The worlds of WWE, “Arrow,” “Spartacus,” “Game of Thrones,” “Power Rangers” and pretty much anything else you can think of converge on the Miami Beach Convention Center for Florida Supercon July 3-6.
In its ninth year, South Florida’s largest geek event includes a guest list of more than 250 comic book, film, television, cosplay, entertainment and anime guests. Attendees can expect a jam-packed schedule of Q&As, panels, workshops, video game tournaments, dance parties, cosplay contests and photo shoots along with convention staple Florida Super Championship Wrestling.
Making his first South Florida public appearance is Austin St. John, who played the original Red Ranger Jason Lee Scott on the incredibly popular “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” series. He inspired a throng of fans in many ways like learning martial arts. St. John will join his other cast members including returning guests Davie Yost (Billy Cranston the Blue Ranger), Karan Ashley (Aisha the Yellow Ranger), Catherine Sutherland (Pink Ranger) and Walter Jones (Zack Taylor the Black Ranger).
St. John is fairly new to the convention scene. The better part of the last four years saw him serving as a medic in the Middle East. It was during a conversation with Jones that led to the actor-turned-first responder to consider making appearances.
“He told me he was on the convention circuit, and I should see all my fans because they are grown-up now,” he said. “So it just kind of came out of nowhere.”
St. John finds many are genuinely surprised when he tells them where he’s been. Keep in mind, he hasn’t been on the show since a role in “Forever Red” of “Power Rangers: Wild Force” in 2002.
“I run into people who I haven’t seen since the Middle East,” he said. “It’s cool we did the things that we did, but we are glad to be home. I was on U.S. military installations throughout Kuwait taking care of all personnel.”
Doing shows such as the Florida Supercon has been surreal for St. John because it gives him a chance to see the affects of his work.
“I started a whole new career path and didn’t look back,” he said. “So to be back and see the fans and watch their reactions, some of them are still overwhelmed. It’s an amazing experience. I don’t know what to say about it. To hear the impact that myself and my costars had on their lives. Some of them had horrible, horrible times of their parents dying or they were bullied in school or horrible things.
“They said that myself or my co-workers or all of us helped them get through it. Some of the stories I’ve heard have been heartbreaking. It’s amazing to see the impact that we had. We knew it was huge, but to hear it 20 years later is amazing.”
He says his wife even has his little one watching the show on Netflix.
“He calls me daddy ranger sometimes. He likes to dress up, running around the house and throwing kicks. We end up sparring and doing all kinds of cool stuff. It’s kind of the other side of not just meeting the fans, but seeing them come through with their kids. They are just as excited to see me as their parents because they are being shown it on Netflix. The next generation is already trained.”
He continued: “I knew when the show aired in 120 countries and was dubbed in 93 languages; I knew it had an impact. I guess I would have never believed it would have kept going for so long. It’s done a lot for other actors I’m sure. I’m wondering is this going to go another 20 years. Now they’re talking about the reboot, so we are talking maybe 20 more years after they revamp the entire series. Its page one again.”
News broke a few months ago that a “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” reboot was in the works.
“I think 20 years is the right time to do that,” he said. “Time to work on a script, get the actors nailed down and the production in place and probably release it in year 22 or 23 or maybe 25th anniversary. I think it’s brilliant as a business move.”
St. John says he wouldn’t mind getting involved in some capacity for nostalgia. Originally, he had no desire to return to the world of entertainment or do conventions regularly.
“It was going to be one show a month,” he said. “Now I’m on the road every weekend. I have two movies dropped in my lap. I got a documentary dropped in my lap. I’m in discussion Saban Entertainment about some work that I really can’t elaborate on any of this yet because it’s still in discussion. It came out of nowhere. I have an online store coming up. I’m on the web all over. For 10-15 years I was trying to stay off the web. The momentum is leading me to wherever it thinks its best. So far I’m along for the ride. It looks like a good time.
St. John is looking forward to spending the Fourth of July in South Florida and seeing old friends.
“All the reports that I’m getting is it’s going to be pretty epic,” he said. “Walt [Jones] and I have been friends for quite some time. We fell out of contact for a while, but recently got back in contact and picked up where we left off. He’s a great guy. I love him to death. Dave [Yost], I haven’t had his number until recently, so we text and chat on occasion.
“When we all get together, we definitely hang out and have dinner, have a couple of drinks and enjoy each other’s company. Karan [Ashley] is a bubbly, outgoing and wonderful. She is welcome. As far as the other guys go, I haven’t had any contact with them. I’m interested in making contact with them and swapping numbers and seeing who wants to chat.”
• Follow St. John on Twitter @ASJAustin and on Facebook by searching Austin S. John.
• Complete information on all guests, including information on hundreds of events occurring throughout the weekend can be found at: www.floridasupercon.com Convention hours are: Thursday, July 3: Noon-Midnight. Friday, July 4: 10 a.m.-Midnight. Saturday, July 5: 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday, July 6: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.Tickets start at $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The Miami Beach Convention Center is at 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, 33139.
• Get a taste of what to expect from FSCW Wrestling where wrestlers become anime, comic book and video game superheroes and villains on YouTube:
• Pro wrestling stars Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, Shane Hurricane Helms, Jerry The King Lawler, Kevin Nash, and Scott Steiner will also be there.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.