Voltron: Legendary Defender
|Voltron: Legendary Defender|
Beast King GoLion|
by Toei Animation
Voltron: Defender of the Universe
by World Events Productions
|Opening theme||Alex Geringas|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||11 (list of episodes)|
Joaquim Dos Santos|
Yoo Jae Myung
Kim Young Hyun
Kim Seul Ki
Lee Soo Kyung
69 minutes (first episode)|
23 minutes (all other episodes)
World Events Productions
|Original release||June 10, 2016 – present|
Voltron: Fleet of Doom
Voltron: The Third Dimension
Voltron: Legendary Defender is an American animated web television series produced by DreamWorks Animation and World Events Productions and animated by Studio Mir. It is a reboot of both the Beast King GoLion anime series and the Voltron franchise, and its animation is a mix of anime influence for characters and background and CGI for Voltron action sequences. The first season premiered on Netflix on June 10, 2016 and consisted of 11 episodes. It was released globally in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Benelux Union and Latin America. A second season will premiere on Netflix on January 20, 2017.
For millennia, the evil Galra empire has plagued the universe by destroying other civilizations and enslaving various races. The only known threat strong enough against empire's power and plans is the legendary "Defender of the Universe" Voltron, a 100 meter tall robot warrior composed of five lion mechas whose pilots are known as the Paladins. At the crux of the war that ended with the destruction of planet Altea, Voltron was separated by King Alfor of Altea in order to protect Voltron from falling into the Galran Emperor Zarkon's possession. King Alfor bonded the five lion's energies to his daughter Allura's life force and sent them across the universe to different locations until the time for the next generation of Paladins to appear and pilot Voltron arrived. Princess Allura, her retainer Coran, and the Altean Castle of Lions were hidden on planet Arus along with the Black Lion. In the present, the Galra Empire's path of conquest and search for Voltron has led them to Earth's solar system. A group of space pilots – Shiro, Keith, Lance, Pidge, and Hunk – discover the Blue Lion and immediately get swept up into the Galran War. They meet Princess Allura, become the next Paladins, and reunite the five lions to form Voltron and combat Emperor Zarkon's nefarious schemes, with the hopes of ultimately defeating the entire Galra Empire.
- Josh Keaton as Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane - the Black Paladin, pilot of the Black Lion and Guardian Spirit of Sky. Leader of the Defenders of the Universe, Shiro was captured by the Galra Empire a year before the start of the series during which he was given a weaponized prosthetic right arm. A natural, decisive leader, Shiro is calm and always in control. Shiro's bayard was lost with the original Black Paladin. The Black Lion forms the head and torso of Voltron.
- Steven Yeun as Keith - the Red Paladin, pilot of the Red Lion and Guardian Spirit of Fire. Formerly a cadet at Galaxy Garrison before dropping out, Keith is an orphan and a lone wolf as a result. Keith engineered Shiro's escape when his pod crashed on Earth. Sullen and temperamental, Keith spends his free time honing his skills for battle. Keith's bayard takes the form of a double edged sword, and it can create a large sword for Voltron to wield. The Red Lion forms the right arm of Voltron.
- Jeremy Shada as Lance - the Blue Paladin, pilot of the Blue Lion and Guardian Spirit of Water. Lance was the fighter pilot of his team at Galaxy Garrison. Cocky and confident, Lance is the class clown of the Defenders and likes to think of himself as a ladies' man. Lance maintained a rivalry with Keith from when the two were at the Galaxy Garrison together but the two have shown to be an effective team. Lance's bayard takes the form of a rifle. The Blue Lion forms the right leg of Voltron.
- Bex Taylor-Klaus as Pidge Gunderson/Katie Holt - the Green Paladin, pilot of the Green Lion and Guardian Spirit of Forest. Katie disguised herself as a boy named Pidge to get into Galaxy Garrison to find out what happened to her father and brother who disappeared whilst on a mission which Shiro was also on. A technical genius, Pidge is the smartest member of the team able to create specialist modifications for the Green Lion such as a cloaking device (which only lasts thirty seconds) and she repurposed a Galran drone to work for her, naming it Rover (Rover sacrificed itself to protect Pidge). Pidge's bayard takes the form of a small, electrified blade which can function as a grappling hook. The Green Lion forms the left arm of Voltron.
- Tyler Labine as Hunk - the Yellow Paladin, pilot of the Yellow Lion and Guardian Spirit of Land. Hunk was the engineer of his team at Galaxy Garrison. A gentle giant with an equally large appetite, Hunk is the heart of the team, lifting them up and making peace between them. After witnessing first hand the devastation and misery that Zarkon's conquest of the universe has brought upon the people of various worlds, Hunk is determined to free those enslaved. Hunk's bayard takes the form of an energy cannon and it can arm Voltron with a large shoulder cannon that can shoot multiple targets. The Yellow Lion forms the left leg of Voltron.
- Kimberly Brooks as Princess Allura - Crown Princess of Altea, Allura is the last female Altean. Pilot to the Castle of Lions, Allura was responsible for granting the Defenders their title and sending them on their mission to conquer Zarkon and liberate the universe. Gentle and a friend to all, Allura wishes more than anything to finish her father's work in stopping Zarkon. As an Altean, Allura has the chameleon-like ability to blend in with a species (something that made her people incredible diplomats and explorers). She has a telepathic bond to some Altean mice that were in her cryo-pod with her.
- Rhys Darby as Coran - The Royal advisor to Princess Allura and the last male Altean. Energetic and excitable, Coran serves Allura dutifully whilst being fiercely protective over her. He tends to ramble on and off about his past, particularly about his supposedly daring feats or past experiences. Despite his odd and quirky character, he is a reliable and steadfast ally to his princess and the Paladins.
- Keith Ferguson as King Alfor - The late King of Altea and father of Allura, Alfor gave into fear and chose to hide the Lions across the cosmos to prevent Zarkon from claiming them. He placed his daughter in suspended animation and left a digitized version of himself to guide Allura once she woke up. Alas his AI is corrupted by the energy of a Galran crystal, causing him to threaten the Paladins, Coran, and even Allura. With no choice, Allura disconnects her father's A from its power source and loses her father forever.
- Neil Kaplan as Emperor Zarkon - Zarkon is the Emperor of the ruthless Galra Empire, and lord and master of most of the known universe after spending the last ten thousand years conquering a vast majority of the galaxy. He desires the Lions of Voltron, not only because they represent the biggest threat to his campaign, but because he is later revealed to be the Black Paladin before Shiro, still possessing the Black Paladin Bayard. As such, he views the Lions as his own property rather than seeing himself as a (former) chosen one to pilot the Black Lion. He is able to use his Bayard in far more advanced ways than the current Paladins, able to form a myriad of energy weapons with which he can easily go toe-to-toe directly with the Lions themselves, as he came very close to killing Keith and the Red Lion.
- Cree Summer as Witch Haggar - A mysterious and despicable witch, Haggar is Zarkon's primary adviser, and leader of the Druids, dark mystics who fanatically serve the Galra Empire. Haggar is both a dangerous sorceress and a mad scientist. She combines her unnatural magicks with abominable science to create powerful weapons to arm soldiers, terrible monsters to fight Voltron, and leech entire planets (and other sources) of the mystical energy known as Quintessence. She can teleport, cast illusions, fog the mind with hallucinations, and unleash energy blasts from her hands.
- Jake Eberle as Commander Sendak - A ruthless and fearsome commander within the Galra Empire, Sendak was ordered to capture the Lions and destroy their Paladins, and almost succeeded had it not been for the efforts of Pidge. Sendak has replaced his left arm and shoulder with a cybernetic prosthetic shoulder and forearm connected by an energy binder that allows him to attack from a distance, using his arm like a flail or pull himself over great distances. He was captured by the Paladins and placed in suspended animation in an effort to glean his mind of information, only for Shiro to apparently dispose of him out of paranoia.
- ??? as Thace - A military officer of the Galra Empire, Thace betrays Zarkon by lowering a barrier to allow the Lions, their Paladins, and the Castle of Lions to escape. As of now, his motives and loyalties are unclear.
On January 5, 2016, Netflix and DreamWorks Animation announced a new original animated Voltron series to debut in 2016 as an expansion of their existing multi-year agreement. Voltron is one of several series planned for initial development and debut in 2016, including Guillermo del Toro's animated Trollhunters. Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos, both known for their work on the Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel The Legend of Korra, served as showrunners while fellow crew member Tim Hedrick served as head writer. On March 25, 2016 at WonderCon it was announced that the voice cast would consist of Steven Yeun as Keith, Jeremy Shada as Lance, Bex Taylor-Klaus as Pidge, Josh Keaton as Shiro, Tyler Labine as Hunk, Kimberly Brooks as Princess Allura; and Rhys Darby as Coran and Neil Kaplan as King Zarkon. Cree Summer later confirmed that she would be voicing Witch Haggar.
It was announced at San Diego Comic-Con that season two will premiere on Netflix in late 2016. A few months later, at New York Comic Con, it was announced that the second season will premiere on January 20, 2017. The second season saw a special premiere at the New York Comic Con on October 7, 2016, where an episode was shown at the Voltron panel.
Season 1 (2016)
All 11 episodes of Season 1 were released on June 10, 2016. The first episode is triple-length, creating a cumulative runtime for the season equal to the industry standard of 13 episodes.
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|Title||Directed by||Written by|
|1||1||"The Rise of Voltron"||Joaquim Dos Santos|
Ki Hyun Ryu
Steve In-Chang Ahn
|During a mission to Kerberos, one of Pluto's moons, an expedition team is attacked and imprisoned by a hostile alien craft from the Galra Empire while Galaxy Garrison - Earth's primary institution for space exploration - has presumed them dead. One year later on Earth, Garrison cadets Lance, Pidge and Hunk witness a vessel crash land and learn that it contains one of the missing team members, Shiro, who has been quarantined after escaping from the Galra. As they form a rescue plan, Keith - a talented, but reckless academy washout - arrives and rescues Shiro before the five of them escape into the desert. Shiro is unable to remember anything from his captivity, but the group are able to determine that the Galra are searching for a weapon known as "Voltron". They find a large robotic blue lion in the desert and learn that it is only one of five lions that form Voltron. The Blue Lion accepts Lance as its pilot and takes the five through a wormhole to the Castle of Lions on Arus, where they find Princess Allura, her royal advisor Coran and four space mice in cryostasis. Upon awakening, Allura is shocked to discover that 10,000 years have passed since they were placed in cryostasis. Haggar, advisor of Zarkon, leader of the Galra Empire, sense Allura's return and Zarkon sends Galra troops commanded by Sendak after them. Allura names the others as Voltron Paladins, bestows them with armor and bayards (the Paladins' weapons) and tasks them with finding the other lions. Lance and Hunk retrieve the Yellow Lion while Shiro accompanies Pidge to find the Green Lion. The Red Lion, unfortunately, is in the hands of the very Galra ship advancing on Arus. Unsure of whether to run or fight, Allura consults the artificial intelligence formed by the memories of her father, King Alfor, who admits he was wrong to hide Voltron and encourages her to fight. Keith, Shiro and Pidge infiltrate the ship so Keith can find the Red Lion while Shiro and Pidge, who repurposes a Galra drone dubbed "Rover", search the ship for prisoners, revealing to them that Pidge's father and brother were the other missing astronauts from the Kerberos mission Shiro was on. With the other four lions retrieved, the Black Lion is released from the Castle and selects Shiro as its Paladin. All five lions unite to form Voltron and destroy Sendak's ship before accepting their new roles as the Defenders of the Universe.|
|2||2||"Some Assembly Required"||Joaquim Dos Santos|
Ki Hyun Ryu
|When the Paladins are unable to form Voltron during a training session, Coran puts them through his own rigorous training in order to build a sense of brotherhood and trust between the Paladins. However, the Paladins fail miserably and are unable to connect. It is not until the Paladins engage in a food fight with Allura and Coran that they finally begin to work as a team and are successfully able to form Voltron.|
|3||3||"Return of the Gladiator"||Eugene Lee||Joshua Hamilton|
|As the Castle of Lions continues to prepare for departure, the team is met by the arrival of a local Arusian investigating the castle. Allura heads to meet the villagers along with Coran, Hunk, Keith and Lance while Pidge and Shiro tend to the rescued prisoners from the Galra battleship. From them, they learn that Shiro was a champion fighter in the gladiator ring that he and Pidge's brother, Matt were forced to fight in and that Shiro seemingly attacked Matt in bloodlust. Pidge and Shiro head to the crashed Galra battleship they had destroyed to retrieve prisoner logs, but are interrupted by the arrival of a Robeast created by Haggar to defeat Voltron. During the fight, Shiro remembers the Robeast as the Galra warrior he defeated in battle and is able to use his previous tactics to defeat it. Keith uses his bayard to form the Blazing Sword, allowing Voltron to deliver the finishing blow. Afterwards, Shiro reveals to Pidge that he remembered attacking Matt so that he wouldn't be forced to fight and instead be sent to a work camp with his father. Pidge apologizes for doubting Shiro, who tells him that his family would be proud of him before calling Pidge "Katie" and promising to keep her secret. With the defeat of the Robeast, Zarkon tasks Sendak, still alive and on Arus, with acquiring Voltron.|
|4||4||"The Fall of the Castle of Lions"||Steve In-Chang Ahn||Tim Hedrick|
|The team and Arusians celebrate Voltron's victory in the castle, but the festivities come to a halt when Pidge reveals her intentions to leave the team and search for her missing father and brother. As the team tries to convince Pidge to stay, Haxus, one of Sendak's soldiers, is able to sneak a bomb drone into the castle, causing it to destroy the crystal that powers the entire castle and severely injure Lance in the process. Coran and Hunk leave to acquire a new crystal, Keith and Allura rush to the Arusian village as it is being attacked by the Galra while Shiro and Pidge remain at the castle with Lance. However, Sendak attacks and overpowers Shiro before plugging a Galran crystal into the castle, the attack on the Arusian village being a distraction. However, Pidge evades capture and with Allura's guidance is able to sabotage the Galra's efforts to launch the Castle. Meanwhile, Hunk and Coran arrive at a nearby Balmera, a large petrified creature the size of a planet from which the Alteans acquire crystals. However, they discover that it has been taken over by the Galra and crash in the subterranean mines.|
|5||5||"Tears of the Balmera"||Chris Palmer||Joshua Hamilton|
|Hunk and Coran meet local Balmerans, Shay and Rax, who help them hide from the Galra. Shay admires the two and wants to help them, but Rax is cautious and insists they leave. Hunk and Coran are able to sneak past the Galra to find a crystal, but are captured and imprisoned. Shay helps them escape with the crystal, but is captured by the Galra after her brother informs them of Shay's actions. Hunk promises to return and save her people before he and Coran return to Arus. Still trapped outside the castle, Keith and Allura are unable to help Pidge take back the Castle. With Allura's guidance, Pidge is able to continuously sabotage the Castle's systems to further delay Sendak's take off. In flashback, Katie Holt watches the news in horror as she learns of her father and brother's apparent demise on the mission to Kerberos. Katie breaks into the Galaxy Garrison and accesses Commander Iverson's files of the mission. When she is caught by Iverson, she presses him about the crash despite probes showing no evidence one but Iverson reprimands her and bans her from ever entering the Garrison again. Some time later, Katie enrolls in the Garrison, but cuts her hair and wears glasses, passing herself off as a male student named Pidge Gunderson. The space mice are able to take down the particle barrier, allowing Allura and Keith to enter the Castle and help Pidge against Sendak. With Lance in recovery and Sendak imprisoned, Pidge decides to remain on the team.|
|6||6||"Taking Flight"||Eugene Lee||Tim Hedrick|
|The team welcomes Lance back after a period in the healing pod before deciding on their next move. Hunk brings up the plight of Shay and her people; prompting them to launch a liberation mission. Pidge also finally gets a weight off her shoulders by revealing her gender to the rest of the group. On the way to the Balmera, the team stops to help two rebels, Rolo and Nyma, on the run from the Galra. While the others are open and trusting to the pair, Hunk is cautious and guarded and eager to get to Balmera as soon as possible. Lance flirts with Nyma, who convinces him to take her for a ride in the Blue Lion, but once they are alone, Nyma ties Lance to a tree while she and Rolo take off with his Blue Lion. The other Paladins pursue them into an asteroid field and Keith is able to flush them out and they reclaim the Blue Lion. Rolo and Nyma are left stranded once more, but Rolo expresses gratitude for the Paladins sparing their lives and genuinely hopes that they can defeat Zarkon.|
|7||7||"Return to the Balmera"||Steve In-Chang Ahn||May Chan|
|Allura, Coran and the Paladins return to the Balmera to free the natives, but must hold back their firepower so as not to hurt the Balmera. Shiro and Pidge scout for Galran forces, who are strangely absent, while Lance and Keith work to disable a Galran fleet of ships. Hunk searches for the prisons and is able to find Shay's family, including her brother Rax, but learns that she was taken by the Galra to the heart of the Balmera after they arrived. The Paladins make their way to the Balmera's core to rescue her, but fall into a trap. Shay uses the Balmera to transmit a message to her family, who are able to free them with the Balmera's help. The Paladins form Voltron and are able destroy the Galran fleet, but their victory is short-lived by the arrival of another Robeast.|
|8||8||"Rebirth"||Chris Palmer||Joshua Hamilton|
|The Paladins scramble to battle the new Robeast, who's omni-directional view and multi-firing ability make it difficult for Voltron to counter, forcing them to retreat to the tunnels below and regroup. However, they learn that the Balmera is dying and unless they leave, everything on the Balmera will die as well. Though the Balmerans are reluctant to leave their home, Allura convinces them to flee to safety. The Paladins distract the Robeast while the Balmerans climb to the surface to escape on the Castle-ship. However, the Balmera's waning life force causes structural damage to the tunnels, leaving many of the Balmerans trapped. Unable to fully evacuate, Allura decides to perform an ancient ritual once performed by her people to rejuvenate the Balmeran. Hunk's bayard forms a large shoulder cannon for Voltron, granting the Paladins equal fire power against the Robeast, but they are still unable to defeat it. With help from the Balmerans, Allura's ritual is able to revive the Balmera, which defeats the Robeast by encasing it in crystal.|
|9||9||"Crystal Venom"||Eugene Lee||May Chan|
|As Allura recovers, she spends her time enjoying the company of her father's artificial intelligence. With Sendak in custody, they decide to draw out his memories in order to learn information about Zarkon and the Galra empire. While waiting, the Castle begins displaying strange behavior: Hunk and Pidge are attacked by malfunctioning kitchen equipment and later stuck in zero-G, Lance is locked in a cryo chamber and later almost sucked out of an air lock while Keith is attacked by a rogue training droid. Shiro monitors Sendak and begins interrogating him, but is mentally tormented by Sendak's voice prompting him to eject Sendak into space. Coran concludes that Alfor's AI has been corrupted by the lingering effects of the Galran crystal as they try to stop Allura, convinced that Alfor is taking her back to Altea, from driving the Castle-ship into an imploding star. At the urging of the real Alfor, Allura tearfully destroys her father's memories in order to save the ship. Despite the loss, Allura stands strong and maintains that Voltron is her father's legacy.|
|10||10||"Collection and Extraction"||Steve In-Chang Ahn||Tim Hedrick|
|While combing through Sendak's memories, the team discovers the location of a secret Galran transport hub. Allura joins the Paladins in infiltrating the station in order to extract information, but find nothing useful. When another ship arrives, Allura decides to infiltrate the ship herself to extract its information by making use of her Altean ability to change her skin color and height, allowing her to resemble a Galran soldier. Shiro accompanies her, unwilling to let her go alone as well as needing his hand to access Galran technology. While waiting, the Paladins spot one of the Druids with two large containers of yellow fluid. Keith pursues them and Coran discovers that the Galrans have found a new way to harvest Quintessence, a form of fuel that has also allowed Zarkon to live 10,000 years. Keith is discovered and battles the druid, but is injured by the druid's lightning only to be healed by the yellow fluid before escaping in Pidge's Green Lion. Shiro and Allura are also discovered and flee to the escape pods, but Allura sacrifices herself to allow Shiro to escape and she is captured by the Galra.|
|11||11||"The Black Paladin"||Chris Palmer||Joshua Hamilton|
|With Allura's capture, the Paladins are quick to mount a rescue mission. When they arrive, Zarkon activates a particle barrier, trapping them inside. Voltron is quick to destroy most of the Galran forces, but are forcibly separated somehow by Zarkon and Haggar. The Paladins scramble to rescue Allura while Shiro is suddenly ejected from the Black Lion. As he tries to get back to his lion, he encounters Haggar and is easily overwhelmed by her powers, only to be rescued by Allura and Hunk. Zarkon moves to claim the Black Lion, revealing himself as the original Black Paladin of Voltron, but Keith intercepts and battles him, against Coran's advice. Zarkon easily overpowers Keith's Red Lion with his mastery over the black bayard, being able to form a multitude of different weapons in an instant. Before Zarkon can kill Keith, Shiro rescues him with the Black Lion. The Castle-ship is unable to form a wormhole to escape, until suddenly one of Zarkon's commanders destroys the sentries guarding the barrier generator and shuts it down. As they escape through a wormhole, Haggar hits it with her lightning, causing the portal to become unstable. The lions are separated from the Castle-ship in the wormhole, each of them falling to parts unknown.|
Two comic series detailing events happening in between seasons were announced in January 2016. Taking story ideas that were deemed too outlandish and too epic to be contained in a 23-minute episode from the animated series, these comic series bridges the time lapse between seasons. The first series consisting of 5 issues is being published by Lion Forge Comics, with the first issue being released on July 13, 2016. It is written by show head writer Tim Hedrick and Mitch Iverson, and illustrated by Digital Art Chefs. A special cover variant of issue #1 was available at San Diego Comic Con in 2016, with a limited release of 250 copies. Issue #2 was released on August 2, 2016, followed by issue 3 on October 5, 2016 and issue #4 on November 9, 2016. The whole series will be collected in a graphic novel and released in December 2016. The second series will be announced after the release of the graphic novel.
Voltron: Legendary Defender received critical acclaim. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating for the first season, based on 6 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10.
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