The Untold Ranger Tales
Authors' Commentary:
A Look Back at the URT
by Indy and Chris Silva

Note: The format here is the same as a Director’s Commentary. We wanted to have a casual conversation about the Untold Ranger Tales and provide some authors’ insights. All the commentaries for the different parts have the same format, save for part ten, which Indy wrote alone.

Special thanks goes to Gyrotank for inspiring this idea, one which was overdue. For those who have read the URT, we hope you'll enjoy this "Directors' Commentary". For those who haven't, perhaps it'll give you a reason to jump in :-)

The Untold Ranger Tales Part One: Daring to Dream

Chris Silva: Hmmm, where to begin.  Indy and I had written a few stories at this point, developing our collaborative style and while brainstorming for a new project, the notion of doing the unthinkable was brought up, the idea of a D+G story. No D+G stories existed and the very idea was scoffed at.  Or, as I was told, "There was a D+G story once, but it’s with the Titanic."  After more discussion we began to see that we shared the same doubt about the viability of a serious C+G relationship. 

Indy: Well, I had explored the idea of the C+G relationship in "The Times of the Their Lives", and while the relationship was interesting I found that it was a difficult one to maintain. Chip's type-A personality didn't work well with Gadget's more egalitarian ways. I like writing a long-term relationship, and if things remained as they were with Chip, he would have ended up controlling Gadget and dominating her. That really didn't seem fair, so Dale emerged immediately as a better choice.

Chris Silva: Before entering the Rangerdom I had written a number of experimental Ranger stories just to test my own understanding of the series after having read piles of fan fiction. The only option that was out there was C+G, so I followed the trend and had my stories C+G.  I hadn't seen an episode of the series in about ten years, so all I had to work with was existing fan fiction.  However, when I finally started watching the show again, I was surprised to see that, to me, there was nothing between Chip and Gadget that could act as a foundation for a relationship.

Indy: And there was plenty to support Dale and Gadget forming a relationship in canon. In fact, much of that formed the foundation for "Daring to Dream". Initially, I decided to frame the story as a different telling of "Good Times, Bat Times". That really wasn't the best way and today I never would do that, but back then the idea of a D+G relatioship was so radical that my intent was to soften the blow for the readers--the other Rangerphiles. I figured if it was done as a retelling, they could dismiss it if they found it not to their liking. Well, it turned out quite a few didn't like it anyway, though many others did.

Chris Silva: But at the same time, we didn't just want to make a Mary Sue out of Dale.  We believed from the start that there was genuine chemistry between them and that it really wouldn't take too much effort to find the connection.  What was hardest to figure out was how to deal with Chip's reaction to events and in hindsight we probably wouldn't have gone as rough with him, which is ironic, as the posted story is the *nice* version.  Chip had a much rougher time in our first draft. 

Indy: Heh, true--Chip did get knocked around some. But in truth it was good for his character. Chip was the "golden boy" of the Rangers, and everyone assumed that he and Gadget would end up together. Everything seemed handed to him. I think that made Chip arrogant in some ways, as he'd never been forced to mature in his dealings with other people. So while Dale emerged from his typecast "hole" and risked all for Gadget's love, Chip had to deal with cold reality--namely that he wasn't simply entitled to Gadget just because he thought he deserved her. And that idea came out in the dreams, particularly with Gaston.

Chris Silva: I think in a way, all the Rangers in canon are very immature.  That's why they became Rescue Rangers and not something “normal”.  Each had a lot of growing up to do.  Dale's maturing would be easiest, as he wears his on his sleeve, while Chip lived in total denial of his.  I think that's part of why Dale acted the fool, his way of taunting Chip and getting him to drop his mask of maturity so easily.

Indy: That was the irony, in a way. Dale was really more mature than Chip, in that Dale's able to handle life easier than Chip is. For Dale, though, his problem of maturing was accepting the idea of forming a romantic relationship. He was scared he wouldn't be able to handle it, which ironically was a concern for Gadget as well. They both needed each other more than they might have been willing to admit.

Chris Silva: But the more we developed the idea of them as a couple, the more believable it became, so much so it was really quite remarkable that no one had done it before.  It seemed so natural.  And I think Monty would have been all for it, as he would realize that Dale would never try to hurt Gadget or make her into something she's not.

Indy: Quite so. And Monty was truly the "father figure" in this first story for Dale and Gadget, which ironically became a greater reality as we continued on. The Aussie was able to guide Dale and Gadget, to help them see things more as they were. And then, of course, the dreams helped too. We had some of our best writing in those dream sequences, particularly the Robin Hood segments.

Chris Silva: Yes, those dream sequences were hilarious.  And that's when we tied in The Rescuers to our Rangerverse, to good effect later on.  We created the lair in the Rangers’ tree to give Dale a refuge—a happy place, as they say, where he could be the person he always wished he could be. 

Indy: There had always been a creative side to Dale, but little evidence of it in canon. It seemed reasonable that he was hiding that creativity, then, keeping it someplace safe where nobody would make fun of him for it. The scene with Gadget discovering his lair and the aftermath is still one of the most touching things I've ever been a part of writing. It was the "payoff" for the story, and the end of a lot of pain and suffering for both of them.

Chris Silva: Yes, it showed that they were really very similar in experience and carried the same hurts.  We took a lot of flak for this story and got raked over the coals for having Dale beat Chip in a fight. But as pointed out in the story, I believe, for the first time in his life, Dale had something worth fighting for.

Indy: Absolutely, and Dale had shown he was capable of that kind of ferocity and power in the series. And we can't forget Foxglove in this story, either. She had been paired with Dale in "Good Times, Bat Times", as a convenient way to get Dale out of the way for Chip. But in truth Foxy was a better match for Chip. Foxglove needed a controlling influence in her life, because she was clueless about what to do. And she was much more nurturing and clingy than Gadget, which really worked better with Chip's need to have his ego stroked.

Chris Silva: Yes, she was a follower and needed to love a leader.  So their pairing worked surprisingly well too.  In both cases it seemed like both couples were made for each other.  And it was a struggle to remain within even the loose context of GTBT, but we managed to snap Chip out of his doldrums and save the day, showing he could get his act back together and be a leader and friend.

Indy: In the end, all the characters had made some progress. The Rangers' group relationship was on much more solid ground and we were able to end it on a high note. And of course, we had left quite a lot of room for sequels--we just didn't realize how much at that point ;-)

Chris Silva: Yes.  This was done as more or less an experiment.  But when this was done, a whole pile of "what if's" was born and even though we took a lot of heat for writing a D+G story we finally broke the taboo against such things and some in community were glad to see an end to the status quo, even if they didn't support it themselves.

Indy: Heh--I don't know if Matt Plotecher ever got over it. But in the end, it made the way for a lot of other groundbreaking stories, including the rest of our own. Looking back on it now, I would like to see “Daring to Dream” standing on its own, without the artificial framework of being an alternative story to “Good Times, Bat Time”. And assuming I ever get around to updating it, I would make that a priority J

Chris Silva: But it was a lot of fun to write.  We tore into it every chance we got and there seemed no limit to the number of things we could do with the characters.  Every idea, no matter how outlandish, was given proper consideration. 

Indy: Oh yeah, and those were the early days of our creativity, when we had quite a backlog of ideas to get out there. Not that we're bereft of ideas now, but I think in every writer's career there's a time when he or she initially writes with passion and that was such a time for us. We've both matured since then and our writing has improved, but it was a time of raw exuberance and excitement that will always be a part of our writing.

Chris Silva: True.  We learned to think outside the box when looking for answers to story problems.  And we carried that creativity to other series fan fiction such as “Cats Don't Dance” and “Talespin”.

 Indy: Yes, and every story was a learning experience. “Daring to Dream” will always hold a special place, though. It took our writing to a higher level, and was a training ground for our path to becoming published authors.