This Voltron Legendary Defender article contains mild spoilers.
Voltron Season 3 was densely packed. You had Keith taking control of the Black Lion, Allura becoming a pilot herself, Shiro returning, and more. Even with all of that, the series took time to devote a whole episode to Voltron’s back-story, specifically the original Paladin team including King Alfor and Zarkon.
We not only learned how they and the other Paladins began to work together but the origins of the how the Voltron Lions were constructed. It’s a great bit of world and universe building that executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery have wanted to tell for a long time.
It even contained little winks and homages to old series, including baby Allura being given a helmet that resembled Lotor’s and the Paladin’s helmets having the distinct diamond on them that the old outfits featured.
“Sometimes in the design process that happens,” explains Dos Santos. “We’re just big fans of the original series. Sometimes we’re in the writer’s room and we come up with little nods. Sometimes when we’re just at lunch and we go, ‘ah, it’d be so cool to see this!’”
While the episode was a fantastic chance to get some insight into how Zarkon and Haggar became the way they are and how the universe fell to the Galra, it at times felt overstuffed. It quickly jumps from plot point to plot point with barely any time to get to know the new characters. Montgomery wishes they didn’t have to jam it all into one episode but “you gotta do what your boss wants you to do. So we made it happen in one episode.”
The behind the scenes team was able to get across all the history the audience needed to understand where Voltron came from, but if Dos Santos had his way the episode would have been a two parter.
“It has enough content to warrant that. We could have let some stuff play a little longer, but it is what it is. Overall we’re stoked with the way it all turned out.”
Still, the team wishes they could have had more breathing room. Dos Santos says many of the scenes could have been extended and points to the banquet scene, before the comet arrives, as something they could have spent more time with.
“(It’s) something that isn’t a story breaking moment by any stretch but it’s something that would have been nice to get to know the other Paladins just a little bit more.”
Montgomery also wishes the Paladins could have had some time to get to know their Lions a little better “rather than just go straight into battle and then being ready for things immediately. Those are things that definitely take time and took a little more time than we had to give them.”
So is this the last time we’ll see a flashback of the original Paladins? Montgomery slyly answers that the episode contained, “what we wanted to tell the audience so far. Whatever else we have up our sleeves is for us to know and you to find out”
Overall both Dos Santos and Montgomery are happy they even got to tell the story. Montgomery points out that, “there’s definitely a version where we work at a studio where they say, ‘no! We just want to see our guys kicking butt as Voltron.’ We’re happy that wasn’t the case and we got to actually delve into the past a little bit and spend some time hanging out with these characters that we don’t know as well but we got to learn some really cool stuff through them.”
Dos Santos adds, “that’s the game you play when you are show running where you have to balance out how we get the story across with the parameters you’re given.”
Montgomery elaborates that anytime there’s an episode that doesn’t feature the main Voltron cast or Voltron itself there’s some resistance. Both her and Dos Santos would love to tell the back-stores off the “offshoot divisions” of the show but it’s tough. Previously Dos Santos has discussed the idea of doing a tie-in novel back-story of the Blade of Marmora.
While Montgomery loves the main Paladin characters we follow in most episodes, the crew spends so much time with that there are other areas of the world they created that they enjoy and would love to explore. In fact, both Dos Santos and Motgomery believe Voltron has more than enough of a fan base to support the kind of expanded universe that Star Wars or Star Trek has, with numerous lines of novels and comics running concurrently with the main product.
“We’d love to tell those stories,” says Dos Santos, “but when you’re making a show named Voltron and Voltron’s gotta be in it sometimes you don’t get to spend a whole lot of time telling other peoples stories.”
The team is very proud they’ve been able to essentially create a whole new universe from scratch. They took the very core ideas of the original Voltron and built a whole universe around it that, as Dos Santos puts it, “extends outward for as long as people want to create content for it. If this can be kind of the inception point for that and we can get offshoot stuff from that? That’d be really really cool.”
In three seasons Voltron has already established a gigantic universe with multiple planets, a ton of alien races, and the kind of outer space politics that could drive dozens of spin off stories. Remember Rolo, Nyma, and Beezer from season one? What about the mermaids from season two, who wouldn’t watch a spin off of that? How about everyone’s favorite mall cop, Varkon? Hell, the The Original Paladins alone could star in a series of novels or comics. You’ve got a whole team and years of adventures to explore right there. The possibilities are endless.
“We can only hope that becomes a reality,” Montgomery muses.
Shamus Kelley is all in on a Voltron extended unvierse. Follow him on Twitter!
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