Voltron Legendary Defender season 3 is days away from debuting and both the cast and crew were at San Diego Comic-Con to give us some insights into what’s coming up and what it’s like being part of such a huge show.
On hand was executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos, co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery, Pidge actress Bex-Taylor Klaus, and Hunk actor Tyler Labine.
Season Three Will See The Paladins Take Things More Seriously
With the disappearance of Shiro, the leader that held the team together, everyone on the team is vulnerable.
“There isn’t any one person they can count on,” says Montgomery. “They’ll have to each step up and fill that void and move forward as characters and leave a little bit of the goofy shenanigans behind and takes things a little more seriously.”
Many fans will be delighted to hear that Dos Santos promises that all the Paladins will step up, including Lance.
“It’s especially cool because people will say ‘oh Lance, he’s the goofball. Nobody really takes him seriously.’ They’ll start taking Lance seriously. You’ll see these characters in other lights.”
Pidge Will “Almost Cross A Line” To Find Her Family
Throughout the first two seasons of the series Pidge has desperately been trying to find her missing family. In the season three premiere she gets a visual lead on her brother which helps to propel her in a new direction.
“She will (continue the search) until she dies or finds them,” stresses Taylor-Klaus. “Throughout this season Pidge starts to find some new things.” She even hints that Pidge’s quest will take the character in unseen directions.
“There is definite possibility we will see Pidge doing things that aren’t exactly out of character but make you go ‘wow’. She almost crosses a line.”
Will that search for her family put her in conflict with the other Paladins that are searching for Shiro?
“I like to think she considers Shiro part of her family. She grew up hearing stories about him. Her family respected and adored him. Now that she’s had a chance to interact with him for two whole seasons she’s gained the same kind of emotional connection to him. Even though Keith might not see it the same way she’s not giving up on Shiro.”
Although when it comes down to it, “she would love to find Shiro to, but her family is first. It’s blood.”
Hunk Won’t Get The Development Fans Want…. Yet.
During the second season some pockets of the Voltron fandom voiced their concerns that the Yellow Lion pilot wasn’t getting as much attention as the others. According to Tyler Labine you won’t be seeing much development for Hunk in season three at least.
“I would love to lie to you. It’s not like I don’t recognize this or Joaquim and Lauren don’t recognize this but it’s a very dense show. The breadth of the universe and characters is dense and there’s a lot of ground to cover. There’s just not that much room in this season to develop Hunk.”
With only seven episodes that makes sense. Labine says that Hunk has been, “boiled down to a little bit more heroics in the lion and also the humor” but that doesn’t mean Hunk doesn’t get anything, it just might not be this season.
“There are things coming, especially since I’ve recorded future episodes, it’s just gonna take awhile to get there. This is a huge ordeal with Shiro gone. It’s gonna take a long time to sort out.”
Taylor-Klaus and Labine both agree that Hunk is actually farther along in his maturity than the other Paladins (besides Shiro.) Labine even points that the first season was really Pidge’s and Hunk’s season for development. Hunk has been gaining, “a stronger sense of self and confidence and foothold into his role. In this season it’s not as much of an issue for me to back my team. I don’t need to learn as much.”
Taylor-Klaus adds, “Honestly being a strong team player is one of the best things that you can learn.”
The Voltron Paladins Will Form “The Voltron Coalition”
As seen in the first episode that was screened at San Diego Comic-Con, both Prince Lotor and the Voltron team are trying to build up allies. Dos Santos explains that Voltron will be the rallying point for it and that all the characters will have to rise beyond their roles as Paladins to lead “this giant universal coalition.”
Any Of The Paladins Could Be Leader
With Shiro gone there’s a question of who will take over the team. Will it be Keith? Allura? Labine thinks any of them could be.
“There are qualities of each paladin that, if explored and nurtured and honed, they could be a leader. In this season Hunk steps up to take the lead in a couple of battles.”
Will Allura Take Over The Blue Lion?
In the teaser trailer shown to the Voltron panel audience at San Diego Comic-Con there was a brief shot of Allura walking away from Blue Lion… and its shield goes down. Does that mean she’ll become its pilot as she did in the original series?
Dos Santos jokes, “I will say for sure she looked at the Blue Lion.”
Montgomery elaborates that not all of the characters have fully evolved yet and that includes Allura.
“Allura, as amazing of a leader as she seems, she still had huge prejudices and things that were holding her back from being this full fledged amazing leader of the Voltron coalition. Through our story she’s going to continue to progress.”
We can only hope that progression includes taking over Blue Lion.
Lotor’s Modus Operandi Is Very Similar To Rome
While Voltron struggles to put together it’s own coalition, Lotor will be building his own forces through different tactics. Seemingly unlike his father however, Lotor has a strict honor system.
“He’s looking for the best way grow his ranks and not alienate them,” lays out Montgomery. “You come in and you’re an asshole to them, everyone will be like ‘eff you!’ and incite a rebellion and fight back. But if you try to make them feel like they’re part of it they’re loyal to you.”
Anyone familiar with world history will be able to draw comparisons between Lotor’s plan and Rome. Dos Santos says this was intentional.
“There were nations that were dominated by Rome and then brought into their ranks and prospered as a result. The same thing can happen with the Galra. You can choose not to fight against them and be brought in to be part of the Empire which I think is Lotor’s method. Or you can stand up against us. We’ll take you one-way or the other.”
A Classic Character Returns
In the opening episode one of Lotor’s generals is accompanied by a cat. Longtime fans will remember that in the original series Haggar had a cat. That was seemingly not brought over to the new series…. Until now. Montgomery relates the story of how the cat was brought back into the series.
“Our Haggar didn’t have the cat so as we’re looking for interesting ways to create new alien races someone had the idea of ‘what if we have this character who has a connection to an animal and that’s how they experience the world?’ This character has no eyes, no face. She just sees through this cat of hers.”
With the idea of a cat it was easy to then do an homage to the original Voltron: Defender of the Universe.
Queen Merla Isn’t One Of Those Generals
With four kick butt women generals, could one of them be an update of the classic Queen Merla character from the last batch of Lion Force Voltron episodes? Montgomery says none of them are but when asked if the character is coming Dos Santos teases, “anything is possible.”
The Team Won’t Be Heading Back To Earth Anytime Soon
After the team blasted away from Earth in the premiere movie they haven’t returned. Dos Santos confirms Earth is, “definitely still out there” but, Montgomery adds, “it’s a little far out of their range right now.”
Fans may wonder if the Galra will attack the planet but Dos Santos says Earth is a “non starter” for the Galra. “It’s not a planet that gains them anything. The Galra doesn’t gain any real resources or technology. That’s why it’s left alone.” Montgomery also throws in that Earth is “looked on as very primitive.”
The Voltron Producers Would Love To Do Full Length Novels
While Simon & Schuster are releasing Voltron chapter books for younger viewers that adapt episodes of the series, could older fans see more lengthy books released in the style of the Star Wars or Star Trek expanded universe?
Dos Santos doesn’t think it’s out of the question but he has hasn’t heard anything of quite that scope yet from DreamWorks. “All of the content that bridges, like the motion comics and all that stuff, that’s their initial attempts at that.”
Montgomery adds that she thinks it would be cool and that they’d love to fill out the universe.
“Even the stuff I want to do, like commentaries, the thought process that goes into the creation of these characters, it’ll never be in the show. Someone’s not gonna be like, ‘Hi, I’m from this alien race and the thing about us is we live on this planet!’ We never get to talk about that stuff or show it. It would be cool to have something like where we can go in-depth.”
Dos Santos teases what a plot for these books could be if he had his way.
“We’ve had discussions about what was the inception of the Blade of Marmora. I could see a series of novels just on how the ranks of the Galra started breaking off. It’d be cool.”
How The Cast Keeps From Spoiling Things
Taylor-Klaus jokes, “It’s easy when you don’t remember things.”
Labine says it’s challenging. “Spoiling for this show has been a bit of an issue and a problem. We do get some guidelines we have to follow but also we don’t want to withhold everything.” Thankfully DreamWorks does let the cast tease some things, even if they come close to the line.
At the same time, not all spoilers are bad offers Taylor-Klaus. “Even in the exclusive trailer there are things in there that are considered huge spoilers and at the same time it’s exciting. It’s not going to stop anyone from watching. Everyone wants to see why and how that happens. As long as the spoilers are coming from the network, the production, from us, and the creators it excites people.”
The Voltron Artists Watch A Lot Of Fighting To Animate
Unlike the last series most of the crew worked on, The Legend of Korra, Voltron doesn’t allow them the chance to shoot reference footage for their fights. Instead, according to Montgomery, “the guys watch MMA and fighting to keep their chops up.”
She finds her strengths are more in humor and the dramatic emotional beats. Dos Santos adds that, “Lauren does do kick butt fight scenes she just complains all the way through.”
Montgomery elaborates, “I can get really angry! Why do I have to do this?”
We’ll find out more when Voltron season three drops August 4th on Netflix!
Shamus Kelley needs full length Voltron novels like air. Follow him on Twitter!