Power Rangers Dino Fury's Tessa Rao Talks Izzy's Biggest Moments, Being Franchise's First LGBTQ+ Ranger, and More

Power Rangers Dino Fury has delivered in more ways than one, and it's contained everything from revelations about the greater mythology to momentous firsts for the franchise. One of the biggest moments of the season was unquestionably the reveal of the franchise's first LGBTQ+ Ranger in Izzy Garcia, played by Tessa Rao, but that was just one amazing chapter in Izzy and Tessa's Power Rangers journey. ComicBook.com had the chance to talk to Rao all about Dino Fury's first season and the many big moments along the way, and first, we wanted to see which moment was her favorite for her character and which was her favorite behind the scenes from the first half of season 1.

"Well for Izzy, the first episode was obviously just amazing. It's our first episode, and episode four was just amazing to do, but I think in the first half of season one, my favorite moment for Izzy was her in episode five, her growth within the episodes," Rao said. "I think we're introduced to Izzy as a very determined, focused tunnel vision girl, and she is so deeply passionate about achieving her goals and winning for her father, for her town, for herself that that overrides her choices that she makes always. Especially in the beginning. And I think episode five was a really, really important one for her to realize actually that at the end of the day means nothing compared to how you treat, not only the people that you love but just people in general."

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(Photo: Hasbro)

As for behind the scenes, that was also in episode 4 and involved a harmonica.

"So, yeah. I think that was a really big moment for her, and then behind the scenes so many. The one that comes to mind though is in episode four. Chance's character and how he plays the harmonica to distract the villains, and when we were filming that our AD, Johnny, who's just an amazing guy, was making really bad harmonica sounds with his mouth. He wasn't playing the harmonica, he was just... It's usually screeching every time the harmonica played, and we had to... If we were in the scene, we had to hold a straight face, but even when we're actually on camera having to hold it together, every time we heard that, especially with Chance next to me, who just is always finding things funny and making it hard for me to stay serious, was so fun," Rao said. "We couldn't keep it together. It was so funny."

One of the bigger early moments in the series was when Izzy, who starts off in the typical female Ranger costume with a skirt, rips the skirt off because she's just not feeling it. That caused an array of GIFs (like the one below haha) to hit social media and the moment instantly became a favorite, and while Rao knew it was a bigger deal, she didn't know that it would become such a big moment for the community and the show.

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(Photo: Hasbro)

"I don't know if I thought... I remember reading it and going, ooh, and then we were in the table read and that moment happened, and everyone was sitting around. That was clear to them, it was this moment for Izzy and for the franchise in general, but I don't think I really understood how much debate it would get in terms of the logistics of it and things like that. I don't think I expected it... It's been really interesting to read and hear fans' opinions surrounding that because they know so much more than I do, but yeah. I think you can feel that it's a big moment, even if I didn't quite understand how big it was. It felt like quite a momentous occasion."

And then we had to talk about The Matchmaker episode of Dino Fury, which became a huge moment for the show before it had even aired stateside. When it aired internationally, it was revealed that Izzy was LGBTQ+, meaning that Izzy is the show's first LGBTQ+ Ranger. It's a major milestone and one many have wanted for a long time, and Rao couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of bringing that moment to life.

"It means so much. It's definitely this representation. This story is what made me, and continues to make me want to do this job," Rao said. "It's one of the most powerful things that we can do as performers is tell the stories of people that haven't been told either at all or correctly or enough, and there are a lot of stories like that out there, not just this one. So I think for me being able to have my first big role have such an important part of it like that... I don't think that it's the only part of Izzy that's important, I think it's just part of her identity, but I also can totally respect and appreciate how big of a moment this is, and I'm really proud. I just feel so proud to be a part of it."

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(Photo: Hasbro)

"I have to credit the writers. I have to credit Simon, our executive producer, for those choices, but I'm just so stoked to be involved, and the way that I first found out about it was they sent me an email after I'd been offered the role, but it hadn't been a hundred percent set in stone yet," Rao said. "They said, 'Just a heads up, your character's going to have to cut her hair, and she's going to be part of the LGBTQ+ community.' And I was like, okay, well all good with the second one, but cutting my hair? What? That felt scarier to me. The other part, I was like, that's awesome. Okay, cool."

"But it didn't really... at the time, it wasn't... because I didn't realize either that it was the first in the TV history," Rao said. "So I assumed it was probably quite a big deal, but I think for me that actually, the scarier part was having to cut my hair. Which as you can see, I agreed to in the end, but yeah. So I think it didn't really feel...it wasn't like, 'Oh my goodness, I'm going to have to play this character,' but then once it started happening, and I started really realizing the weight of it, I was like, 'Oh wow, this is such an honor. I'm so lucky to get to have this opportunity."

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Power Rangers Dino Fury season 1 is available to stream on Netflix now, and season 2 is headed to Netflix next year.

What do you want to see from Izzy in season 2? Let us know in the comments and as always you can talk all things Power Rangers with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!