The Power Rangers franchise has stuck around for the past 25 years and isn't slowing down anytime soon with the Hasbro era in full swing. Many have been a part of bringing that renaissance about, and one of the most synonymous names with the brand has been Brian Casentini. Casentini has served as Senior Vice President of Power Rangers Franchise Development and Production for Allspark Pictures and Executive Producer on Power Rangers Beast Morphers and Super Ninja Steel and has been part of the franchise for almost a decade. Casentini has decided to step down from his role at Hasbro to pursue new projects, and ComicBook.com had the chance to talk to him all about the franchise, its future, and his future plans.
Casentini started with the brand back in 2010, after it came back into Saban's hands from its previous owner Disney. The franchise looks a lot different from those early days, and Casentini couldn't be more thrilled to see such a large expansion over the years.
"What I think has changed the most is the world building that we have done beyond the TV series, including our Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers comics, our graphic novels, the live RPG Power Rangers Hyperforce, and one of the 1st live mobile PvP games, Power Rangers Legacy Wars as well as our Battle for the Grid Console Game. There has never been a more diverse slate of Power Rangers content available to our fans than now," Casentini said.
Casentini is also grateful for all the amazing opportunities he had while working with the franchise. "In my role overseeing Power Rangers content, I have changed and grown by getting the chance to work so closely with great talent in so many different mediums, and I’ve loved seeing all of our hard work being so well received by our passionate fans," Casentini said
Casentini had a hand in several iterations of the show, including Samurai, Megaforce, Dino Charge, Beast Morphers, and more. All of those shows and experiences contained standout moments for Casentini, though there is one relatively recent memory that sticks out.
"There are so many memories that it would take too long to cover every season, but I do think of the 25th anniversary special as a real highlight because it brought back so many legacy Rangers and formally acknowledged the Power Rangers multiverse and continuity across seasons…something the fans have wanted us to do for a very long time," Casentini said.
That said, Casentini also wanted to highlight the work of the showrunners that bring all these ideas and casts together and turn them into reality.
"I have worked with two Power Ranger showrunners over the past decade and the TV series are absolutely their babies," Casentini said. "Samurai and Megaforce’s showrunner, Jonathan Tzachor, loved staying true to Toei’s Super Sentai storyline. Our current showrunner, Chip Lynn, has done great job of building upon that wonderful Super Sentai material while delivering on creator Haim Saban’s continued passion for making sure that every episode delivers amazing action, adventure, humor and heart along with a great, empowering message to kids of all ages."
While he's enjoyed his time with the franchise, that doesn't mean it wasn't without challenges. One of the biggest was finding a balance between longer overarching narratives and shorter self-contained stories that lend themselves to the episodic format, though it seems they landed on a solution with Beast Morphers.
"I am a big fan of serialized storytelling, but most broadcasters across the globe want more episodic storytelling for scheduling ease," Casentini said. "That said, I think we found a really great balance with Power Rangers Beast Morphers and also delivered amazing, elevated production values. Have you noticed the increase in civilian mode battles this season? They are truly awesome!"
As for his most rewarding experience, the 2017 Power Rangers movie holds a special place in his heart, and it's a film that has become beloved amongst fans as well. "In terms of the most rewarding experience, I would have to say it was producing the 2017 film and expanding the diversity that our franchise has always celebrated to include the first autistic and LGBTQ superheroes ever to grace the silver screen," Casentini said.
While the Power Rangers franchise includes popular seasons like In Space, Dino Thunder, Lightspeed Rescue, Dino Charge, and more, the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is by far the most popular with fans. That's a double edged sword at times, as parts of the fandom crave content involving the other teams or want new characters and themes while another part of the community wants Mighty Morphin to always have a large role to play in the franchise. We asked if that is something the teams at Saban and now Hasbro have thought about over the years, and Casentini explained it is a focus to maintain a proper balance.
"The Mighty Morphin seasons are still by far the most globally recognized, but we have always tried to celebrate many of our other seasons in our crossover TV specials and especially in our comics….the Shattered Grid storyline had Rangers from every season ever battling Lord Drakkon and our recent Beyond the Grid comic book story arc did not include any Mighty Morphin characters other than the Ranger Slayer, our new incarnation of Kimberly Hart. Power Rangers HyperForce also battled alongside numerous legacy Rangers from many seasons," Casentini said. "A key priority moving forward for the creative team is how to further mine and celebrate all of the amazing Rangers across our 26-year history."
So the question remains why leave now? Casentini admits that it was far from an easy decision, but the future holds some exciting projects he's wanted to work on for some time, and now with Beast Morphers all wrapped up, this was the time to take those on.
"It was a very difficult decision, but I have worked on the franchise for almost a decade, and a few opportunities arose for me to pursue a number of projects I have wanted to produce for a very long time," Casentini said. "At the same time, I am so proud of the Power Rangers Beast Morphers seasons so I wanted to stay on until we wrapped production on them. There is a very smooth transition planned that will be announced soon and the future of Power Rangers is extremely bright."
"The team at Hasbro is so supportive & amazing and I have to give a special shout out to both Melissa Flores and Paul Strickland on my team…they have been wonderful to work with," Casentini said. I am also very honored to have had the opportunity to work with the great Haim Saban for so many years. Finally, I am deeply thankful to Power Rangers’ incredible fans and believe they will be thrilled by all the great content that Hasbro has is in store for them. Go Go Power Rangers!"0comments
Hopefully, we'll learn more about what those future projects are soon, but in the meantime, we want to give a shoutout and a thank you to Casentini for all the work he's put in on the franchise, and we can't wait to see what's next.
Feel free to let me know what you think of the news in the comments and as always you can also hit me up on Twitter @MattAguilarCB for all things Power Rangers!