’s fortress, leading to a renegade White Ranger that easily bests his monsters and the other Rangers.
“White Thunder, Part 2” (4/24/04) – Tommy attempts to confront the White Ranger to reclaim a new Dino Egg while the other Rangers deal with a new monster with a newly-hatched Zord.
“White Thunder, Part 3” (5/1/04) – Tommy discovers the identity of the White Ranger, but ends up encased in amber before he can tell the others.
“Truth and Consequences” (5/8/04) – The Rangers battle the White Ranger in an effort to free Tommy, and the White Ranger hesitates hitting a de-powered Kira.
“Leader of the Whack” (5/15/04) – A meteor turns the Rangers into their polar opposites.
“Burning at Both Ends” (5/22/04) – Trent fully embraces his evilness and plots to capture the Rangers for Mesogog by making them think he’s reformed.
“The Missing Bone” (5/22/04) – A failed experiment of Tommy and Anton’s revives and brainwashes Kira into retrieving its missing piece so it can be free to wreak havoc on the city.
“Bully for Ethan” (6/12/04) – On top of bully troubles, Ethan discovers that Zeltrax was an old friend of his lost in an accident years ago.
“Lost & Found in Translation” (6/13/04) – The Rangers watch a Japanese television adaptation about them.
“It’s a Mad Mad Mackerel” (6/19/04) – Kira’s internship on the Funky Fisherman Show goes south when the star turns out to be incredibly demanding.
“Copy That” (7/10/04) – Zeltrax attempts to frame Trent for destroying his lab with a duplicate while Anton attempts to free his sone from the corruption of the White Dino Gem.
“Triassic Triumph” (7/17/04) – Zeltrax’s new White Ranger clone easily bests the Rangers’ Dinozords with his White Terrorsaurus, leaving Conner feeling responsible as leader.
“A Star is Torn” (7/24/04) – Kira scores a deal with a major record producer, but isn’t too keen on the image he’s come up for her.
“A Ranger Exclusive” (7/31/04) – Mesogog’s latest monster infiltrates the satellite system in a bid to destroy Jupiter, which in turn would destroy all life on Earth.
“Tutenhawken’s Curse” (8/7/04) – Bad luck follows Ethan after he’s cursed for awakening Pharaoh Tutenhawken, but nowhere near as bad as Cassidy’s when she’s taken to be his queen.
“Disapeparing Act” (8/21/04) – A strange slime used by Elsa may be the key to allowing Tommy to finally de-morph.
“Fighting Spirit” (8/28/04) – Tommy is thrown into a coma from his latest attempt to restore himself, while the Rangers are rendered powerless by a new White Terrorsaurus.
“The Passion of Conner” (9/5/04) – Conner has the hots for a young environmentalist whose pet cause ends up becoming Zeltrax’s latest monster.
“Isn’t It Lava-ly” (9/18/04) – While Ethan competes against Devin in a video game contest, Elsa kidnaps a teacher and turns him into a monster in order to revive a long-dormant volcano.
“Strange Relations” (9/25/04) – Mesogog and Anton battle for dominance over their body while Trent is pitted in a final battle against his evil clone.
“Thunder Storm, Part 1” (10/2/04) – Lothor gets free and casts a spell on the Ninja Storm Wind Rangers to turn them into his minions and imprison their fellow students at their school.
“Thunder Storm, Part 2” (10/9/04) – Impressed by the evil Power Rangers, Mesogog proposes an alliance with Lothor and both set their armies after the good Rangers.
“In Your Dreams” (10/16/04) – Elsa invades the Rangers’ dreams in order to destroy them from within.
“Drawn into Danger” (10/23/04) – Elsa turns a comic artist into a monster that traps the Rangers in a comic he draws.
“House of Cards” (10/30/04) – The Rangers discover the secret identities of their foes.
“A Test of Trust” (11/6/04) – Elsa creates a potion to separate Mesogog from Anton while his latest monster creates an evil duplicate of the Rangers’ Megazord.
“Thunder Struck, Part 1” (11/13/04) – Mesogog manages to separate himself from Anton and imprisons him as he makes final preparations on his ultimate weapon.
“Thunder Struck, Part 2” (11/20/04) – Mesogog manages to absorb enough energy from the Gems to become a powerful monster, leaving the Rangers one option to stop him once and for all.
“Return of the Ranger” (12/7/04) – Tommy speaks with an unseen cameraman about his life as a Power Ranger.
“Before it Began” (12/7/04) – Ethan and Kira link up to the Morphin Grid and are shown visions of the next generation of Power Rangers.

Originally posted in 2022. Updated in 2023.

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