On the surface The Paladin’s Handbook, a Voltron Legendary Defender tie in guide, looks to be a just a bit of harmless fun for kids. It has some bullet point facts about the Voltron characters, universe, and lions with lots of big pictures.
On a closer read though it gives fans some much needed information about characters back stories that we’ll probably never see in the show.
Since most of this information isn’t likely to be contradicted in the future we’ll set aside the previously addressed question of whether the book is canonical. Let’s just have fun with these tidbits and maybe even read way too far into a few, shall we?
Shiro Is Actually Called “Space Dad”
When Voltron first premiered its new group of fans quickly took to calling Shiro the “Space Dad” of the Paladins. This nickname was later solidified when, in a previous interview with Den of Geek, Shiro’s voice actor Josh Keaton said he was a dad in real life. The name stuck and now we know for sure Hunk refers to him as Space Dad.
It’s highly likely the other Paladins do as well. I bet Shiro was uncomfortable with it at first, insisting he’s just doing the best job he can as leader, but eventually he just let them do it. He worries if he can live up to the responsibilities that come with that kind of name but he never fails to be there for them.
It’s so great when these kinds of fan jokes make it into official material. It shows the people make the series do pay attention and are willing to give little winks to the audience when appropriate. Now all we need is “Space Dad” simulator game and we’re set.
The Paladins Heritages’
While the book knowingly doesn’t reveal Keith’s actual heritage, just that he’s part human, part Galra, we do learn about the other human’s backgrounds.
Shiro is Japanese, Pidge is Italian, Lance is Cuban, and Hunk is Samoan.
While it was blatantly obvious this was a diverse team it’s great to get confirmation of exactly what groups of people the Paladins are representing. This also makes Voltron a rare American kids series where a Japanese man is the lead character.
Lance’s Favorite Food
It’s garlic knots and he apparently LOVES Italian food if you read into the quiz at the end of the book.
I only point this out because an extremly passionate Voltron fan, DandyDali, at the Nyantron Voltron fan café actually created a whole pasta/garlic knot dish based on these few lines from the handbook. That’s dedication right there.
The Paladins Ages
It’s really hard to track how old the Paladins are in the series. Its fairly clear Shiro is the oldest and Pidge is the youngest but it was tough to get a read on the others. Well now we know Shiro is 25, Keith is 18, Lance is 17, Hunk is 17, and Pidge is 15. Allura is only described as being a teenager.
So the Galaxy Garrison accepts teenagers? I wonder where that policy came from. Do they not have enough recruits? Is this future version of Earth (more on that in a bit) more lax with putting kids into harms way? How long are these people stationed at the Garrison before being sent out on missions?
If Shiro was 24 when he was captured then he was in the Garrison for upwards of nine years before being sent out, if we assume the Garrison lets in 15 year olds and Pidge didn’t lie about her age.
This could be a whole article itself so I’ll stop there for now.
Why Shiro’s Hair Is White
Why does Shiro have a streak of white hair? According to Shiro’s own hand written notes, it’s because of stress. In his own words, “Stress can do some pretty terrible things.”
I think Shiro is struggling with something a bit more debilitating than stress, that’s for sure.
The Paladins Birthdays
For all of you out there who want to figure out what each of the Paladin’s horoscopes are, Shiro was born on Febtuary 29th, Keith on October 23 (unintentionally the same day the episode where Glenn, played by Keith’s voice actor Steven Yeun, died on Walking Dead), Pidge on April 3rd, Lance on July 28th, and Hunk on January 13th.
Do those dates line up to what the traits of what their astrological signs would be? Let us know in the comments, Voltron fans!
Lances Loves Retro Earth Video Games
As seen in the series Lance really loves Killbot Phantasm but it’s the word choice here I want to focus on. “Retro” Earth Video Games. Okay, maybe it’s just that it’s a 16 bit game and those are considered retro by now. That’s the simple way of looking at it. Or…
There has been some discussion about when exactly Voltron Legendary Defender takes place and this might hold a small clue. The events of Voltron seem to take place in a somewhat distant future from our own. We’ve mastered space flight and are sending scientists directly to other planets. We’re training cadets to be pilots.
Grey Tyler of the Let’s Voltron Podcast and Lions and Pilots and Bots has theorized the series actually takes place in 2314. He has a lot of compelling evidence to back this up and Lance loving “retro” video games could add to it, if you’re willing to accept that “retro” could mean 300+ year old games.
“Hunk has an encyclopedic knowledge of Earth spices and a growing understanding of herbs from other planets.”
Damn, we knew Hunk was a good cook but to know spices THAT well? Let this guy start his own cooking show. You know actually, that’s another idea for a licensed product. The Hunk Cookbook! If Star Trek can do it, so can Voltron!
Everyone Has Lion Slippers
While in the series we’ve only seen Lance wear his adorable Blue Lion themed slippers, it’s revealed by Shiro that EVERYONE on the team has lion slippers, it’s just that, “Lance wears his the most.”
I hope this was a not so subtle nudge to the DreamWorks licensing team (are you all reading this? Hi, I have lots of ideas) because if those were actually made they would print money. That is licensing gold for any slipper company out there that wants to make a boatload of cash off the Voltron fandom. Seriously, Voltron fans have money. Take their money.
Coran Has A Theme Song
Yeah yeah, he’s not a paladin but he’s one in my heart.
While describing how “hip” and “with it” he is, Coran lets slip that he used to be an “intergalactic fashion pirate” and that he trained a “bolwaggle cape” to sing his theme song.
…What are the lyrics to this theme song? Are they “Coran Coran, the Gorgeous Man?” What was the style of music? I’m imagining doo-wop but wouldn’t it be even better if it was death metal? Just scream those lines in your best screamo inspiration, it’s amazing.
The Hierarchy of the Galra Empire
Hey, Zarkon was a Paladin once. This counts! The Galra Empire is broken down as seen below.
Haggar and the Druids
Conquered civilizations across the unvierse
Conquered civilizations are even lower than Sentries? This raises so many questions. What’s it like to live under Galra rule? We get some brief glimpses of this in “Space Mall” where Varkon idolizes Zarkon and Vrepit Sal’s is named after the Galra salute.
Those bits painted the Galra Empire as not quite the conquering types. Well, not always anyway. Maybe it was more of a “hey, we’re the biggest people in the galaxy. Ally with us or else.” Would that be conquering if some races accepted it and actually liked living under Galra rule?
Is there a place in that hierarchy for allies to the Galra Empire? Are there no allies? Do the Galra just steam roll everyone in their way and you better learn to like it? Maybe Vrepit Sal’s was more indicative of a culture that has accepted its new overlords and tries to play nice in order to avoid facing their wrath.
Hey, I said I was going to read deep into this.
The Paladins Favorite Animals
Remember that quiz I mentioned? Well in the back of the book there’s a little multiple-choice game to see which Lion you’d pilot as a Paladin. This is so obviously not canon but the ideas it suggests are too good to ignore. One of the questions asks, “you’re going to cryo-sleep for ten thousand years. Which animal do you hope shares your cryo-pod?”
Okay it’s SUPPOSED to be asking what you favorite animal is but think about it. In the series Allura is able to speak with the Space Mice that slept in her cryo-pod. So what this is ACTUALLY asking is, “what animal do you want to have a telepathic connection with?” Now let’s look at the answers with that in mind.
Shiro wants to talk with a cat. That’s too adorable for words. Let this guy find a cat! He needs a furry friend to cuddle. Maybe he’d enjoy just talking about life and not being responsible for that cat going into life or death battles every day. Shiro really just needs someone to talk to who isn’t on the team.
Pidge wants to communicate with an owl. I can see it. Rover was kind of like an owl, always flying around near her. Maybe she’ll go back to Earth and name an owl after Rover. Maybe she’d talk to the owl to learn what it’s like to fly and probably to help build a machine to let her have real wings.
Hunk wants to talk with a dog. That is… perfect. Hunk would want to talk to them so he could make the best dog food on the planet!
The most perplexing of these is that Keith apparently wants to talk with a hippo. You know uh, I wouldn’t have pegged Keith for being a hippo man but maybe he appreciates their lifestyle. Or maybe he grew up around hippos oh man KEITH BACKSTORY (SORT OF) CONFIRMED.
The best fit of all these? Lance wanting to talk with a goddamn shark. Yeah, of course Lancey Lance would. Sharks are cool. Ladies love sharks, right? Right? We did see he could dive into a fountain like a dolphin so maybe he just really digs aquatic life.
Keith Misses Fast Food
Another part of this quiz has you pick which food you miss most from Earth and the answer associated with Keith is “Fast food, ready at the counter.” So hey, wanna read way too deeply into that?
Perhaps that’s the best food Keith ever had access to. Maybe growing up his dad could never cook well and they barely had enough money for food. Their only luxury was eating out at fast food places every once in awhile.
Even after Keith joined the Garrison he still fondly goes out for fast food to remember those good times he had as a kid.
Or you know, he really just likes Taco Bell.
Shamus Kelley once again suggests we need full length Voltron novels ASAP. Follow him on Twitter!