Voltron’s Allura on Lotor, the Paladins, and Being Leader

Kimberly Brooks discusses why Allura trusts Lotor, where the space mice are, and the character's evolution over the past five seasons.

Allura has truly grown more than any of the Voltron characters. From season one to the recently aired season five, Allura has evolved from being just a princess (which was still awesome) to a Voltron Paladin, piloting the Blue Lion. Along the way she’s challenged her own prejudices against the Galra and even opened up to one of her fiercest enemies, Lotor.

We spoke with Allura’s voice actress, Kimberly Brooks, about not only season five but the characters growth over the series, what’s it like interacting with fans, and what she thinks about purple skin.

Let’s talk about Allura’s evolution over season five. What she’s dealt with and what it’s been like for you to play her.

Season five has been pretty exciting. A lot of changes, a lot of discovery and you know still a little bit of mystery clouding the whole overall thing. It’s been really fun and a great journey to play. It’s been so awesome to have the writers concentrating so much on the backstory with Allura and her father, the lions, the discovery of Oriande, and the power of harnessing the quintessence. A lot of discoveries with Lotor and finding out that he’s half Altean. I’m sure that was a surprise to Allura. It just leads to a lot of other questions that hopefully we’ll be figuring out in season six. I’s been awesome, I really love the story arc in season five. 

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At the start of the season Allura is keeping Lotor at arm’s length and then by the end they’re closer. What is it like for Allura and you as an actress to play that growing trust?

Right from the start you just knew that Lotor could not be trusted. He’s the son of Zarkon. He’s got his own goals, his own ambitions and so of course you didn’t trust him at all. The way it sort of has been unfolding, she’s finding that he really doesn’t have a choice and he’s showing a side of himself that she couldn’t have foreseen. I just love that they’re doing this, what they did with this season.

The fact that she’s sort of forced to trust him now. And that’s hard to come by ’cause her whole planet, her whole civilization is destroyed. I can see how she has trust issues. Lotor is the last person Allura ever thought she’d be in a position to trust.

What about Lotor made her want to trust him? Was it his actions throughout the season? The fact he’s half Altean? What do you think finally turned the switch for her to go, “Maybe this guy isn’t the worst”?

Him defeating Zarkon is a big huge part of it. Sort of talking about the days of old, how their fathers used to be friends and there used to be a peaceful alliance. I think she longs for that. Hearing that spark of that kind of planted the seed. But then once Lotor showed the Altean markings along with going to discover this place that she always thought was just folklore? Just so much happened and harnessing her own powers, I feel like all of those things played a huge part in how she feels about Lotor right now.

You said Allura is trying to fulfill her father’s wishes. What’s that like for her? So much of her goal is to carry on what her father did. Is she satisfied just carrying on her father’s legacy or does she want something more for herself?

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I think the most important thing to her is continuing of her fathers legacy. In general her father wanted peace, so she wants to continue that. She wants peace in the universe. I think once she felt the power of harnessing that quintessence, maybe Allura did get a little taste of the feeling of that power that she had never experienced before. But I know that her goal is to use it for good. There’s a lot to discover here and I think this is just the beginning of this power that she can harness.

A lot of fans watched this season and couldn’t believe Allura would ever trust Lotor. Do you think the kindness around Allura’s character made her open up to Lotor as well?

She definitely should proceed with caution. I think to a certain degree she now realizes that they need to work together with Lotor to achieve these goals. And I think that was evident in episodes five and six. The issue of trust, I’m not sure it’s 100%. Because, he’s Lotor, he’s a good looking guy. He’s got the hair, he’s trying to appeal to her on that level as well. Which could be a little bit suspicious, so I don’t know. There’s a little bit of chemistry there and I think Allura wants to have that connection again. Besides Coran she really doesn’t have too much of a connection with the Altean community. I think this is as close as she can get to that.

Do you think she’s into Lotor’s purple skin? You think that works for her?

Maybe not a first. For me, anyway, what I feel like really sold it was when they were climbing that mountain after he’d already found his Altean markings. There was just a connection there that she’s been longing for. She can overlook the purple skin, I don’t know if she’s into it or not, but she can definitely overlook it if his heart is pure and if he has the same goals that she has and if there’s a chance that they can harness what their father’s had harnessed and use it for good, then I think that’s all very attractive to her.

Do you think the reason that we didn’t see the space mice in season five is that they would not approve of Allura getting close to Lotor?

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I’m sure they have an opinion about it. But that’s interesting that they weren’t in season five. That’s a good theory. Maybe they’re hiding out because they don’t like the new relationship that’s developing. I like that. I’m going to go with that answer. Good theory.

The White Lion episode was a really great focus for your character. What was it like to play that?

It was a very beautiful moment. It was very ethereal and it’s a place that Allura hasn’t been before. I would say it was a spiritual experience for her, the way she was connecting with the elders and the energy of old. It’s just been waiting for her to show up. So that connection, I think, is just so powerful and I think it was so beautifully done the way they drew that. The way that looked, the colors, the music, the lighting, everything about that was spectacular. I had goosebumps when I was watching it.

Let’s discuss Allura’s evolution throughout the whole show, from season one to season five. She started off as a bit more of a mentor to the team and now she gets to play a lot of action beats. What’s it like to see her evolve so much over the course of the show?

It’s fantastic because I had no idea from the beginning that that’s where they were going to be taking Allura. She’s a princess, she’s could have a played a typical princess role in this whole process. She doesn’t even have to leave the ship but luckily, she spent a lot of time with her father and with the Paladins, the original Paladins, and I think it’s just in her blood. It was a shaky start, the evolution of her becoming a pilot and the evolution of her just building up her confidence and her strength to become more of a leader. The evolution has been amazing and I think there’s lot more to come and it’s just exciting. Like I said, it could have been a typically princess role and I get to do some pretty badass stuff. So I really love it, I love it.

I would love your opinion on how the characters of Lance and Allura have evolved together. At first he’s very jokey and flirty with Allura but over the course of the show they’ve grown closer in a more respectful equal level.

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Well I think Lance, another young character, being a ladies man was his whole world. Girls and that kind of stuff. Even when he was in school he wasn’t taking it that seriously. I think what had happened over time is the mission has become so clear and so important they’ve been in some peril and some really scary situations and Lance has stepped up. He really showed what his true colors are and I think he has a great deal of respect for Allura. I mean I think he’s definitely attracted to her, but I think he has a lot of respect for Allura and what’s she done for the overall mission. I think eventually everyone sees through all that stuff, those little Lance one liners and at some point it’s time to get serious. I think Lance finally figured that out and I think Allura really likes that too.

A lot of shows will have forced romance and in Voltron it seems that they’re focused more on developing the character’s bonds that don’t necessarily have to be romantic. What is your opinion on that?

Yeah, I think that’s really great. I think it’s an easy way out to have these little love stories. I think if anything does develop with any characters it’s going to come out of very real place that I think fans will be able to relate to. But right now I just feel like the mission is so powerful and they’re on the verge of something huge. I mean Zarkon’s down, now we’ve got Lotor on our side allegedly and the mission is the primary focus of everybody, of all of the Paladins. But I know as a fan I like a little romance too. Who knows, there could be some things in the works you never knew. Stay tuned and whatever happens is, I believe, going to be organic and it’s come out of relationships that are already developing.

Allura’s a part of a big team but she seems to be a little more mature than the others. What is it like for her to interact with others who aren’t on the same level as her in terms of age or experience? What’s it like for her to not really have someone to completely relate to?

Well, I think Shiro would be the closest as far as maturity level that she can relate to. But in season five and six there is quite a bit of interesting tension between Shiro and the entire gang and definitely Allura noticed that. But I think she enjoys and relishes the role of being a leader now, especially since gaining the confidence of being a pilot and being out there with the other Paladins. I think she’s just sort of expecting them to rise to her level and that’s why she doesn’t even give Lance the time of day as far as giving into those jokes or any of that kind of stuff, that he’s always trying to crack.

We’ve seen a lot of Allura’s interactions with Lance, Shiro, and Keith but in the past few season we haven’t seen much of her with Hunk or Pidge. What do you think her interplay with those characters are?

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I think she definitely enjoys Hunk’s culinary expertise, especially when you go back to that milkshake episode. That was hilarious. She’s had a few moments with Pidge. Especially if you go back to when the mice tell Allura that Pidge is actually a girl and Allura sort of knows. I think that moment where she’s trying to connect with Pidge, like let’s just have some girl talk. I think that was kind of hilarious actually, because maybe she does long for that and maybe they do have moments of a little bit of girl time. Like I said, they’re 99.9% of the time on a mission. So, not a lot of time for that.

What do you think Allura does whens he’s not actively saving the universe or dealing with intergalactic poltics?

Wow, well those things take up 99.9% of her time. So with that other 1% she’s, maybe she just unwinds. She puts on her headphones, listens to some intergalactic hip hop and I think she just maybe chills and does a little bit of yoga. I feel like she just needs to unwind because there’s a lot of pressure put on her. Physical as well as mental and emotional. I think she just has down time.

What’s it like interacting with Voltron fans? What’s that experience been like?

It’s been amazing. The fans are unbelievable, super kind, amazing artists, very creative people and it’s been a pleasure. I’m on social media because of this show. I wasn’t even involved in social media before, but the connection that I feel to the fans, especially there are so many young people that I meet. A lot of young artists that are just inspired by what I’m fortunate enough to be able to do and be a part of. It’s just awesome to watch. It’s so cool to be a part of something positive in a way for people to express themselves and to connect with the story or the character. I know Pidge has a ton of fans, there’s something so relatable about her and her character, relating even to gender identity. I think the show hits people on a lot of different levels that I wasn’t expecting but I’m so happy to be a part of.

Every interaction is very special but are there any that stood out to you as being really really special?

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It’s mostly been because of this character Allura I’ve been invited to a bunch of conventions. It’s one thing to get social media contacts, but to actually meet fans in person is just so cool and to see the looks on people’s faces and their cosplay. For me, without naming specific names, I’m most inspired by young artists who will spend however much time drawing a picture of Allura or themselves as Allura or whatever it is and then they bring it for me to a convention. I have everything that anyone’s ever given me. It’s inspiring and it means a lot to me.

A bunch of the Voltron cast got together to make the “You’re Welcome” video that the fandom loved. Talk about participating in that.

Well Josh is super creative and as an ex-boy band member he’s got his finger on the pulse of music and he came up with this brilliant idea with his wife. He invited us all over to his house, had everything set up and he did all the of music engineering himself. Mixing, laid the track, recorded us individually and he’s super talented. It was just so much fun and I was so happy with the finished product. Now I need to come up with something like that for my fans.

Do you have any other messages to the Voltron fans?

I just want to thank you for being awesome fans and people. Stay tuned because there’s more excitement and surprises to come. And the cliff hanger with Haggar. What’s gonna happen with this witch? She is on a mission and I feel like now that Zarkon’s out of the picture she’s maybe gonna be out of control. So who knows what’s going on with her? Like I said, stay tuned, there’s going to be a lot of developments to look forward to and a lot of excitement.

Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Bring back the Space Mice stat. Follow him on Twitter!